Eric D. Schaeffer is an American theater director and producer based in Arlington, Virginia.
He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Signature Theatre., and is well known nationally for his re-invention of large American musicals for small black box venues. He has produced many of the works of Stephen Sondheim, stating that the Signature production of Sweeney Todd in the 1990-1991 season "put us on the map". Under his leadership, Signature Theatre was chosen to receive the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award.
Over its 21-year history, Schaeffer has also led the Theatre to 70 Helen Hayes Awards and 283 Helen Hayes nominations for outstanding excellence in the theater. He created The American Musical Voices Project and The American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation, which has awarded over $500,000 in commissions to writers for new American musicals. He has directed on Broadway, West End in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and served as the Artistic Director of The Sondheim Celebration at The Kennedy Center in 2002.
On June 24th, 2020, Schaeffer stepped down as Artistic Director of Signature Theatre amid accusations from numerous men of sexual assault.
Selected directing credits
- Signature Theatre
Sunset Boulevard, Chess, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Glory Days, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, Saving Aimee, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Nevermore, Assassins, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Allegro, Twentieth Century, 110 in the Shade, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Gospel According to Fishman, Grand Hotel, The Rhythm Club, Over & Over, The Fix, Working, The Rink, Cabaret, First Lady Suite, Wings, Poor Superman, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Passion, Company, Sweeney Todd, Follies, Pacific Overtures, Ace, Les Misérables, Showboat and “Sunday in The Park with George”
- Gigi (2015) [transfer from the Kennedy Center]
- Million Dollar Quartet (2010)
- Glory Days (2008)
- Putting It Together (1999)
- Follies (2011) [transfer from the Kennedy Center]
- National Tours
- Barbie Live in Fairytopia
- The Witches of Eastwick (2000, World premiere, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and Prince of Wales Theatre)
- Gigi (2015)
- Follies (2011)
- 2002 Washingtonian of the Year
- 6 Helen Hayes Awards (Outstanding Direction)
- 6 Helen Hayes Awards (Outstanding Musical)
- 2007 Arts Founder Award
- Lefrak, Mikaela. "Signature Theatre's Co-Founder Eric Schaeffer Steps Down Following Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct". WAMU. WAMU. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- Official Website of Signature Theatre sig-online.org
- Floyd, Jerry."Interview:Side by Side with Eric D. Schaeffer", sondheim.com, ca. 1998, retrieved February 21, 2010
-  variety.com
-  helenhayes.org
- "American Musical Voices Project Awards" Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, signature-theatre.org
- "Photo Coverage: American Musical Voices Project Awards", broadwayworld.com
- "American Musical Voices Project - The Next Generation" Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, signature-theatre.org
- "Composers Conner, Gwon, Kahane Get Commissions at Signature; Foley, Michelson Snag Grants", playbill.com
- "Schaeffer listing", ibdb.com
- "The Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration, 2002" sondheimguide.com, accessed March 4, 2011
- "Honorary Doctorates to be Presented at Commencement" kutztown.edu, accessed February 15, 2013.
- Marks, Peter (24 June 2020). "Signature Theatre co-founder steps down amid accusations of sexual assault". Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- Pressley, Nelson."Encores for `Sweet Adeline': Kern-Hammerstein musical enjoys a loving N.Y. revival.", Excerpt from The Washington Times, February 16, 1997