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The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
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The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

New York, NY
Cecily Strong (SNL, Schmigadoon!) takes on this epic one-woman comedic play.
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About The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Jane Wagner’s ever-timely, iconic, one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, examines American society, art, and human connectivity and explores the feminist movement. Revisited in a new 90-minute production, produced by The Shed, the comedic and quick-witted play stars Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live, Schmigadoon!) in her New York theatrical debut, directed by Tony-nominated Leigh Silverman (The Lifespan of a Fact, Violet).

In a role originated by Lily Tomlin, Strong first becomes Trudy, a mischievously clever observer of the society around her. As Strong transforms into a series of other archetypal characters, Trudy becomes the play’s guiding conscience for the audience—a comical, quirky, and outlandish conveyor of the nuances of American society.

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Tell Me More

Cecily Strong stars in The Shed’s new production of Jane Wagner’s feminist solo show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Strong plays 12 characters in 90 minutes in a role made famous by Lily Tomlin. Get The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe tickets on TodayTix now.

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe is a play told in a series of vignettes from various women’s lives. Among them are the runaway teenage artist Agnus Angst, the jaded and exploited sex workers Brandy and Tina, the disillusioned grandparents Lud and Marie, the regretful hedonist Rick, the lost Chrissy, the wealthy yet perpetually unsatisfied Kate, and the trio of friends Lyn, Edie, and Marge, who participated in the early days of the women’s movement but haven’t seen much change from their efforts. All these characters’ distinct vignettes are united through Trudy, the “bag lady” and the narrator of the show. Through these characters’ stories and an abridged history of the feminist movement offered in the second half of the show, Wagner chronicles a generation’s worth of the female experience and how it’s changed and affected women differently.

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe first premiered on Broadway in September 1985 at the Plymouth (now the Gerald Schoenfeld) Theatre, where it played for just over a year. The show was revived for a six-month run from November 2000 to May 2001. In between, The Search for Signs… was made into a 1991 film, and all three iterations starred Tomlin in the sole role.

Get tickets to The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe in New York on TodayTix.

What to Watch For

  • The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe has been revised for 2021. Originally two hours long, The Shed’s production is now 90 minutes.
  • Anyone know when the next rocket is boarding? The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe has somewhat of a reverse concept as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series. The alien characters in Hitchhiker’s Guide help a human navigate outer space, and the narrator of The Search for Signs… is explaining Earth to aliens.
  • The actress performing the play doesn’t have any costume changes to differentiate her characters — she just has to do it all with her acting! She wears a simple white blouse and black pants the whole time.
  • Jane Wagner initially wrote The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe specifically for Lily Tomlin. It was a good idea — the play won a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience when Tomlin first performed it on Broadway! Tomlin herself won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award, and when she reprised the role in the 1991 film, she won Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture at the American Comedy Awards.
  • Cecily Strong is now starring in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe off Broadway, but the original team is not out of the picture — Tomlin and Wagner are executive producers on The Shed’s show.
Run time

90 min, no intermission

Start date

December 21st, 2021

End date

February 6th, 2022

Genre

Play

Venue

The Griffin Theater at The Shed

star
$25 Rush Tickets
Download the TodayTix app and unlock Rush for a chance to access last-minute tickets at exclusive, great prices.
downloadApp.appledownloadApp.google
From $56
Book with confidence

Guaranteed exchanges and timely notifications if a performance is cancelled at any point.

Exchange up to 48 hours before performance for customers unable to attend due to Covid-19.

Customer support available. If you can’t use your exchange, we’ll do our best to help.

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