Productivity in some manufacturing industries might be on the downswing, but the arrows are pointing up at that increasingly busy factory for new musicals, Signature Theatre.
The Arlington-based company has several original musicals in the works -- including a massive show based on the Edna Ferber novel "Giant" that is to be unveiled next spring -- thanks to a $1 million grant two years ago from Theodore P. Shen, Signature's Stephen Sondheim-loving New York benefactor. Now, Shen's philanthropy, the Shen Family Foundation, is providing an additional $300,000 to underwrite the work of three younger composers for works that would also originate at Signature, the company has announced.
That will bring to six the number of musical-theater composers whose work at Signature is being supported by the foundation.
"It's hard for people to find a place to work on their musicals," says Eric Schaeffer, Signature's longtime artistic director. "The whole idea here was to give more opportunity to younger composers."