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Black Dahlia Reading

DidYouReallyHearMe
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Black Dahlia Reading #1
Posted: 4/29/08 at 12:38am
Saw it this evening. All I can say is, the entire score was rewritten for this 2nd attempt and goodness was it awful. Anyone who doesn't know the story of the Black Dahlia will be lost right from the beginning. People were asking "Why is she called the Black Dahlia?" while the prologue was sung, in which the lyrics were "Black Dahlia, Black Dahlia, she is the Black Dahlia" and were operatically delivered.

Not one song is even salvageable for reworking. 15 scenes in act 1, 14 scenes in act 2. The reading was a little over 3 hours long. 19 songs.
At the start of the evening the entire house was full (The York Theatre) and at the start of the second act many rows were empty and seats were empty here and there.
The show opens with the dumping of the body and the end of the first act we see it happen all over again, for no reason. Emily Skinner as Tribune reporter Maggie Anderson, did very well with the weak material. Her presence on that stage was great.


Anyone else go this evening? Did you stay the whole time like I did?


Thoughts?


Chrysanthemum62001
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #2
Posted: 4/29/08 at 1:20am
Is this the thing with that song "What Price Fame, What Price Glory"?
"What a mystery this world. One day you love them and the next day you want to kill them a thousand times over." The Masked Bandit in THE FALL
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ray-andallthatjazz86
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #2
Posted: 4/29/08 at 1:28am
Do you have a cast list?
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
DidYouReallyHearMe
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #3
Posted: 4/29/08 at 1:44am
Chrysanthemum, yes the show included the song "What Price Fame?"

Ray, the cast list was as follows (Characters on Left, Actors on Right):

Sheldon Sherman - Christopher Totten
Maggie Anderson - Emily Skinner
Mrs. Short/Mrs. Whimberly/Nurse Ryan - Diane Findlay
Robinette/Paper Boy - Angela Howell
Chief Martino - Jonathan Kline
Detective Jenkins - Merwin Foard
Elizabeth Short (The Dahlia) - Catherine Walker
Confession Johnnie 3 - James Donegan
Deborah English/Robinette - Danielle Grabianowski
Jack Zalinka - Aaron Lazar
Virginia Black/Robinette - Stacey Harris
Confession Johnnie 1- Martin Van Treuren
Confession Johnnie 2/Van Daniels - Danny Bernardy
Detective Greene - Frank DeSpigno


On the piano was Natalie Tenenbaum



Here was the song list:

ACT 1
Prologue
A Man's World
That Dahlia Dame
I Live My Life Through the Movies
Look At Me Daddy
Secrets
All She Wanted
What Kind of Man?
What Kind of Man? (Reprise)
Enigma
The Midnight Duet

ACT 2
Ego
What Price Fame?
What Price Fame? (Reprise)
Look At Me Daddy (Reprise)
Daddy's Girl
Breakfast of Champions
Them
Over
Chrysanthemum62001
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #4
Posted: 4/29/08 at 1:52am
There is something in me that really loves that song. And I love Emily Skinner even more. But to me, some of the music I heard reminded me so much of Jekyll and Hyde.
"What a mystery this world. One day you love them and the next day you want to kill them a thousand times over." The Masked Bandit in THE FALL
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ray-andallthatjazz86
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #5
Posted: 4/29/08 at 2:25am
Thanks for the cast list :) Sorry to hear it wasn't that great.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
DidYouReallyHearMe
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #6
Posted: 4/29/08 at 2:42am
There is certainly no more Jekyll and Hyde sounding music in the show anymore.


It's 1940s inspired with some contemporary ballads here and there.
the_white_page
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #7
Posted: 4/29/08 at 7:52am
I was there -- and I stayed for the entire thing. Mostly because I'm a huge fan of Emily Skinner and was so happy to see her on that stage.

The whole thing was... interesting. Some of the songs I thought were alright - but, that might just be because Emily was singing them (for me, anyway). The story wasn't very strong.

I did laugh when Emily said "she was preggers!!" -- um, was that a term in the 1940's? lol.

www.bethleavel.com
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jordangirl
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #8
Posted: 4/29/08 at 8:27am
I was there the whole time too. While I didn't think it was the best thing ever, I didn't find it AS awful. I took it as what it was...an early reading of a reworked piece. Like the_white_page, I'm a huge Emily fan, so that could have colored how I heard some of the songs.

Yes, the story needs more exposition, but at least they're trying to stick to the STORY rather than the silly love triangle that the movie focused on and lost the actuality of the story.
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Flossie
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #9
Posted: 4/29/08 at 9:56am
I was one of the many who left at intermission. I was surprised at how dull the story and the songs were. Many of the lyrics were laughable without intending to be. The actors tried hard but I did not feel anyone came across well due to the material they were given. I can not believe this was brought back by the York.
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Borstalboy
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #10
Posted: 4/29/08 at 9:57am
Kind of a tacky idea for a musical.


Maybe the same duo will do a piece about Jon Benet Ramsey!

Cut in half? Mouth sliced from ear to ear? Wait! Get me to the piano! I feel a tune coming on!
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. ~ Muhammad Ali
Updated On: 4/29/08 at 09:57 AM
Jazzysuite82
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #11
Posted: 4/29/08 at 12:19pm
Actually it's not a tacky idea for a musical at all. There have been far stranger things written about.

I was there and I stayed for the whole thing. Interesting is def the word. The funny thing is that they cut 3 songs before the reading started. Some of the songs were superfluous. I remember a club song with the Robinettes (an Andrew Sisters type group) followed by another club song (this time a torch song from on of the Robinettes). I certainly wouldn't say none of the songs are salvagable. That's an extreme. What Price Fame was nice and I liked the song she sang about discovering she had photographic talent.

My main issue with it was the story...well the score as well. I think it could be an interesting story if the murder had ever been solved. Watch any crime drama or even mystery in general. They have something in common. 9 times out of 10 it's solved. There's a reason for that. Audiences like some sort of resolution. If they don't solve it, you're usually left with an emotional impact that's acts as a resolution. This story had neither. I left at the end of the evening thinking "why was this story told?" I invested 3 hours to find out that the case was closed as they were getting close? Ok...well what did that tell me or reveal to me? I couldn't really find a satisfying answer.
DidYouReallyHearMe
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #12
Posted: 4/29/08 at 3:37pm
The song "Secrets" was good out of context, not in Black Dahlia.
And same with "What Price Fame?"

I meant that most of the songs were not salvageable for the show. I could see most of the songs featured in a different show.

And yes, I took it as a reading as well. But man oh man. For a 2nd attempt and it was still THAT bad...I've seen 1st readings of musicals that were far more superior than that.


Emily Skinner, was indeed excellent. What a talented woman she is!!
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jordangirl
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #13
Posted: 4/29/08 at 3:42pm
Jazzy ~ I think it's because it's a true story and it IS an unsolved crime that there was no resolution. If they created one, they'd be setting themselves up for potential lawsuits from whoever they named unless they went totally against the evidence and just made up someone.

And yeah...even screwing up her line at the end, Emily is awesome. :)
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
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Jazzysuite82
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #14
Posted: 4/29/08 at 5:21pm
Ohh I know. What I was saying was that this isn't the story to musicalize BECAUSE with murder mysteries people want some resolution. OR if they found a way to make a statement with the absence of resolution. But I got no big message OR a resolution. It just sorta stopped. So it didn't work plotwise for me
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jordangirl
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re: Black Dahlia Reading #15
Posted: 4/29/08 at 5:28pm
I don't know... I know there are major issues with this piece, but they did say at the end that there is no resolution. I'm not sure there has to be some big meaning to everything...some things just are. And for some things there are no resolutions. I don't know...different strokes I guess.

But you're right...not everything needs to be musicalized. :)
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!