As we slowly approach December, the days and nights get colder and we find ourselves one step closer to the world premiere of Diner here at Signature Theatre. This production, under the helm of three-time Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall features music by Grammy Award Winning Sheryl Crow and book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Barry Levinson.
For those that aren’t familiar with the Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated film, Diner focuses on a reunion of childhood friends around Christmas time in 1959 Baltimore, Maryland. From the comfort of an all-night diner, the men, in their early-twenties, confront the realities of adulthood and the always perplexing opposite sex.
The film itself is a landmark movie, one that launched numerous careers, including those of actors Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, and screenwriter/director Barry Levinson. Diner’s groundbreaking evocation of male friendship changed the way men interact, not just in movies, but on television, commercials and the radio as well. In 2009, TV critic Nancy Franklin observed that “Levinson should get royalties any time two or more men sit together in a coffee shop.”
What Franklin really means is that, more than any other film, Diner invented the concept of “nothing”. In Diner, Levinson took the stuff that usually fills time between the car chases and kisses and made it central to the story (This idea was popularized with the premiere of Seinfeld.)
Diner influenced a whole generation of writers, revolutionizing the way characters talk and how realistic they could be. The film was particularly influential with actors, as it provided this notion that you could play someone who was extremely real and at the same time humorous and emotional. Diner has a complexity that not a lot of movies at the time had. Older films tended to be tremendously dramatic or broadly comic. Diner on the other hand landed in a new territory where somebody could be entertaining and humorous and also make you cry. Observing more contemporary television and film, Diner is clearly responsible for such "nothing" heavy hits as The Office, Pulp Fiction and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Signature Theatre’s world premiere production of Diner promises to remain faithful to the concept of “nothing” and to retain the truthfully entertaining personalities that are on display. Diner opens December 9th and runs until January 25th. Tickets and more information can be found on the Signature website and at our box office. (703 820 9771)