[NEWS] ‘Diner’ Returns to Its Roots for World Premiere

Northern Virginia Magazine

Signature Theatre will host the world premiere musical adaptation of Barry Levinson’s 1982 film

Who says you can’t come home? After a bumpy road, the musical adaptation of Barry Levinson’s 1982 film “Diner” is doing just that with its world premiere at Arlington’s Signature Theatre. With music from Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow, book by Levinson and choreography and direction from Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall, Signature has landed a juggernaut to help celebrate their 25th anniversary season.

In development since 2011, the “Diner” world premiere was delayed in San Francisco in the fall of 2012, and then again on Broadway in April 2013. Original producer Scott Zeiger left the production and was replaced by Scott Landis, who, with the rest of the creative team, decided that a regional theater near the Baltimore area, where the film is set, would be the perfect locale to get “Diner” going.

“A call came asking if we would have any interest in premiering ‘Diner,’” says Signature’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “The writers knew our track record of producing new work and it was the perfect fit.”

One of Signature’s calling cards over its 25 years has been their development of new projects. The theatre has had 38 world premieres since its conception, including a musical adaptation of Iris Rainer Dart’s novel “Beaches,” which wound up being the theatre’s highest selling world premiere. But Signature is extremely excited about “Diner” in large part due to the talent involved.

“It’s not too often an artist who has sold 60 million copies comes to Signature,” says Signature’s Managing Director Maggie Boland about Crow. Boland had to make some last minute shifts, however, to make sure they could lock up the premiere.

“It happened at just the right moment as we were finalizing the season, schedule and budget,” says Boland.

“Diner” was able to slide into a space previously occupied by a revival of “The Fix,” a musical by John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe. According to Boland, the shows were close enough in budget that the switch wouldn’t cause any problems. “The Fix” has been pushed to the 2015-2016 season.

Above all, Signature is confident in the show. Set in 1950s Baltimore during Christmas, “Diner” follows a group of friends who reunite for an upcoming wedding. Together they face the realities of adulthood—marriage, money and the mysteries of the opposite sex—at the place they will always belong, the diner.

“For folks who love the movie ‘Diner,’ the musical is going to be exactly what they’re looking for,” says Boland. —Michael Balderston

“Diner” premieres December 9 and runs through January 25, 2015; signature-theatre.org

SOURCE: Northern Virginia Magazine


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