Dinah Was, the Dinah Washington-based musical revue that enjoyed an extended Off-Broadway run kicks off the 1999-2000 season at Dallas Theatre Center, Sept. 8-Oct. 3, in the Kalita Humphreys space. Penned by Oliver Goldstick and directed by David Petrarca, the show is a co production with Arena Stage and Northlight Theatre. The show's official opening night, Sept. 14, is already sold out.
Back in 1959, Washington was one of the first black artists to cross into the all-white pop charts. With such hits as "What A Difference A Day Makes" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," not to mention her great duet with Brook Benton, "Baby, You've Got What It Takes," Washington became a legendary songstress before she died at 39.
Later in the season, Dallas Theater Center will present the American premiere of Canadian playwright David Young's Inexpressible Island and the world premiere of Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia. The subscription package includes five productions, including Inexpressible Island, a drama about six men cut off from the 1912 Antarctic expedition, where the elements create both danger and wonder.
The playwright was recently represented in Canada with Glenn, his four-actor bio of Glenn Gould, at the Stratford Festival in Ontario.
Also offered as a non-subscription show are A Christmas Carol (Nov. 26-Dec. 26 at DTC's Arts District Theater) and the Big D Festival of the Unexpected, which offers intimate experimental shows and events (yet to be announced) including a full production of Dreamlandia, written by Solis (DTC's Santos & Santos) and directed by DTC artistic director Richard Hamburger. Dreamlandia is inspired by Calderon's Spanish fantasy-drama Life is a Dream (circa 1638). A DTC commission and winner of a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays grant, the play is set in the borderlands between Mexico and Texas where narcotics, NAFTA, immigration and cultural clashes are part of the tensions. The work had a reading in a previous Big D Festival.
Other productions this season include:
* The Seagull, Chekhov's play about artistic yearning, expression and suffering, directed by Richard Hamburger. Oct. 20-Nov. 14 at the Humphreys.
* A Christmas Carol,the Dickens classic will be a brand new adaptation by John Moscone and Preston Lane; Moscone directs. Nov. 26-Dec. 26 at the Arts District Theater.
* The Mystery of Irma Vep, the Charles Ludlam gothic comedy spoof, directed by Jonathan Moscone. Jan. 12-Feb. 6, 2000 at the Humphreys.
* Inexpressible Island by David Young, directed by Preston Lane. Feb. 16-March 12, 2000 at the Arts District Theater.
* Big D Festival of the Unexpected, a slate of performances, new work and solo artists, including a staging of Octavio Solis' Dreamlandia. Spring 2000.
DTC plays to 100,000 theatregoers every season. The Kalita Humphreys Theater, one of the company's two mainstage spaces, is one of only three existing theatres designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.
For information about Dallas Theater Center, call (214) 522-8499.
-- By Kenneth Jones and David Lefkowitz