PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 17-23: Sheryl Crow on Broadway; Sutton Foster and the Stars of Follies Extend

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 17-23: Sheryl Crow on Broadway; Sutton Foster and the Stars of Follies Extend
 
Can a bunch of aimless friends sitting around a diner shooting the breeze and avoiding their responsibilities make a musical?

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow

Well, we will find out in fall 2012 when Diner, the latest musical to be based on a filmic source, finds a place on Broadway. Diner will also be the latest tuner to be penned by a pop artist. Leggy, long-haired, rock goddess Sheryl Crow will write the score. That seems like a good fit, since Crow's most famous songs—"All I Wanna Do," "Soak Up the Sun," "If It Makes You Happy"—are all about shirking obligations in favor of a good time, and generally ignoring reality.

Penning the book will be Barry Levinson, whose career was kicked off when he directed and wrote the screenplay for the original 1982 film, which made stars out of the then-young actors Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, Steve Guttenberg, Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke and Daniel Stern.

Making sure everyone above remembers that they're in the theatre now, not on a stage set or a music studio, will be Kathleen Marshall, who will direct and choreograph the production, which will play a limited out-of-town engagement in a city to be announced in summer 2012.

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Sutton Foster and company
photo by Joan Marcus

Two big extensions on Broadway this week. Sutton Foster will be tapping her heart out in the 2011 Tony Award-winning Best Revival, Anything Goes, through April 29, 2012. That will keep Foster in the old-fashioned crowd-pleaser for a trouper-worthy run of more than a year. Foster won her second Tony Award for her work.

Ghostlight Records released the new Broadway cast recording of the show on Sept. 20.

Across Broadway, meanwhile, the lavish, critically praised revival of Follies, the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical about a group of former Follies stars who reunite for a final encore, will haunt the Marquis Theatre for an additional three weeks.

Eric Schaeffer directs the production, which opened on Broadway Sept. 12, following a late spring engagement at the Kennedy Center earlier this year. Follies was originally scheduled to conclude Dec. 30, but will now continue through Jan. 22, 2012.

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Katori Hall

The Signature Theatre Company continued to show its devotion to the playwright in surprising ways.

The company announced playwrights Annie Baker, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Kenneth Lonergan and Regina Taylor as writers in the theatre's new Residency Five initiative, part of the expanded programming that will be presented at the new Signature Center starting in spring 2012.

Residency Five grants the quintet of scribes an enormous amount of short-term security. It makes the writers resident playwrights with the company and guarantees each of them three full world-premiere productions over a five-year residency.

Furthermore, "Residency Five playwrights receive a significant cash award, full health benefits, a stipend to attend theatre, access to Signature's resources and staff, and like all of Signature's playwrights, a place at the center of the artistic process."

What? No car and driver?

Signature is kind to dead playwrights, too. When it opens its new Frank Gehry-designed three-venue headquarters on West 42nd Street in early 2012, one of its theatres will be named for late alumni writer Romulus Linney, the first playwright to receive Signature's full-season treatment.

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