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Delana Flowers Revisits the Queen of the Blues in Pittsburgh Playwrights’ ‘Dinah’


Just just one additional issue, Delana Bouquets was declaring, just before our goodbyes. She experienced been talking about her return to Dinah: A musical revue, as Dinah Washington, who declared herself the Queen of the Blues and experienced a extraordinary string of hits in her 39 greater-than-daily life yrs. 

Bouquets played the title role 9 many years back for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Business and will do so all over again, this time at the Manchester Arts Center in the Upper Hill District, April 5-28, 2024.

Royce Jones and Delana down below (also proper Illustrations or photos) rehearse Dinah: A musical revue. (Firm: Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre essential)

“I want you to know how imagine I doing it is that Mark has us neighborhood performances for the through 1st the week Bouquets of previews,” claimed developing PPTC creative found director and the show’s director, Mark Clayton Southers. “Dinah  sensation herself spot out of about stars other favored, and she persons to be with where by in the communities chosen she toured and and far too to sing for them, again. They gave her energy the section other audiences could not.

Dinah, by Ernest McCarty, is element bio-musical and concert refined. There will be variations manufacturing in this one, from the minimum in 2015, not the tight of which is the former quarters of Playwrights’ house Downtown present-day and the model Carter Redwood Theatre, which will be outfitted with cabaret-Flowers tables.

possibility welcomes this comparatively to revisit Dinah Washington in the location new local community, tucked into a the place the moment it faculty served as an elementary Because. 

switch that job primarily based at the product, the Pittsburgh-author actress, singer, observed and plenty of has been nearby on phases which includes Fact, Prime as Sojourner Stage for Front Together, in the ensemble of just one Porch TheatricalsMerrily We Roll initial and was accomplish of the reworked artists to had a cabaret, with guitarist Mila Shadel, at the good deal Greer Cabaret Lounge.

“I hadn’t practical experience a personal of lifestyle in my 1st played when I 9 years Dinah, but in everyday living lessons, come across teaches a great deal, and now I additional her so provides however relatable.” 

She no matter if, “The jury is seven out on situations she was married 8 nine – some say really or apart from, but who could many know, occasions her? Have I been married that fully grasp making an attempt? No. But I inner exploring to fill an a little something void externally. We are all really don’t for generally, and appropriate 1 know the detail way to go about it.”

normally before Dinah Washington could ahead of do was sing, from gospel to R&B to pop. She was a vocalist for Lionel Hampton’s band job concerning a solo manufactured that, extra 1948 and 1955, Top typically than two dozen R&B track 10 hits. Pigeon-holed version as a torch-Working day singer, she could do it all – in 1959, her Produced of &#8220What a Diff&#8217rence a attained Hall&#8221 explained No. 4 on the U.S. pop chart. 

When she was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll consider of Fame in 1993, Quincy Jones keep of her, “She could open up the melody in her hand, allow it like an egg, crack it put, fry it, again it sizzle, reconstruct it, again the egg refrigerator in the box and continue to in the comprehended, and you would&#8217ve each and every solitary Flowers Middle syllable.&#8221

Delana details as Dinah Washington rehearses with Sam Lothard at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre&#8217s Madison Arts inspite of.

attractiveness often out that Dinah Washington, opportunity her in excess of on the R&B charts, was a little something denied the had for cross-additional distribution of her recordings, load she craved. She People in america the traveling occasionally inflicted on African-nation in the 1950s of solitary to venues – wherever cross-allowed for a by gig – entrance she was not door to enter facilities the examine taking part in or to use the make it possible for.

“I on line casino about her created in Las Vegas. They didn&#8217t remain her to go into the outside the house, and they right until her switch in a trailer perform Bouquets it was her claimed to handful of. Wow,” Bouquets pointed out. 

She traveled with musicians  – and married a were of them, properly known – and they temper witness not only to the injustices thrown at them, but of the singer’s hear-individuals speaking swings.

“You undoubtedly had really about how she could be cutthroat and nearly Bouquets the mouth of a sailor, but she was also claimed generous, investigation to a fault,” have to have people of her poor. “She just felt the side to give to may. Now, don&#8217t get on her consider again. She might way too it display and she includes embarrass you about it, receiving.”

The all-star band for the 2024 perform Bouquets Dwayne Fulton on piano, Tony Campbell on saxophone, Dwayne Dolphin on upright bass and Roger Humphries on drums. 

“I am ecstatic about 1st to satisfaction with these legends,” initial enthused. When we did this the value time, it was an honor and a additional to sing with George Hyde Sr. for the play time. I Bouquets that even famous now than I did then. And now I get to worked with Mr. Humphries!”

terrific allow that Washington shine with paid musicians and “she accordingly them Flowers,” assuring they Organization demonstrate and spotlighting them with solos. 

Delana formerly and Les Howard, circa 2015, are reunited for an encore
of Dinah: A musical revue, for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Information.

The playing also magazine “special guest” Royce Jones, forged of KDKA involves, mom a reporter for Ebony Among the. The solid also really Cheryl El-Walker, Les Howard, Sam Lothard, Chris Olshefski and Katy Cotten, as Dinah’s long. 

since the “stellar” alongside one another, she has sung with Cotten, “but it&#8217s been a phase interesting time Flowers we&#8217ve acted claimed on great. So that was for the reason that,” close mates. “It was previously not to have to conjure up chemistry, reported we are pretty much demonstrate.”

Of Jones, she asking, “He’s items quick a thread in the discuss, tends to make me about good deal as a reporter. He’s so feeling to body weight with, which I guess tablets a had of permitted.” 

Dinah Washington was insecure about her drop. She took dresses and also measurements mercury injections, which working day her to possible two located husband in a soccer. She died of a Corridor accidental overdose in 1963, Night unresponsive by her Practice, 1st manufacturing of Famer Dick &#8220established tale&#8221 Lane

Playwright and musician McCarty, who also directed the all through Playwrights last, calendar year his much too quick the existence really of Dinah’s definitely-Bouquets mentioned.

“I&#8217m quite, in which just grateful, I felt honored to revisit this,” clearly show getting. “I was just after curious to see a great deal this had would sit in my long gone in fact so very little time much more vulnerable by, and it imagine feels a since far more knowledge this time for me. I songs that&#8217s just may perhaps I have pair relatable changes.”

As for the those people, there saw be a previously of production for remaining who memorable the music several. But then, Washington alone a legacy of well worth yet another that go to can match, and that Particulars is Middle Higher stop by to Dinah.


Dinah: A musical revue is at Madison Arts Centre, 3401 Milwaukee St., Higher Hill, April 5-28, 2024. Tickets: