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Dinah Was

a Play with Music
CATEGORY :
by Oliver Goldstick

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 312

SHOWING : August 23, 2001 - September 23, 2001

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

She came from Tuscaloosa and she died the Queen of the Blues. Incorporating popular songs from her 20-year career, this is the story of legendary blues singer Dinah Washington's remarkable and rocky journey from humble roots to headlining fame. Features Atlanta's Chandra Currelley as Dinah.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS
The Experts Say...

AJC
by Wendell Brock
August 30, 2001
Wendell calls the play "thin" and "one-dimensional" but states that the Alliance, and Atlanta singer/actor Chandra Currelley, deliver the goods. Overall, an entertaining night at the theater.

AJC
by Wendell Brock
August 30, 2001
Wendell calls the play "thin" and "one-dimensional" but states that the Alliance, and Atlanta singer/actor Chandra Currelley, deliver the goods. Overall, an entertaining night at the theater.


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you go, girl
by Miss Kitty
Sunday, September 16, 2001
5.0
LOVED THIS! Great work all around.
The amazing Chandra is fabulous.

About the review before me, the truth is that Susan Booth didn't pick the current season -- it was picked by the dramaturg and other artists at the Alliance before Susan Booth was chosen. She is working with it, but I repeat, she did not choose it. Also, it makes sense to me that she would utilize talent she knows, especially in this first season. As soon as she knows more about the talent here -- and she seems to be very committed to getting to know us all very well -- I think we'll see more local work on stage and back stage. The people she has brought with her so far are EXCELLENT, and it is good for the theater community here to be exposed to them. I say, right on Susan, and keep on keeping on. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Dinah Sings
by chapeldog
Thursday, August 30, 2001
4.0
I agree with some of the previous review. The show is pretty wonderful when there's singing going on, but the actual play itself is pretty thin.

In general, it's a high energy evening and an interesting story. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Flashy Dinah - Troubling Signals
by Landerview
Thursday, August 30, 2001
3.0
DINAH WAS opened last night at the Alliance. An exciting eveing all around - the opening of a new play at the Alliance and the opening of the tenure of Susan Booth as Artistic Director for the Alliance.

At the beginning of the evening as Ms. Booth thanked the sponsors of the show, she mentioned that this was the first show of her first season which drew strong applause from some of the crowd. A quick glance indicted that not all were happy to see the demise of Kenny Leon (I for one was happy to see a kind man who lacked the tools to run a major theatre depart). In general Ms. Booth was well reieved and she had a calm reassuring presence on stage during her speech. I mention this little item because it is a part of my general impression of the show and what we here in Atlanta can expect from Ms. booth's tenure.

The show itself was good. Chandra Currelley sings like a bird and captures the smart mouth of Dinah Washington - her acting at times lacked the depth one would like to see from a woman with such a troubled life. Local actress, Saycon Sengbloh also holds up her end of the show. The other characters are all good too. The main problem with the show is that 1) The script is brilliantly funny in some places and brilliantly bland in others, 2) The set in cumbersome awkward - a few times flying pieces nearly didn't make it out of view and the moving gold records (they had just hurridly flown in and moved throughout the next scene) were a distraction rather than significant - those are minor examples of what is a sophmoric design at best, 3) The direction is not only sophmoric, but awkward too. Put those three problems onto an already weak script, and what one gets is that sort of over-energetic (let's make up for the bad writing and make people believe this is good by our sheer will and energy expended so we can cover the flaws) acting that Atlanta audiences have so readily embraced. One day the audiences in Atlanta will begin to discern what is good acting from tricks and this show is unfortuantely the poster child for tricks - the responsiobility for that lies squarely on the shoulders of the director and the Artistic Director.

The show is OK - very good in some places (usually when there's singing not acting) BUT - here is where one gets a knot in the pit of one's stomach. Read through the bios and one quickly becomes aware of one glaring fact. The rest of the actors (and director) are all from somewhere that Susan Booth worked or has business associations. What's even more disturbing, the shows she has picked for this her first season, seem to be re-stagings of shows she has already seen or developed - that is a generalization, but read carefully Atlanta. Given some of the outrageous compromises the Board apparently made to bring Ms. Booth here to run, what should be the most influential theatre in the Southeast, we can all wonder what we are in for in the future.

The Alliance Theatre has the budget and business support to be the best theatre in the country. What we get - on a consistent basis is OK theatre, at top notch prices. Stop standing for passable work Atlanta. Be objective and demand better.

Having gone into detail about about all these issues, I will tell you that I am very interested to see what Ms. Booth's first, second and third years will bring us.

Let's hope the Alliance brings the Artistic Community together! This is Ms. Booth's real challange and one that so far is still up in the air. There will be many out there who will put this review down as being negative - try truthful and one might be able to see what is important about the state of the theatre in Atlanta. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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