Coming Dec. 2 to Delaware Theatre Company: “Diner,” the musical. Based on the book by Barry Levinson, “Diner” features music and lyrics by nine-time Grammy-winner Sheryl Crow. Three-time Tony-winning director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall joins Crow and Levinson to transform the 1982 movie into a groundbreaking musical evocation of burgeoning adulthood and friendship.
“’Diner’ is certainly the most ambitious production we have ever undertaken,” says Bud Martin, Executive Director of DTC. “It’s the largest professional cast we have ever had, and our audiences will be treated to a fully automated set with multiple scene changes. Even more impressive is the creative team we have on this show. Having writers like Barry and Sheryl working here with Kathleen Marshall, along with a full slate of Broadway designers, is without a doubt raising the profile of both Delaware Theatre Company and Wilmington.”
Set in Baltimore during 1959, “Diner” follows a circle of childhood friends who confront the realities of adulthood in the one place they know they will always be welcome: the all-night diner. “It’s not a reproduction of a screenplay, but a completely different vehicle,” says Barry Levinson, screenwriter of the original movie and playwright for the stage production. “I thought that ‘Diner’ could lend itself musically to the exploration of the characters through song. In addition, it was an opportunity to open the piece up to the female voices of ‘Diner’ that were not emphasized previously.”
Says composer and lyricist Sheryl Crow, “I love Barry Levinson’s film ‘Diner,’ 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.” The cast includes: Ari Brand as Eddie (Off-Broadway’s “My Name is Asher Lev”), Aaron Finley as Billy (Broadway’s “It Shoulda Been You” and “Rock of Ages”), Derek Klena as Boogie (Broadway’s “Wicked” and “The Bridges of Madison County”), Ethan Slater as Modell (NYMF Award for Outstanding Performance in “Claudio Quest”), Matthew James Thomas as Fenwick (Pippin in the Tony Award-winning 2013 revival), and Noah Weisberg as Shrevie (Broadway’s “South Pacific” and “Legally Blonde”).
With “Diner,” Delaware Theatre Company continues its new vision of developing new musicals to add to the American canon of theater. Developed at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va., “Diner” sold out nine weeks of performances. Currently scheduled for four weeks at Delaware Theatre Company, “Diner” could be extended. See it before the scheduled run ends Dec. 27. Also coming to DTC this season, “Women of Will” by Tina Packer Jan. 29-31, “Nureyev’s Eyes” by David Rush March 2-20, and “The Explorers Club” by Nell Benjamin (writer of “Because of Winn Dixie”) April 27-May 15. 594-1100, delawaretheatre.org.