I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I heard that director Barry Levinson and rocker Sheryl Crow were teaming up to make his movie "Diner" into a Broadway-bound musical. The Baltimore Sun reported on the project today, and I cringed a bit because to me, "Diner" is perfect, a Baltimore icon that should not be tampered with lightly.
The movie has a great cast, including Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Steve Guttenberg, Tim Daly and Daniel Stern. It captures the late 1950s perfectly -- just think of these guys as on their way to becoming Mad Men, and the awkward male/female relationships, the smoking and drinking, the hustling all make sense. And pieces of the dialogue have become standing punch lines around our house: Are you going to finish that sandwich?
I loved every Levinson's entire Baltimore canon "(Tin Men," "Avalon" and "Liberty Heights" as well as "Diner," and consider them required viewing for anyone moving to Baltimore. I even foisted my "Diner" DVD on my neighbors recently, so they could share the joy.
While I'm nervous about the musical, I have complete confidence in Levinson. And Crow's a great musician (though she wasn't even born when "Diner" takes place). Got my fingers crossed that it will make the transition as well as John Waters' "Hairspray."