Dinah the Dining Car

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Helen Latham as Dinah with Dustin Dubreuil as Greaseball in London, 2001

Dinah is the sweet, Southern and lovable dining car from Starlight Express. She is hopelessly in love with Greaseball and her best friend is Pearl the observation car. She races with Greaseball during the 1st Heat but when she complains about his cheating afterwards, he uncouples her and races with Pearl which leaves Dinah to be consoled by Caboose. After being rejected, Electra chooses her as his new race partner. After the Uphill Final is stopped halfway due to foul play, Dinah gets annoyed with his underhand tactics and leaves before the re-run. After Greaseball crashes, he goes back to Dinah, telling her that he is S.O.R.R...R...Y.

In the 1997 Mexican production Expreso Astral the character was called Vianda, and her songs were translated into Spanish.

Inspiration[edit]

Dinah is an overall composite of Shirley Temple (Hence her childlike innocence) and Dolly Parton (her Southern American accent and country style)).

Musical numbers[edit]

Original London

  • A Lotta Locomotion - Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D. - Solo
  • Girls Rolling Stock - Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Belle
  • Dinah's Disco - Duet with Electra

Revised London

  • A Lotta Locomotion - Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • Crazy - Quintet with Rusty, Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D - Solo
  • Girls Rolling Stock - with Buffy and Ashley backup
  • Dinah's Disco - Duet with Electra

Bochum

  • Liebesexpress - ('love train' English equivalent 'Engine of love') Quintet with Rusty, Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • Ne Lok mit Locomotion - ('A locomotive with locomotion' English equivalent 'A lotta locomotion')Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • Crazy - (since 2002) Quintet with Rusty, Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • Dein Freund - ('Your friend' English equivalent 'There's me') Duet with Caboose
  • G.E.K.U.P.P.E.L.T - ('U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D') Solo
  • Girls Rolling Stock - Trio with Buffy and Ashley
  • Dinah's Trennung - ('Dinah's Disco') Duet with Electra

UK/US Tours

  • A Whole Lotta Locomotion - Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • Crazy - Quintet with Rusty, Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D - Solo
  • Dinah's Disco - Duet with Electra

Australia/Japan

  • Engine of Love - Quintet with Rusty, Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • A Lotta Locomotion - Quartet with Buffy, Ashley and Pearl
  • There's Me - Duet with Caboose
  • U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D - Solo
  • Girls Rolling Stock - Trio with Buffy and Ashley
  • Dinah's Disco - Duet with Electra

Dinah's most prominent song is the Country and Western style U.N.C.O.U.P.L.E.D. Possibly based on Tammy Wynette's D.I.V.O.R.C.E, it is also one of the most popular songs in the show.

Costume[edit]

Leanne Garretty as Dinah and Nivaldo Allvez as Caboose, Bochum 2007

With the exception of Starlight On Ice, Dinah has always been costumed in pale blue. There are definite differences between the later London costumes and the Broadway design used in the Japan/Australia tour, Bochum, First US Tour and Japan productions, mainly in the cut of the skirt, design of the bodice and the pattern of the fabric. The London skirt was full circle, but from 1995 the front panel of the skirt was removed, with the doily covering the front of her leotard.

The Broadway design is a six-paneled skirt that hangs more rigidly. The most commonly used 'tablecloth' material that the costume is made from is a simple large check, with edelweiß flowers on alternate dark and light squares. The London pattern was more complicated, a lot closer to a tartan with wide and narrow stripes crossing over.

The later Las Vegas design - which toured the US in 2003 and toured the UK - has no coloured leggings but flesh coloured tights, an eye-wateringly high leg line and large buttons(to represent plates) on the skirt.

Bochum Dinah's costume is the Broadway design, with very subtle alterations to make her look more quintessentially German, most notably the removal of the outer fabric covering of her skirt and the doily. Her headband was changed over the years to a waitress' tiara.

Starlight On Ice In the obscure but interesting "On Ice" production, all the costumed were redesigned, by Frank Krenz. Dinah's outfit was red and frilly with skates styled like cowgirl boots. Her hair was in a big country style similar to Dolly Parton's, with a big, red bow in the back. She also wore earrings and bright red lipstick. Her dress was made of genuine plasticised tablecloth!

Wigs[edit]

Dinah has been through more hair colours and styles in her time than any other character in Starlight Express, but she is always soft, feminine and generally blonde. However she has rarely had hair longer than shoulder-length, to contrast with Pearl's long pink/blonde hair.

Originally she had a brown wig, with a large bun on top, a curled fringe and a big flick at the bottom. In later years this design lost the bun and went blonde. Currently in Bochum her wig is very tightly styled and set, with no movement, looking reminiscent of Shirley Temple in a hairnet.

Actresses[edit]

Understudy to Pearl[edit]

In Bochum, Dinah is almost always the understudy of Pearl. Most actresses play Pearl after a year of playing Dinah due to knowing the part so well. These include;

  • Nina Pressing
  • Clarissa Grace Quinlan
  • Rachael Wooding
  • Amanda Coutts
  • Katie Stewart
  • Beverley Braybon


Frank Krenz' 'On Ice' costume designs on flickr