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Signature Theatre Celebrates Sondheim’s 80th Birthday

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Signature Theater salutes Stephen Sondheim (with Bernadette Peters) last year at the first Sondheim Award given by Signature Theatre.

Join Signature Theatre this weekend on March 20 and 21 in celebrating the life and work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, the man who has transformed the face of American musical theater with works such as "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," "Company," "Follies," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and "Sunday in the Park with George."

Sondheim turns 80 on March 22, and since he’s Signature’s "signature" composer, the theater company will honor him with a full weekend of free events including lobby performances, backstage tours, films, lectures, actor discussions, a critic forum, a sing-along, and a birthday cake. The schedule for the Signature’s Sondheim Birthday Weekend is Saturday, March 20 from 12 – 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 from 12:45 – 10 p.m.

For the Sondheim Birthday Weekend, Signature’s performances of "Sweeney Todd" continue Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. In honor of Sondheim’s 80th birthday, Signature has joined with sponsor Target to give away 80 tickets to students and young professionals (30 and under) to the Saturday evening performance of "Sweeney Todd."

Other Special Sondheim Offerings:

Sweeney Experience Auction. Be a part of the show! Participate during Signature’s online auction for a chance to be onstage during a performance of "Sweeney Todd." The winner of the Sweeney Experience auction will have a walk-on role in costume during the Sunday matinee performance on March 21. Bidding for this begins March 4 and ends on March 14 at 9 p.m. The highest bidder wins the chance to buy some Pirelli's Miracle Elixir! Bidding begins at $500.

Sondheim Award Gala Raffle. Purchase a $20 raffle ticket for the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the Sondheim Award Gala at the Embassy of Italy on April 12, 2010. The evening of cocktails, dinner and performances will pay tribute to stage, screen, and television legend Angela Lansbury, the first recipient of the Sondheim Award. Raffle tickets will be available at the Signature gift shop in the Mead Lobby before performances and during intermissions or through the Box Office at 703 820-9771. The winner of a pair of Gala tickets will be drawn at Signature on March 21 but need not be present to win. Winners will be contacted by phone on March 22.

<sh>Saturday, March 20

<lst>BACKSTAGE SONDHEIM: Noon at the Mead Lobby

Get an exclusive 30-minute backstage tour of the "Sweeney Todd" set by Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein.

THE SONDHEIM INFLUENCE: 12:30 p.m. in the ARK

A short film on Sondheim followed by a discussion on Sondheim with Washington Post critic Peter Marks and NPR's Bob Mondello, moderated by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer.

ISN'T IT RICH?: 1 p.m. in the Mead Lobby

Signature favorites sing Sondheim in the Mead Lobby before the 2 p.m. performance of "Sweeney Todd."

SONDHEIM CINEMA: In the Shirlington Library

Noon – "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

2 p.m. – "Gypsy"

BEHIND SONDHEIM: 5 p.m. in the ARK

A post-show discussion with the cast of "Sweeney Todd"

ISN'T IT RICH?: 7 p.m. in the Mead Lobby

Signature favorites sing Sondheim in the Mead Lobby before the 8 p.m. performance of "Sweeney Todd."

<sh>Sunday, March 21

<lst>WHAT IS IT ABOUT SONDHEIM?: 12:45 p.m. in the ARK

Signature actors discuss what it is about Sondheim's music that they love to perform.

ISN'T IT RICH?: 1 p.m. in the Mead Lobby

Signature favorites sing Sondheim in the Mead Lobby before the 2 p.m. performance.

SONDHEIM CINEMA: In the Shirlington Library

2 p.m. – "West Side Story"

MUSICALLY SONDHEIM: 5 p.m. in the ARK

Mark Horowitz, Music Specialist from the Library of Congress, discusses the Sondheim collection and its surprises.

ISN'T IT RICH?: 6 p.m. in the Mead Lobby

Signature favorites sing Sondheim in the Mead Lobby before the 7 p.m. performance.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEVE!: 10 p.m. in the Mead Lobby

Join in singing and celebrating with birthday cake and celebrate the great works of Sondheim with a lobby sing-along. Cash bar.

Signature's Gallery will be presenting a special exhibition on Stephen Sondheim in the Mead Lobby through the run of "Sweeney Todd."

Signature Theatre is located at 4200 Campbell Ave. (22206) off I-395 at the Shirlington exit. After the exit, blue Signature signs mark the way to the Theatre. Free parking is available in two adjacent public garages.

Ticketmaster (703) 573-SEAT (7328)

http://www.signature-theatre.org