4 NOVEMBER 2014
[NEWS] Signature Theatre Announces Cast for Sheryl Crow's DINER Musical
By BWW News Desk
Virginia's Signature Theatre just announced the full cast for the world premiere of Diner, the musical adaptation of the landmark film with a book by the movie's Academy Award®-winning screenwriter and director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bugsy, The Natural) and an original score by nine-time Grammy Award® winner Sheryl Crow. Directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award® Winner Kathleen Marshall (Broadway's Anything Goes, Nice Work If You Can Get It), the ensemble piece will feature Whitney Bashor (Barbara; Broadway's Bridges of Madison County and Signature's The Hollow), Bryan Fenkart (Modell; Broadway's Memphis), Aaron Finley (Billy; Broadway's Rock of Ages),Josh Grisetti (Shrevie; Off-Broadway's Enter Laughing), Erika Henningsen (Beth; Show Boat: Live from Lincoln Center with the NY Philharmonic), Derek Klena (Boogie; Broadway's Wicked, The Bridges of Madison County and Second Stage'sDogfight), Adam Kantor (Eddie; Broadway's Rent, Next to Normal and Second Stage's The Last Five Years), Tess Soltau(Elyse; Broadway's The Addams Family), Matthew James Thomas (Fenwick; Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,Pippin), and John Schiappa (Older Boogie; Broadway's Rocky, The Other Place, Wicked).
The production begins performances at Signature Theatre's MAX Theatre December 9. It will play for six and a half weeks, through January 25.
"Diner marks the first world premiere musical of three in our 25th anniversary season," stated Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "I'm excited to have Sheryl, Barry and Kathleen at Signature to premiere this exciting new show."
"I'm so thrilled that we are bringing Diner to the award-winning Signature Theatre," said director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall. "Barry Levinson's book expands and deepens his beloved story and his iconic characters, and we have an amazing cast to introduce Sheryl Crow's sensational score. I can't wait to get started!"
Set in Baltimore during Christmas of 1959, a circle of childhood friends reunite for the upcoming wedding of one of them. From the comfort of their all-night Diner, the men, now in their early-twenties, confront the realities of adulthood: marriage, careers, money and the ever-mysterious opposite sex.
When Diner premiered in 1982 it was heralded as "fresh...Energetic...Honest [and] entertaining" by The New York Times. In March of 2012, Vanity Fair claimed that Barry Levinson's comedy "caused a tectonic shift in popular culture. It paved the way for Seinfeld, Pulp Fiction, The Office, and Judd Apatow's career."
"To see these characters from the original film take on a new life has been a surreal endeavor," said original screenwriter and director Barry Levinson, "Kathleen, Sheryl and I are thrilled with the cast we have assembled to launch this show on the DC stage."
"I love Barry Levinson's film, Diner," said composer and lyricist Sheryl Crow, "so, when Barry called and asked if I'd like to join him to create a new musical version of the story, I jumped at the chance. Working together has been a total joy. In my hometown of Kennett, Missouri, we didn't have musicals coming through our town, but we saw all the movie musicals. I didn't know they all came from Broadway! My favorites were West Side Story, Oklahoma and My Fair Lady. I still can't believe I will have the opportunity to work on a brand new musical with Barry. Working together with our director, Kathleen Marshall, we have really been working hard on expanding Diner to allow it to sing while remaining true to this story of these young men and women coming of age in Baltimore. And to think we are going to premiere it so close to Baltimore, where the story took place, at Signature Theatre, which has birthed so many new musicals, well, I couldn't be happier."
The creative team includes Music Direction by Lon Hoyt (Broadway's Hairspray, Lennon); Orchestrations by Grammy Award® nominee Mitchell Froom; Scenic Design by Tony Award® winner Derek McLane (Broadway's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Follies); Scenery adapted by James Kronzer (Broadway's Glory Days); Costume Design by Tony Award® nominee Paul Tazewell (Broadway's Side Show, In the Heights); Lighting Design by Tony Award® winner Peter Kaczorowski (Broadway'sVenus in Fur, Anything Goes); Sound Design by Lane Elms (Signature's Elmer Gantry, Sunday in the Park with George); Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein; Assistant Stage Manager Allie Roy; and New York Casting by Justin Huff, CSA (Telsey + Company).
The cast is rounded out by Nova Y. Payton (Signature's Dreamgirls, Hairspray) and John Leslie Wolfe (Broadway's Parade,Passion and Signature's The Threepenny Opera) along with MaryLee Adams (Studio Theatre's POP!), Mitch Marois(Pittsburgh CLO's Ring of Fire), Maria Egler (Signature's Elmer Gantry, Sunday in the Park with George), Colleen Hayes(National Tour, Catch Me if You Can), David Little (Studio Theatre's Carrie: The Musical), Ben Lurye (Signature Theatre'sHello Dolly!), Lou Steele (Creative Cauldron's Marry Me A Little), and Russell Sunday (Signature's Elmer Gantry, Brother Russia).