4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Va.
Signature has come a long way from its roots as a suburban theater housed in a converted garage set in an industrial park. In 2007 it moved to a modern space—just across the creek and worlds away from the old venue—featuring two black-box theaters, ample rehearsal space, a vast lobby, and a bar.
And two years after that, it won a Tony Award for regional theater, the same award earned by Arena Stage  in 1976 and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 1992. But it wasn’t the space that earned the kudos; when Signature opened in 1990, it aimed to fill a void of medium-sized theaters in DC and a nationwide gap of those producing new works, especially musicals.
“Signature has broadened and brightened the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works,” the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing wrote when they announced the award.
At Signature, standard classics are never done traditionally: A recent production of Sweeney Todd was more bloodthirsty than most, and Les Misérables, presented without a rotating stage or marching hordes, was as dark and complex as Victor Hugo’s book.
Broadway flops also come to life, like a 2010 staging of Chess. Signature gives voice to new playwrights as well, often staging straight plays in the smaller Ark Theatre.