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Two dynamite plays that you must not miss
Two dynamite plays that you must not miss
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Murderers
Directed by Steven Dietz
Starring Mark Anders, Joan Porter Hollander Sarah Rudinoff
Seattle Repertory Theatre
(Leo K. Theatre)
October 4-November 4th


Dinah Was
Directed by Jacqueline Moscou
Starring Stephanie Scott-Hatley
Felicia Loud, G. To'mas Jones, Ron Davids, Nik Doner
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
October 6-November 18th


When one thinks of murder and the culprits who commit such heinous crimes, one doesn't usually think of people as elegant and well-spoken as the characters Steven Dietz has assembled in his play Murderers. And one doesn't consider that a person, committing a murder should, as 'Gerald', the first 'murderer', says, 'wear black tie'. But this is not 'CSI', and the characters who commit these murders are anything but sleazy and, in fact, the actions they describe are not only all too human, but hilarious.

The first character, 'Gerald' (Mark Anders, dressed as if for an evening on the town), tells his story in such an engaging way that when he finally describes how he murders the gigolo who threatens to blackmail him over some withheld information, I laughed, not cringed. And the following story of what happens after the murder is discovered is just as humorous and a bit ironic too. This is definitely not the stuff of typical crime dramas.

The second and third murderers, two women with good reasons for the murders they commit-one offs herself and leaves a trail of evidence that'll implicate her cheating husband and an old rival femme fatale who came back to town, and the other kills several 'deserving' folks-are just as entertaining. But the tour-de-force performance for the show comes from the ever inventive and infinitely watchable Sarah Rudinoff, as the sly 'Minka Lupino', a nursing home receptionist who murders a series of questionable characters. Her descriptions of each of the murders and the murdered was so funny, I found myself unable to stop laughing, and cheering this character on at the same time. Rudinoff makes 'Lupino' such a loveable character, you even forgive the fact that she's in the murdering business.

An absolutely charming play, full of guile, merriment and chutzpah, Murderers is the perfect play for October, the month that holds Hallowe'en in it. And even though the stories do run a bit long at times, I didn't mind, because each actor is so delightful to watch, and at times you might even swear that there are more characters on the stage with them. For tickets and times, go to 206-443-2222, or visit, www.seattlerep.org.

Ah, but if you're in the mood for something a little more dramatic (and with great music too), you'll definitely not want to miss Dinah Was, which traces the final months of R&B singer Dinah Washington. Portrayed with pathos and understated fieriness by actress Stephanie Scott-Hatley, we get to see the singer behind those memorable songs like 'What A Difference A Day Makes' and 'This Bitter Earth'. And as the story fleshes itself out on the stage, we see that Washington, like 'Lady Day' (Billie Holliday) before her, had many obstacles, including race, thrown in her way.

That she was able--at a time when racism across the country was more the norm than the aberration--to put on such amazing performances also comes out in the show, as Scott-Hadley gives a face to the tragic singer. It's a tour-de-force performance that will educate those who didn't know the singer, and enlighten some of us who knew a little, but not the whole story of Washington's tumultuous life. Also adding to the performance by both Scott-Hadley and supporting actress Felicia V. Loud (who plays Dinah's mother, her best friend, and a waitress Dinah 'liberates' from the racist boss at the hotel where Dinah is to perform), is the snazzy back up band accompanying the singing. A genuine and moving experience, Dinah Was is one not to miss. For tickets and times, call 206-386-1177, or go to www.brownpapertickets.com.


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