The Color Purple program

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Cover photo of Nova Y. Payton by Cameron Whitman

It’s hard to believe that at this time last year we were deep in preparations to open our doors after 600 days of closure. This past season may have seemed like a rollercoaster at times, but it has taught us so many things—fundamentally, how grateful we are to you, our audience and supporters. Thank you for your dedication, your flexibility, and your choice to attend tonight. You are the final element to any theatrical production—without you we would not be Enjoyhere.the show.


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Welcome to Signature Theatre and to The Color Purple, the final show in our reopening season. We are elated to reunite the creative team of Timothy Douglas, Dane Figueroa Edidi, and Mark G. Meadows who previously collaborated on Signature’s 2019 production of Spunk. And we are thrilled welcome back the incredible Nova Y. Payton, who for the past decade has stunned our audiences with her artistry and remarkable talent. This performance is certain to be no different. Even as we celebrate the opening of the final show of our 2021/22 season, we are in the midst of launching our 2022/23 season. On August 30, we open No Place to Go in the ARK Theatre, an irreverent, very funny musical ode to the unemployed by Ethan Lipton and starring the incomparable Bobby Smith. Later this fall and through the holiday season we kick off our season of Sondheim with Into the Woods. Next up in the ARK are the DC premieres of two new plays. Which Way to the Stage by Ana Noguiera is about Broadway superfans whose friendship is put to the test when a sexy stranger enters the scene and was called “the best new comedy since theatres reopened” by The Wrap. Sylvia Khoury’s Selling Kabul is a breathtaking and unpredictable drama about family and sacrifice set in 2013 Afghanistan. Then we continue our season of Sondheim with one of his most ambitious and rarely produced musicals, Pacific Overtures, one of the shows most requested by our subscribers. Closing out our ARK season is the rock concert musical about teenage rebellion that radiates with humor and heart, Passing Strange, by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. Finally, we end the season with Sondheim’s deliciously dark masterpiece Sweeney Todd. Dates for the shows can be found on the back page of this program. We are also excited to bring back our popular cabaret series now under the helm of Mark G. Meadows, the new Director of Signature Cabarets. Three cabarets inspired by Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, and soul divas such as Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston will light up the ARK Theatre in November, January and June. These fun and casual evenings have sold out quickly in the past, so don’t delay and get your tickets soon.

• Check out behind the scenes stories and learn more about the artistic process on our website blog at and social media channels @sigtheatre on Maggie Boland MANAGING DIRECTOR Matthew Gardiner ARTISTIC DIRECTOR


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When The Color Purple was first published in 1982, the world was electrified. Either beloved or banned, the epistolary novel was a bestseller and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, making writer Alice Walker the first Black woman to win the award. However, almost immediately afterwards the novel was challenged as inappropriate reading for high-school students in Oakland, California and then outright banned in at least five other school districts. The dichotomy continues to the present day. In 2003, the BBC’s The Big Read listed The Color Purple as one of the top 200 best-loved novels of all time; yet, as recently as 2017, The Color Purple was still banned in Texas prison libraries while extremist works such as Mein Kampf and two books by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke were Regardlessnot.

The Legacy of The Color Purple

of being banned in some places, the novel almost immediately inspired a multitude of adaptations. First, a film adaptation in 1985 was directed by Stephen Spielberg and starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. It was the fourth highest-grossing picture of the year and earned 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and four Golden Globe nominations (with Whoopi Goldberg winning for Best Actress). The 2005 Broadway musical adaptation, directed by Gary Griffin and starring LaChanze and Brandon Victor Dixon, also garnered praise, earning 11 Tony Award nominations and running for 931 performances. Its 2015 Broadway revival, directed by John Doyle and starring Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson, won two Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. However, despite its popularity, each new iteration or adaptation was met with protests.

The criticism that followed the book, film and musical has come from all sides, from conservatives concerned about its depictions of sexuality and gender, violence and graphic language, to some in the Black community about its depiction of Black men. Some feel the criticism is justified but many others point to the idea that The Color Purple is being held to an unrealistic or unattainable standard because of the race and gender of its main characters and author—that there is so little space for women of color that each work that manages to make it to the mainstream must be a sterling representative for all Black people rather than being evaluated on its own merits. As Jennifer Wilson said in an article for The New Republic, “That such a conversation— about the art itself—feels marginal to The Color Purple and its place within literary history is just another frustrating example of how little room the world gives Black women not just to succeed but also to fail—artistically and morally.”

And Black women, and their experiences, are the heart of The Color Purple. The strength, perseverance, faith, love and friendships of these women drive the story. They have gutwrenching and terrible things happen to them, but they are not victims. Instead, they triumph as they claim their power and take charge of their lives by rejecting respectability politics that demand their silence. They are real and deeply human. Alice Walker said she based her work on stories from her mother and grandmother, and in a world where Black women’s voices are often discarded or overlooked, this visibility is of paramount Inimportance.thebook

In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece by Salamishah Tillet, Oprah Winfrey declares how much the story meant to her because it made her feel less alone – someone else had gone through the same experiences. In 1986, when interviewed by The New York Times, a Black woman said she knew many Celies growing up in Mississippi and that the movie “just lifted a burden.” Beyoncé quoted the movie in the liner notes of her first solo album. Finally, author Victoria Bond wrote in a retrospective of the film, “Thirty years since its film adaptation, The Color Purple lingers as perhaps the cultural touchstone for Black women in America, a kind of lingua franca of familiarity and friendship…For a Black female audience, Celie feels like an ancestor who survived, so we might thrive.”

Photos: Top left, the first edition book cover for The Color Purple; bottom left, official Broadway poster for The Color Purple; top right, poster for the 1985 movie The Color Purple.

40 years after the story first debuted, The Color Purple remains a cultural touchstone. Few stories have created such a legacy. Whether embraced or rejected, there is no doubt of its importance to the artistic canon. Ultimately, the story is one of prevailing through faith, friendship, fortitude and love. Perhaps that makes it the story we need to hear most of all right now. As original film cast member Desreta Jackson who played teenage Celie said, “I can’t help but feel like The Color Purple inspired us all.”



CHARACTERS Celie Nova Y. Payton* Nettie Kaiyla Gross* Jarene Jalisa Williams* Doris Gabrielle Rice Darlene Nia Savoy-Dock* Pa Keenan McCarter* Preacher Stephawn P. Stephens* Mister Torrey Linder* Harpo Solomon Parker III* Sofia Frenchie Davis* Squeak Temídayo Amay* Shug Avery Danielle J. Summons* Ol’ Mister Stephawn P. Stephens* Buster Tobias A. Young* Adam Sean-Maurice Lynch* Olivia Raquel Jennings* Guard Ian Anthony Coleman* Grady Tobias A. Young* Bobby Ian Anthony Coleman* Dance Captain Solomon Parker III* Fight Captain Ian Anthony Coleman* UNDERSTUDIES Celie: Kaiyla Gross*; Nettie/Squeak: Raquel Jennings*; Mister: Keenan McCarter*; Sofia: Yewande Odetoyinbo*; Shug Avery: Nia Savoy-Dock*; Swings: Catrina Brenae, Jay Frisby*, Yvianick Saint-vil, Tyrell Stanley *Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. MUSICIANS Conductor/Keyboard 1 Angie Benson Keyboard 2 Marika Anne Countouris Reed 1 Ed Walters Reed 2 Kelsey Mire Trumpet Kieron Irvine Guitars DeAnte Haggerty-Willis Bass Eliot Seppa Drums Carroll Dashiell III Musicians are members of DC Federation of Musicians. in order of appearance The Color Purple runs approximately two hours and thirty minutes with one fifteen-minute intermission.

MUSICAL NUMBERS ACT HuckleberryONEPie Celie & Nettie Mysterious Ways The Company Somebody Gonna Love You Celie Our Prayer Celie, Nettie & Mister Big Dog Mister & Men Hell No! Sofia & Women Brown Betty Harpo, Squeak & Men Shug Avery Comin’ to Town Mister, Celie & Company Too Beautiful for Words Shug Push Da Button Shug & Company Uh-Oh Church Ladies, Sofia & Squeak What About Love? Celie & Shug ACT AfricanTWOHomeland Nettie, Celie & The Company The Color Purple Shug Mister’s Song Mister Miss Celie’s Pants Celie & Women Any Little Thing Harpo & Sofia I’m Here Celie The Color Purple Celie & The Company

Temídayo Amay they/them (Squeak) OFF-BROADWAY: MCC Theater: On Love; Classical Theatre of Harlem: Foriwa. NEW YORK: La MaMa ETC: Coffehouse Chronicles #124; Joe’s Pub: Queering the Canon: Sondheim. DC AREA: Round House Theatre: School Girls: or, the African Mean Girls Play (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Supporting Performer); Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Describe the Night; Shakespeare Theatre Company: Will on the Hill, The Ruby Sunrise; Longacre Lea: The Inerstellar Ghost Hour (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Outstanding Supporting Performer).

TYA: Me...Jane; Rep Stage: Dorian’s Closet; The Keegan Theatre: HAIR!, A Few Good Men (Irish National Tour); Creative Cauldron: Once On This Island; Monumental Theatre: Urinetown. EDUCATION: Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. International Relations & Politics; Overtures: Signature’s Musical Theater Institute. Frenchie Davis (Sofia) BROADWAY: Rent (Joanne/Ensemble Soloist). NATIONAL TOUR: Dreamgirls (Effie White), Ain’t Misbehavin’. OFFBROADWAY: Lynn Redgrave Theater: The View UpStairs. REGIONAL: Hartford Stage Company: Sing Mahalia Sing!; Pittsburgh CLO: Dreamgirls (Effie White). INTERNATIONAL: Haller Globe Theatre, Germany: Jesus Christ Superstar, Little Shop of Horrors. EDUCATION: Howard University.

DIRECTING: Arts on the Horizon: Once Upon a Zoom; the Athena Project. OTHER: Black Artist Coalition (Founder); PILOT (Executive Producer). @temidayoma. Catrina Brenae she/her/they (Swing) REGIONAL: The Kennedy Center: Show Way (Auntie/Lil’ Bit u/s); Baltimore Center Stage: Soundcheck (Catrina Brenae in Concert), The Christians (Soloist/Ensemble); Virginia Repertory Theatre: Mamma Mia (Rosie), Have You Filled a Bucket Today? (Bucket Filling Fairy); ArtsCentric: Dreamgirls (Effie Melody White), Hair (Dionne cover/Ensemble), Little Shop of Horrors (Crystal u/s). FILM/TV: “The Black Joy Experience” Docu-Series, “Legal Enterprise” Web Series. EDUCATION: Clark Atlanta University: Bachelor of Art, Music: Vocal Performance. Instagram: @catrina_brenae. Ian Anthony Coleman (Bobby/Guard/Fight Captain) SIGNATURE: Grand Hotel, Blackbeard. NATIONAL TOUR: Amazing Grace the Broadway Musical, BIG NATE the Musical. DC AREA: Arena Stage: Oliver!; Round House Theatre: Father Comes Home From The Wars; Olney Theatre Center: On The Town, My Fair Lady, Singin’ In The Rain; Constellation Theatre Company: Peter & The Starcatcher (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), The Wild Party, Aida; Imagination Stage: Wiley and The Hairy Man (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding TYA Production), Beauty & The Beast, Looking For Roberto Clemente; Kennedy Center


Torrey Linder he/him (Mister) NATIONAL TOUR: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Ensemble), Elf (Store Manager) Dirty Dancing (Tito Suarez).

NEW YORK: The Flea Theater: The Nomad (Holy Man), I love you, Mrs. Linder. REGIONAL: Playhouse on Park: Scottsboro Boys (Mr. Tambo); Sugarloaf PAC: RENT (Benny). Sean-Maurice Lynch (Adam) SIGNATURE: Dreamgirls, Brother Russia, Hairspray, [title of show], Sweeney Todd, Show Boat. DC AREA: Arena Stage: Toni Stone, Jubliee; Ford’s Theatre: Twelve Angry Men, Ragtime, Parade; Washington National Opera: Lost in the Stars; Everyman Theater: Ruined; Studio Theatre: Pop!, Passing Strange; Adventure Theatre: A Year with Frog & Toad.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL TOURS: South Pacific; Hong Kong Disneyland: Festival of the Lion King (Simba); Click Clack Moo; The Whiffenpoofs of Yale. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: The Music Man, Matilda, The Royale, Miss You Like Hell, South Pacific, Annie, Mary Poppins; Ford’s Theatre: Grace; Imagination Stage: Cinderella, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Labor Heritage Foundation: Working; Rep Stage: Dorian’s Closet; Studio Theatre: Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet; Toby’s Dinner Theatre: The Buddy Holly Story, Miss Saigon; REGIONAL: Connecticut Repertory Theatre: Smokey Joe’s Café; Ogunquit Playhouse: South Pacific; Paper Mill Playhouse: West Side Story, Seussical. EDUCATION: Yale University: BA in Theatre Studies. Kaiyla Gross she/her (Nettie & Celie Understudy) SIGNATURE: Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder, RENT (Seasons of Love Soloist). DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Miss You Like Hell (Pearl); Next Stop Theatre: Beehive; the 60’s Musical (Aretha). REGIONAL: Duluth Playhouse: Ragtime; Virginia Stage Company: A Christmas Carol (Belinda Cratchit), The Earth Remembers; World Stage Theatre: Amazing Grace (Princess Peyai); Norfolk State University Theatre Company: The Color Purple (Celie), Once on this Island (Ti Moune), Eclipsed (Maima).

Raquel Jennings she/her (Olivia & Nettie/Squeak Understudy) REGIONAL: Ford’s Theatre: Grace (Jacqui, world premiere); Baltimore Center Stage: Dreamgirls (Lorrell) OTHER: Seacoast Rep: The Last 5 Years (Cathy), Ragtime (Sarah); Winnipesaukee Playhouse: It Had to Be You (Betty); ArtsCentric: Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon), Aida (Amneris u/s), Sister Act, Memphis, The Color Purple (Nettie); Creative Cauldron: Blues in the Night (The Girl). EDUCATION: Morgan State University, B.A. & M.A. in Music. @raqui_j

Jay Frisby (Swing) SIGNATURE: The Scottsboro Boys (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble).

Yvianick Saint-vil she/her (Swing) OTHER: Howard University: Coming HOME: A Musical Review. TV/FILM: Howard University School of Business Promotional Shoot. EDUCATION: Howard University: BFA in Musical Theatre 2024; Overtures: Signature’s Musical Theatre Institute. Instagram: @Yvianick

Keenan McCarter he/him (Pa & Mister Understudy) REGIONAL: Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival: Roméo et Juliette (The Duke), La bohème (Schaunard); Lyric Opera of Chicago OIN: La Cenerentola (Dandini), Die Zauberflöte (Papageno); American Chamber Opera: Madama Butterfly (Sharpless); U.S. Army: The Falling and the Rising (Homecoming Soldier). OTHER: The U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus; The U.S. Army Chorus in Washington, DC. EDUCATION: Alabama State University: Bachelor of Arts, vocal performance; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: Master of Music, vocal performance.


Gabrielle Rice she/her (Doris) HOWARD UNIVERSITY: Coming HOME: A Musical Revue. EDUCATION: Overtures: Signature’s Musical Theatre Institute, Howard University: BFA in Musical Theater, Class of 2024. Instagram: @thegabriellerice

Solomon Parker III (Harpo/Dance Captain) SIGNATURE: RENT, After Midnight, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Grand Hotel, Billy Elliot, Jesus Christ Superstar DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Show Way; Keegan Theatre: Legally Blonde; Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Kinky Boots, Dreamgirls, Hairspray; Ford’s Theatre: The Wiz, Grace the Musical; Monumental Theatre Co: Pippin (Helen Hayes nomination), Montgomery, Bashful; Red Branch Theatre Company: Dogfight. EDUCATION: Montgomery College.

Nova Y. Payton (Celie) SIGNATURE: We Shall Someday, After Midnight, Assassins, Blackbeard, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Jelly’s Last Jam, La Cage aux Folles, Diner, Defying Gravity: Making of a SuperNOVA, Dreamgirls, The Best Little Whorehouse..., Xanadu, Hairspray. TOUR: 3 Mo’ Divas, Smokey Joe’s Café. DC AREA: Round House: Caroline, or Change; Shakespeare Theatre: The Amen Corner, Kiss Me, Kate; Ford’s Theatre: Grace the Musical, Ragtime, Freedom’s Song; Olney Theatre: Godspell; Arena Stage: Newsies, Smokey Joe’s Café; Kennedy Center: How To Succeed.... REGIONAL: ZACH Theatre: Into the Woods; The 5th: Man of La Mancha, A Night with Janis Joplin; Milwaukee Rep: Dreamgirls.

Danielle J. Summons she/her (Shug Avery) OFF-BROADWAY: Baby (Pam). NATIONAL TOUR: Les Misérables (Eponine/ Ensemble), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Janelle). REGIONAL: Geva Theatre: Sister Act (Deloris Van Cartier); Midtown Arts Center: Memphis (Felicia Farrell). TV/ FILM: HBO: The Time Traveler’s Wife; NETFLIX: Rustin; BET: How to Tell You’re a Douchebag; YouTube: AfterHours. INSTAGRAM: @GimmeSumm.

@nsavoydock Tyrell Stanley he/him (Swing) DC AREA: Keegan Theatre: Memphis (Ensemble, Bobby u/s). REGIONAL: Baltimore Center Stage: Dreamgirls (C.C. White); ArtsCentric: The Wiz (Ensemble, Lion u/s, TinMan u/s), Aida (Ensemble), Snapshots (Ensemble), Memphis (Ensemble, Wailin’ Joe u/s); Cockpit in Court: Sister Act (TJ), Wedding Singer (Mookie), Gypsy (Yonkers); Phoenix Festival Theater: Legally Blonde (Grandmaster Chad); The Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company (VA): Confessions of a Black Cowboy (Nat Love/Willie Kennard). TV/FILM: HBO: We Own This City AWARDS: 2021 Baltimore Regional Award for Lighting Design of the Decade. EDUCATION: Virginia Union University. @stagerightt. Stephawn P. Stephens (Ol Mister/Preacher)

Jalisa Williams (Jarene) DC AREA: Artscentric: The Wiz (ensemble), Aida (Aida u/s, ensemble), Chicago (Hunyak, ensemble). TV/FILM: BET+: Holiday Heartbreak, Netflix-BET+: Love Dot Com, Youtube: AARP 80’S Dance Commercial, MTV VMA’S: Rihanna performance (Dancehall Extra). EDUCATION: UMBC/VCU. UPCOMING: Ford’s Theatre: Shout Sister Shout. @Lissae88

Nia Savoy-Dock she/her (Darlene & Shug Avery Understudy) DC AREA: Theatre Alliance: Day of Absence (Mary); Constellation Theatre Company: Aida (Amneris u/s), Mysticism & Music; Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Grease (Marty), Mamma Mia! REGIONAL: Ocala Civic Theatre: Crowns (Yolanda); StageCenter: Ragtime (Sarah). AWARDS: 1st-American Pops NextGen: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow, The Great American Songbook Academy Inspiration Award. EDUCATION: Howard University: Bachelors of Fine Arts, Musical Theatre. UPCOMING: Ford’s Theatre: Shout, Sister, Shout!

SIGNATURE: Billy Elliot, Dreamgirls (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Outstanding Resident Musical), Grand Hotel. REGIONAL: Kennedy Center: Earthrise, Color me Dark, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Alexander who is not, not, not going to move, Carmen Jones, Soul Possessed; Ford’s: 110 in the Shade; Metro Stage: Bessie’s Blues; Arena Stage: Smokey Joe’s Café, Crowns; Olney Theater Center: Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat; Round House Theatre: Once On This Island; African Continuum Theater Company: Amen Corner, Spunk; Anacostia Playhouse: A Snowy Nite at the Dew Drop Inn (Director); Karamu House Theater: The Black Nativity, The Swing Mikado, Runaways; The Cleveland Opera Company: Die Meistersinger, Die Fledermaus. EDUCATION: Karamu House Theater; Bowie State University: Musical Theater BS.

Tobias A. Young he/him (Buster/Grady) OFF-BROADWAY: Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies. DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: Ragtime (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble), The Wiz; Olney Theatre Center: Guys & Dolls (Nicely Nicely), In The Heights (Piragua Guy, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical); Adventure Theatre: James and The Giant Peach (Earthworm, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble); Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Dreamgirls, The Wiz (The Lion), In The Heights (Piragua Guy, Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor) Les Miserables, The Color Purple (Preacher/ African Chief), Memphis (Bobby), Sister Act (Tj), Ain’t Misbehavin (Fats Waller). IG: @SimplyTobiasYoung, TikTok: @SimplyFoodByTy, YouTube: @TobiasYoung. CAST THE CABARET SERIES The fun and popular series returns! 3-show package for $105; Single Tickets $38 ($35 for mainstage subscribers) | 703 820 9771 Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen An evening of the iconic songwriters’ greatest hits including “Cactus Tree,” “Hallelujah,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Suzanne” and more. November 1 – 13 First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald Celebrate Ella with a swinging cabaret bursting with her incredible songbook. January 31 – February 5 Soul Divas Reprise An all-new set of unbelievable voices toasts luminaries from Aretha Franklin to Whitney Houston to Beyoncé and all the incredible divas in between. June 27 – July 9

REGIONAL (select credits): Steppenwolf: Choir Boy; The Children’s Theatre Company: Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Arizona Opera: Cosi Fan Tutte; Santa Fe Opera: Hometown to the World; Old Globe: Shutter Sisters; Alliance Theatre: Darlin’ Cory; Guthrie Theater: Guys & Dolls, Steel Magnolias; Milwaukee Rep: Toni Stone; Portland Center Stage: The Color Purple; Indiana Rep: A Raisin in the Sun; Huntington Theatre: The Purists; Geva: In the Heights; Geffen Playhouse: Barbecue (NAACP Award); Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Much Ado About Nothing. TV/FILM (Assistant Costume Design): Amazon: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2; Netflix: Daredevil Season 2; HBO: Boardwalk Empire Season 5. EDUCATION: NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Tony Cisek (Scenic Design) SIGNATURE: Crave, Donna Q., Otabenga. DC AREA (recent): The Kennedy Center: Show Way, Long Way Down; Mosaic Theatre: In His Hands; Round House Theatre: The Great Leap, Gem of the Ocean; Folger Theatre: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Amadeus; Olney Theatre Center: Tiger Style; Arena Stage: Disgraced, King Hedley II; Studio Theatre: Vietgone; Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. OFF-BROADWAY: Roundabout: Beyond Glory; New York Theatre Workshop: columbinus. REGIONAL: Denver Center Theatre Company: Choir Boy, Sweat; Milwaukee Repertory Theatre: Toni Stone; Alliance Theatre: Hospice/ Pointing at the Moon; Cincinnati Playhouse: Two Trains Running, Jitney; Portland Center Stage: The Color Purple, A Life, Astoria; Indiana Repertory Theatre/Syracuse Stage: A Raisin In the Sun; Pioneer Theatre: Fences; Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Peoples Light, Arden Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkshire Theatre Festival. EDUCATION: MFA, New York University.


Town (premiere); Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Associate Artist); Actors Theatre of Louisville (former Associate Artistic Director); Mark Taper Forum; Steppenwolf; Guthrie; Berkeley Rep; ACT; Denver Center; Alliance; Portland Center Stage; Berkshire Theatre Group; Shakespeare & Company; others. Dane Figueroa Edidi (Choreography)

SIGNATURE: Spunk. DC AREA: Round House Theatre: It’s not a Trip It’s a Journey (Movement and Intimacy Choreography); Theater Alliance: This Bitter Earth (Intimacy Choreography), Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem (Helen Hayes Award Winner for Best New Play), Dontrell Who Kiss the Sea (Helen Hayes nomination); Arena Stage: Nina Simone: Four Women (Helen Hayes nomination). NEW YORK: La Mama Theater: Shape; Theater for the New City: Tarantella Spider Dance (Elegua Track). REGIONAL: Portland Center Stage: The Color Purple. AWARDS: First Black trans woman to win the Helen Merrill Award (2021). Mark G. Meadows he/him (Music Director)

Kara Harmon (Costume Design) OFFBROADWAY: Public Theater: Cullud Wattah; Rattlestick Playwrights: Lockdown; Manhattan Theatre Club: The Niceties; Vineyard Theatre: Dot. DC AREA: Ford’s Theatre: The Wiz! (Helen Hayes Award); Arena Stage: Nina Simone: Four Women; Wolf Trap Opera: The Rape of Lucretia.

SIGNATURE: Director of Signature Cabarets; Music Direction: RENT, After Midnight, Spunk, Ain’t Misbehavin’; Jelly’s Last Jam (Jelly Roll Morton). Kennedy Center: Acoustic Rooster. REGIONAL: Oregon Shakespeare Theatre: Once on this Island. Denver Center for the Performing Arts: Choir Boy, Wildfire. ALBUMS: Be the Change, To the People, Somethin’ Good, A Child is Born. CONCERTS: Jazz at the Lincoln Center, DC Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, The Kennedy Center, Smalls Jazz, The Strathmore.

INTERNATIONAL: Haiti, Russia, The Congo, Qatar, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, The Caribbean. APPEARED WITH: Cynthia Erivo, Usher, Bobby McFerrin, Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Nicholas Payton, Kurt Elling, Ledisi. AWARDS: 2020 DC Wammies Jazz Artist of the Year, Washington City Paper’s Artist & Composer of the Year. TEACHING: American University, Shenandoah University: Jazz Instructor; Duke Ellington School of the Arts: The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

REGIONAL: Drury Lane Production: Smokey Joe’s Café, Deathtrap (Jeff Award nomination); Virginia Stage Company: A Christmas Carol (‘17-’18), Oliver Twist, The Odd Couple, The Woman in Black, Frankie and Johnny in the Clare de Lune;

Greg Geffrard he/him (Co-Intimacy Choreographer) DC AREA: Studio Theatre: White Noise (Assistant Intimacy Choreographer).

BROADWAY: How I Learned to Drive, American Buffalo, Jagged Little Pill, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Gettin’ the Band Back Together, Bandstand, Indecent, Sunset Boulevard, The Visit, The Real Thing, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Motown, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, All about Me, Next to Normal. OFF-BROADWAY/NEW YORK: Recent: Atlantic Theater Company: Kimberly Akimbo; Manhattan Theatre Club: Prayer for the French Republic; New York Theatre Workshop: Sing Street; Roundabout: Scotland, PA, Toni Stone; Playwrights Horizons: Wives; Lincoln Center: Nantucket Sleigh Ride; MCC: Alice by Heart; Mint Theatre: Yours Unfaithfully (Drama Desk nomination).

EDUCATIONAL: Montgomery College: Summer Dinner Theatre (‘17-’19); Ohio Northern University: How to Succeed in Business.... Assistant/Associate credits: Geva Theatre: The Humans; Drury Lane: Crazy for You, Hazel, Bye, Bye, Birdie, White Christmas, Peter and The Starcatcher, Beaches, West Side Story, Camelot; VSC: The Great Gatsby, A Christmas Carol (‘11’14); Sound Supervisor: Virginia Stage Company (‘11-’14) J. Jared Janas (Wig, Hair and Makeup Design)

REGIONAL: Over 300 productions for The Guthrie Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, South Coast Rep, many others. OTHER: Author (as Peter Alexei): The Masked Avenger, The Queen of Spades; Architectural lighting design for over 200 projects. AWARDS: Drama Desk Nomination, Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards (4), Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards (4), DramaLogue Awards (30+). EDUCATION: Stanford University: BA in Drama and BA in History; Yale School of Drama: MFA in Design. www. Ryan Hickey (Sound Design) SIGNATURE: She Loves Me, RENT, Simply Sondheim, Gun & Powder, A Chorus Line, Assassins, Blackbeard, Grand Hotel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Billy Elliot, Passion, Scottsboro Boys, Girlfriend (Helen Hayes nomination), Light Years (Helen Hayes nomination), Crazy for You, An Act of God, A Little Night Music (Helen Hayes nomination), Jesus Christ Superstar, Midwestern Gothic, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Titanic. DC AREA: Olney Theatre: South Pacific; Monumental Theatre Co.: Brooklyn.

SIGNATURE: After Midnight, Gun & Powder, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing.

REGIONAL: Steppenwolf Theatre: Choir Boy (Intimacy & Fight Choreographer); Metropolis Theatre Center: Sister Act (Assistant Intimacy Choreographer); Remy Bumppo Theatre: Passage (Consultant); Victory Gardens: In Every Generation (Assistant Intimacy Choreographer); Columbia College Chicago: Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Hooded or Being Black for Dummies, Phadras Love & Daffodils; Philadelphia Theatre Company: Choir Boy (Consultant). TEACHING: Theatrical Intimacy Education, Associate Faculty; Columbia College Chicago, Visiting Professor. OTHER: certified in Mental Health First Aid. Chelsea Pace she/her (Co-Intimacy Choreographer) SIGNATURE: Daphne’s Dive, RENT, Detroit ‘67, Signature Resident Intimacy Consultant and Choreographer.

BROADWAY: A Strange Loop. OFFBROADWAY: The Shed: HELP, INTAR: Bundle of Sticks. DC AREA: Folger:

Peter Maradudin he/him/his (Lighting Design)

BROADWAY: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Kentucky Cycle. OFFBROADWAY: Minetta Lane: Bouncers; Public: Ballad of Yachiyo; Roundabout: Hurrah, At Last; 59E59: Threesome.

AWARDS: Kennedy Center Gold Medallion. UPCOMING: BROADWAY: Leopoldstadt, La Jolla: As You Like It. @professorpace Casey Kaleba he/him (Fight Director)

JZ Casting (New York Casting) Geoff Josselson, CSA and Katja Zarolinski, CSA.

SIGNATURE: Gun & Powder, Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes, Blackbeard, Billy Elliot, West Side Story. NATIONAL TOUR: An Officer and a Gentleman. DC AREA: Wolf Trap Opera: Freischütz, Susannah, Romeo et Juliette; Washington National Opera: Carmen, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni; Round House Theatre: Quixote Nuevo, School Girls; Rorschach Theatre: Toxic Avenger, She Kills Monsters, Neverwhere; Olney Theatre Center; Ford’s Theatre; Folger Theatre; Keegan Theatre; Constellation Theatre; Theatre J; We Happy Few; Avant Bard.

AUTHOR: Staging Sex: Best Practices Tools and Techniques for Theatrical Intimacy (Routledge Publishing 2020).

SELECT REGIONAL: Guthrie Theatre, Spoleto Festival, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.


SELECT NEW YORK: The Civilians, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre. DC AREA: Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, Woolly Mammoth. SELECT REGIONAL: Alley Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cape Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Paper Mill Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Theaterworks Hartford, Weston Theater.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Woolly Mammoth: A Strange Loop, Resident Intimacy Consultant; Studio Theatre: John Proctor is the Villian, White Noise, Studio Resident Intimacy Consultant and Choreographer; Arena Stage: Seven Guitars. FILM/TV: Select: A League of Their Own, Harlem, The Best Man: The Final Chapters, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, The Tender Bar, Mother’s Instinct, MASHED. Co-Founder, Theatrical Intimacy Education.

SIGNATURE: Broadway in the Park ‘22, Assassins, Passion, A Little Night Music, Jelly’s Last Jam, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss Saigon, Spin, Hairspray, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick. DC AREA: credits include: Ford’s Theatre: Grace, Into the Woods, The Wiz, Ragtime, 110 in the Shade, Freedom Song, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hello, Dolly!, 1776, Liberty Smith, Little Shop of Horrors, One Destiny, A Christmas Carol, Meet John Doe, State of the Union, Shenandoah, Leading Ladies; Arena Stage: Oklahoma!; The Kennedy Center: Bud, Not Buddy, Oliverio, Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred!), Barrio Grrrl!, Unleashed!; Woolly Mammoth Theatre: The Vibrator Play, or in the next room. EDUCATION: University of Mary Washington.

AWARDS: Three-time Helen Hayes nominee. Society of American Fight http://www.toothandclawcombat.comDirectors,

Kerry Epstein she/her (Production Stage Manager) SIGNATURE: Resident Stage Manager; 16 seasons and over 75 productions. Selected credits include We Shall Someday, She Loves Me, RENT, Detroit ’67, After Midnight, Midnight at The Never Get, Daniel J. Watts’ The Jam: Only Child, Simply Sondheim, Gun & Powder, A Chorus Line, Assassins, Grand Hotel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Billy Elliot, Passion, The Scottsboro Boys, John, Light Years, Crazy for You, A Little Night Music, Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing, Titanic, Freaky Friday, Jelly’s Last Jam, West Side Story, Cabaret, Sunday in the Park with George, Miss Saigon, Company, Shakespeare’s R&J, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, First You Dream, Les Miserables, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Studio, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Nevermore; Signature in the Schools Stage Management mentor. INTERNATIONAL: Dublin Theater Festival. REGIONAL: Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. EDUCATION: Dickinson College. Taryn Friend (Assistant Stage Manager)

October 7–16, 2022 | Eisenhower Theater Steven Pasquale Phillipa Soo James Monroe Igleheart Jessie Mueller Starring (202) 467-4600 Kennedy Center Theater Season Sponsor Groups call (202) 416-8400 For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540 Directed by Marc Bruni 10 PERFORMANCES ONLY

Ezinne Elele she/her (Assistant Director) DC AREA: Round House Theatre: Nollywood Dreams (Assistant Director). ACTING: 1st Stage: Under the Sea with Dredgie Mcgee; Theater Alliance: Poetry for the People, A Chorus Within Her, Day of Absence (Helen Hayes Nomination: Ensemble). Repertory Theatre: Seeds of Change YA Tour EDUCATION: Howard University: BFA. @theazelele

Angie Benson she/her (Associate Music Director/Conductor) SIGNATURE: We Shall Someday, She Loves Me, RENT, Midnight at The Never Get, Ol’ Blue Eyes: Frank Sinatra, Assassins, Grand Hotel, Girlfriend NATIONAL TOUR: A Chorus Line, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Singin’ in the Rain, Elf REGIONAL: Playhouse Square: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Northern Stage: The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Composer); Pennsylvania Centre Stage: Altar Boyz; Stoneham Theatre: The Who’s Tommy; Kansas City Starlight: First Date, Miss Saigon; West Virginia Public: Seussical; Unicorn Theatre: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Utah Musical Theatre: Side By Side By Sondheim, Musical Theater Heritage: Sunday in the Park with George; New Theatre: Have You Met Miss Jones (starring Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy).



Maggie Boland (Managing Director) has led tremendous organizational growth since joining Signature in 2008, more than doubling Signature’s annual revenue, increasing the annual audience by 50,000 patrons and expanding the full-time staff by 76%. Under her leadership, Signature generates more than $15 million in annual economic activity and employs more than 400 individuals each year, making it one of Arlington’s most important small businesses and Virginia’s largest non-profit professional theater. Prior to joining Signature, Boland spent 10 years at Arena Stage in increasingly senior positions, beginning as the Marketing Director and later assuming oversight of the Annual Fund and $125 million Next Stage Campaign as the Director of External Affairs. Her experience also includes six years in fundraising with Roundabout Theatre Company. Boland was a 2016 recipient of the Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business award. She is a member of the Board of Directors of TheatreWashington and serves as Vice President of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).


Matthew Gardiner (Artistic Director) has directed and/or choreographed more than 25 productions at Signature Theatre, including She Loves Me, RENT, A Chorus Line, West Side Story, La Cage aux Folles, Jelly’s Last Jam, and The Threepenny Opera, as well as several world premieres including Really Really, Soon, and Midwestern Gothic. With Signature’s special commitment to producing the work of Stephen Sondheim, Matthew has directed and/or choreographed many Sondheim musicals including Passion, Sunday in the Park with George, Company, Sweeney Todd and the world premiere of Simply Sondheim. Prior to being named Signature’s Artistic Director in the summer of 2021, Matthew was Signature’s Associate Artistic Director for over a decade, helping to build several groundbreaking seasons, cultivating relationships with prominent and emerging artists, and overseeing several of Signature’s new work development initiatives. Outside of Signature, Matthew has directed and/or choreographed at the Washington, DC theaters Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Studio Theatre. Matthew has also worked abroad, choreographing Titanic and directing and choreographing Doctor Zhivago for OD Musical Company in Seoul, Korea. Matthew is the recipient of three Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Director of a Musical and has been honored with more than a dozen nominations.

The Color Purple Production Staff Production Assistant Kelsey Jenkins Keyboard Programmer Alexander Greenberg Assistant Costume Designer Channing Tucker Assistant Hair, Wig & Makeup Designer Tony Lauro Carpenters Jeff Campbell, Stephen Szybowski Painters Jovi Hobson, Sarah Phillips, Nadya Yaksich Properties Artisans Dre Moore Run Crew Laura Wade Draper Steven Simon First Hand Rose Peele Craftsperson Jennifer Bae Stitchers Violet Lane-Ruckman, Jessica Utz Dresser Caitlin O’Brien Wardrobe Maintenance Sam Eisenstein-Bond Wig Runner Carolan Corcoran Electricians Angela Armstrong, Susannah Cai, Jeff Campbell, Daniel Cioffi, Jacob Custis, Stefanie DeHart, Mikayla French, Noah Hendrickson, Minjoo Kim, Jared Loeb, Kristop Rosario, Danielle Shaw, Austin Shores, Emma Smith, Chris Stull, Paige Willis Spotlight Operators Luis Rámon Córdovez, Jared Loeb Sound Engineer Madeline Clamp A2 Sebastián Mercado Technical Advisor Andrew Fox Physical Therapy VA Sportsmedicine Institute Physical Therapy. Maureen Bradley, PT, DPT, CMTPT, Dianne Robbins, PTA, Kelly McGraw, PT, DPT, CMTPT, Alesa Deter, PT, DPT, CMTPT Signature’s 2022/23 season is supported, in part, by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Signature Theatre is a member of the League of Resident Theatres. The scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers of Signature Theatre are represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE. This Theatre operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Donor Services Manager Ashley Richardson Development Manager Julia Souza

Box Office Manager John

Deputy Director of Development, Institutional Giving Erin Harms Deputy Director of Development, Individual Giving Dori L. Sophia

James Gardiner

Social Media Manager Emily Adler

Chef Lilian Gomez Maintenance Associate Craig


Education Director


Marketing Manager: Grassroots, Group Sales and Content Natalie Ridgley Associate Zachary Flick Consultant Robert Cohn of and Valerie Bunns

Signature Staff Board of Directors Honorary Trustees Fred Ebb*, John Kander, Cameron Mackintosh, Stephen Sondheim* Chair Dottie Bennett Vice Chair Cathy Bernard Vice Chair Russ Schriefer Secretary Patricia Payne Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair Don Irwin Governance Committee Chair Sue Cunningham Past Chair Bonnie Feld Board Members Barbara M. Angus, Sydney M. Avent, J. Max Barger, Jeff Bell, John Benton, Maggie Boland, Jean Cantrell, Ashley Davis, Michael DeSantis, James W. Dyer, Bradley S. Frey, D.D.S., Deborah Gandy, Matthew Gardiner, Robert T. Grimm, Jr., Frank Guzzetta, Brian Huseman, Maxine Isaacs, Louis Mazawey, Terrance McGowan, Peter Michel, Amanda Christine Miller, David Ochsman, Wesley Pickard, Chuck Porvaznik, Rynthia M. Rost, Susan C. Schwab, Debbie Shrager, Merrill Shugoll, Carl Spatz, Peter Tanous, Sarah Valente, Arthur Warren, Maya Weil The Paul Wojcik Emeritus Board Members David W. Briggs, Mary G. Cadagin, Enrico Cecchi, Patricia Alper Cohn, Michael Danzansky, Marybeth Fraser, Thomas Gage, Mary Ann Gilleece, Tim Keating, Lisa Kountoupes, Tina Martin, Celie Niehaus, Bob Rosen, Steven M. Rosenberg, Kathleen T. Ross, Kathie Shank, Victor Shargai*, Patti Sowalsky, Chris Wailoo Signature Council Helen Lee Henderson*, Arlene and Robert Kogod, Gilbert and Jaylee Mead*, Ted and Mary Jo Shen *In memoriam Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner Associate Artistic Director Ethan Heard Director of Artistic Development Anika Chapin Casting Director/Manager of Artistic Programs Jorge Acevedo Resident Intimacy Consultant Chelsea Pace Director of Signature Cabarets Mark G. Meadows Production Manager Kyle Grant Resident Stage Manager Kerry Epstein Technical Director Charles Cobb Master Carpenter Holly Milch Staff Carpenters Michael Cherry, Jack Coughlin, Kyla Duff Scenic Charge Artist Leila Spolter Deck Chief Tess Wagner Costume Director Frederick Deeben Associate Costume Director Natalie Kurczewski Wardrobe Supervisor Courtney Leigh Wood Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor Dominique Travers Master Electrician Dan Kimble Assistant Master Electricians Jonathan Maag, Tim Strickland Properties Master Kasey Hendricks Associate Properties Master Pamela Weiner Props Runner Kaitlyn De Litta Resident Sound Designer Ryan Hickey Lead Sound Engineer Kendric Maxey Deck Sound Engineer Connor Sherrill Founding Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer American Musical Voices Project The American Musical Voices Project, Funded by The Shen Family Foundation, is the largest musical theater commissioning program in the United States. Musical Theater Composer Grant Recipients Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Jeanine Tesori, Joseph Thalken Musical Theater Leadership Award Recipients Bruce Coughlin, Adam Guettel, Audra McDonald, Ted Sperling American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation Composer Grant Recipients Matt Conner, Peter Foley, Adam Gwon, Gabriel Kahane, Marisa Michelson, Chris Miller, Scott Davenport Richards, Joshua Rosenblum, Josh Schmidt

Assistant Box Kirstin Calvert

Front of House Operations Manager Jon White

Deputy Director of Marketing, Publications Director

Associate Director, Capital Campaign & Special Projects


Office Manager

Director Maggie

Human Christine Stroup David Zobell Taylor Strote Porter

Box Office Richard Allen, Erica Bargas, Luci Harris, Drake Leach, Lilly Moki, Lizzie Nigro, Gabby Wilson

House Managers Megan Bunn, Tara Clinton, Chris Courtney, Mackenzie Girard, Patty Kelleher, Carl McManus, Julie Neuber, Kaihla Powell Lell Townsend

Assistant Angelica Miguel General Manager Jim

Morgan Tucker

Deputy Director of Marketing, Digital Media Sara Hoffman


Food and Beverage Manager Micaela

Information Technology


Executive Gross Company Manager Laura Matey

Senior House Manager Rafael Bueno

Katherine Tucker Designer Anjali Nanda


Director of Advancement and Planning Christine Stanley

Director of Marketing Jennifer Buzzell

Deputy Director of Marketing, Director of Creative Content

Education Program Manager Matthew

Resources Manager


Managing Boland

Custodians Maria Carranza, Henry Pineda Advertising Services Allied Global Marketing

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Friends of Signature make it possible for us to produce innovative, artistic and educational Togetherprogramming.we’ll continue to impact, enrich and inspire our community. Thank you for being part of our Signature family! THANK YOU $100,000 AND ABOVE Amazon

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Tim DennisCarltonDeloria and Suzanne Thouvenelle

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*In memoriam Signature recognizes the following members who have included the Theatre in their estate plans: Transform Signature’s Future Have you considered leaving a legacy for Signature Theatre in your will or other estate plans? We invite you to join the Ever After Society honoring individuals that have chosen to arrange a planned gift, such as leaving Signature Theatre in your will. Exclusive benefits are lifelong and begin as soon as you notify Signature of your gift. For more information, please contact Ashley Richardson at 571 527 1828 or or visit Thank you for considering a gift to support Signature’s future! Photo of Holly Twyford and A Little Night Music ensemble by Paul Tate Depoo III. THANK YOU

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