Diner heaps loads of fantastic singing and dancing on theater-goers with a first-rate cast who propel the iconic 1982 movie into a bonanza on stage. This is as technical a production as you’ll see at the Delaware Theatre Company, with a stage that’s set like a diner in 1959, lively choreography and original music created by nine-time Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow.
It all starts in a classic 1950’s diner with spirited talk about Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. There’s a rousing doo-wop dance number with the whole ensemble, and just when you think you’re in for a quaint evening of sock-hops and poodle skirts, Diner knocks you over with some pretty heavy themes.
The musical that officially opened this past weekend at Delaware Theatre Company (the book’s written by Academy Award-winner Barry Levinson) revolves around a moment frozen in time, and it’s a moment on the brink of explosive change as the 1950s come to a close.
It’s Christmastime in Baltimore, 1959, and the guys who hang out at the local diner – and their gals – are about to come face to face with what it means to be an adult and taking responsibility for their own destinies.
Suddenly the fifties aren’t so fabulous.
The major themes? Existential crises, coming of age, sex, identity and gender roles.
And they’re beautifully woven into a production of smart choreography, vocals and acting, all directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Kathleen Marshall.
“Diner is certainly the most ambitious production we have ever undertaken,” said Delaware Theatre Company’s executive director, Bud Martin, in a release. “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.”
Because so many tickets were sold before the show even debuted, Delaware Theatre Company extended to musical’s run through Jan. 3.
“Over 7,000 tickets have been sold for the run of the show, making this the second-highest attended production in Delaware Theatre Company’s 37-year history, bested only by last season’s Because of Winn-Dixie,” Martin said in a release.
All of those ticket-holders won’t be disappointed: Diner is a gem of a show that will pleasantly surprise, entertain and challenge the audience.