Dorothy Dandridge: The Musical
Amas Musical Theatre
May 27, 2021
Dorothy Dandridge: The Musical charts the meteoric rise of a remarkable actor, singer and dancer from chitlin circuit barnstorming as a young girl to smoldering chanteuse integrating the Waldorf Astoria to her legendary performance in Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, garnering her the first ever Best Actress Oscar nomination for a Black actor. Her story, however, takes a sharp turn after this peak. She discovers Hollywood in the 1950s and 60s has no place for a leading black woman, no matter how talented and beautiful. And neither do the men in her life, from legendary tap dancer Harold Nicholas to Preminger. For a time, like her friend Marilyn Monroe, booze and pills become her only lovers, but Marilyn’s suicide at the height of her fame jolts Dorothy out of her downward spiral. But is it too little too late?
Dorothy Dandridge: The Musical is a joyous, spectacular song and dance celebration of a gorgeous woman pioneer who dared to dream. It is not a tragedy that she failed to fully realize them. It would have been a tragedy if she hadn’t even tried. As she intones in the rousing final number, “For all the kings and queens and in-betweens crowding round my door...pity me not.”