Belle's Domain
Starlight Express
Dinah, the Dining Car.
Ahhh, sweet little Dinah, loving and devoted to her Engine. Greaseball treats her badly, but she can't help loving that man... She's the perfect southern diner waitress, bright and bubbly, not so bright but so well-meaning. At the start of the show, Dinah and Greaseball are in a relationship, she is possessive of him at the beginning of Pumping Iron when she says "Back off girls, he's Mine!". However at the end of the first race, Dinah complains about Greaseball's cheating, so he dumps her without a second thought, leaving her alone and crying. CB sings "There's Me" to her to comfort her, telling her she's not alone, she has a friend... After The Rap, Greaseball publically takes Pearl as his race partner, leaving Dinah distraught, and she tells the other girls why in "UNCOUPLED". After "Girls' Rolling Stock", where Buffy, Ashley (and originally Belle) give her confidence to continue, Dinah accepts the invitation to race with Electra. "But if Greaseball changes his mind...." After Greaseball, Electra and Caboose crash, Dinah sees him broken and rushes to comfort him, and when he says "S.O.R.R.R.Y", how can she not take him back?

Older versions of the show make reference to Greaseball beating Dinah, he certainly treats her like dirt. Greaseball and Dinah's relationship is very unhealthy, yet she just can't break away from him, she loves him too much. While it's very sweet, it's also worrying that it seems "Right" for Dinah to go back to Greaseball after the way he's treated her. One could say it was a poor role model to be portraying onstage... but if you're analysing Starlight Express to that extent, then it's plausible to take it one step further and say that while their relationship is unhealthy and a poor example, it is also very much an accurate reflection of real life relationships, realism and depth of the characters onstage. Or then again, they're singing, dancing trains.

Dinah is probably the most popular character with the fans, she's certainly the most frequently made costume. Her blue and white check represents the tablecloth in a diner. she has folded napkins on her bodice, an apron over her skirt. The US/UK tour costume even has little plates on the panels of her skirt! Her costume is usually quite revealing- low neckline revealing a lot of cleavage, from the Vegas show in the mid-90s she also got a split wrap-around skirt. In london she had a full-circle skirt before it became wraparound, which added to the tablecloth appearance. In Bochum/other productions, her skirt is made of panels over a stiff pleated petticoat with a decorative trim which shows below her skirt hem. She has gone through a huge range of hairstyles, being brunette originally, before becoming blonde for the Broadway production. It must be said, Blonde suits her very well... She has had some very short cuts, long dark ponytail, mad perms, but her classic look is a blonde flick-out bob with curls.

As a costumier, I have a big issue with the UK tour version of Dinah's costume. Dinah is a sweet, innocent, ditzy girl, totally obedient to her very controlling boyfriend. Her costume design for the tour, however, lacking leggings and with a leotard cut so high on the pelvis, is so tarty, the design very clearly originated as a Vegas showgirl. Her exposed legs, broken up by kneepads and the slinkies, look round and chubby. As her arms are completely covered, she appears top-heavy and out of proportion. The provocative clothing, combined with the "modern" choreography, is far too much for a family show! Also, the 2004/05 UK tour costume is very poorly made (see below), specifically over her bust. The pleated napkins are meant to cover her bust, yet they sit so far down that they expose not only the unfinished hem of the leotard, but also her skintone support above. This is not only noticable in photographs, it is obvious even from the balcony in the theatre! The 2006 version has cleared up the most glaring construction faults, but no change to the design, unfortunately. It's just not right for the character!


Dawn Marie Church, Las Vegas 1993 UK Tour 2004/5 - Tanya Robb UK Tour 2006 - Lucy-Jane Adcock UK Tour 2007 - Lucy-Jane Adcock Torum Heng, NZ Tour 2009

Debbie Wake Debbie Wake


Natalie Howard, Bochum 1988
Darlene Casanova, Bochum 1990
Natalie Howard, Bochum 1993

Dinah in the Press

1984 press photo call 1984 press photo call 1991London
Emma Dodd as Dinah, uk tour 2004 advert
Bochum Bochum

Backstage Dinah
Debbie Wake 1994 - Tara Wilkinson as Dinah, Melissa Gibson as Pearl Tara Wilkinson as Dinah
Caron Cardelle Debbie Spellman Sascha Kane
Debbie Spellman with Claudia Bradley as Pearl Debbie Spellman Anna Jane Casey
Natalie Powers Chellie Michaels Chellie Michaels
Helen Latham Helen Latham Helen Latham
Helen Latham Helen Latham Helen Latham
Helen Latham with Jo Gibb as Pearl Leyla Pelligrini Leyla Pelligrini
Bochum
Jodie Jackson Jodie Jackson Jodie Jackson

Link to Tower Records Gallery
During the summer of 2001, there was a promotional appearance of Dinah and Electra at Tower Records, Piccadilly Circus. I had the opportunity to take lots of photos of Dinah's costume!

Onstage Dinah
London
Frances Ruffelle, 1984 Frances Ruffelle, 1984 Frances Ruffelle, 1984
Frances Ruffelle, 1984 Frances Ruffelle, 1984 mid-80s Dinah
mid-80s Dinah - no wigs? mid-80s Dinah - interesting hair mid-80s Dinah with ponytail
mid-80s Dinah, and sleepers in Pumping Iron 1992 - Caron Cardelle 1992 - Caron Cardelle
1992 - Caron Cardelle 1992 - Caron Cardelle 1992 - Caron Cardelle
1992 - Caron Cardelle 1992 - Caron Cardelle 1994 - Caron Cardelle
1995 - Deborah Spellman 1996 - Anna Jane Casey 1997 - Natalie Powers
1998 - Gail Easdale 1998 - Gail Easdale 1998 - Gail Easdale
1999 - Irene Warren 2000 - Leyla Pelligrini 2001 - Helen Latham
Japan/Australia Tours
1987, 1990
Debbie Wake Debbie Wake Japan/Australia Tour 1987, Debbie Wake
Japan/Australia Tour 1987, Debbie Wake Japan/Australia Tour 1987, Debbie Wake Japan/Australia Tour 1987, Debbie Wake
Japan/Australia Tour 1987, Debbie Wake Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake
Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake
Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake Japan Tour 1990, Debbie Wake
US Productions
Jane Krakowski's feet Broadway 1987 - Jane Krakowski Broadway 1987 - Jane Krakowski
Broadway 1987 - Jane Krakowski Broadway 1987 - Jane Krakowski Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski Jane Krakowski
US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church
US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church US Tour 1989 - Dawn Marie Church
Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church
Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church Las Vegas 1993 - Dawn Marie Church
2003 - Katie O'Toole 2003 - Katie O'Toole 2003 - Katie O'Toole
2003 - Katie O'Toole 2003 - Katie O'Toole 2003 - Katie O'Toole
UK Tour
2004 - Tanya Robb 2004 - Tanya Robb 2004 - Tanya Robb
UK Tour 2006 - Lucy-Jane Adcock UK Tour 2006 - Lucy-Jane Adcock UK Tour 2006 - Lucy-Jane Adcock
UK Tour 2007 - Lucy-Jane Adcock UK Tour 2007 - Lucy-Jane Adcock UK Tour 2007 - Lucy-Jane Adcock

New Zealand Tour
Torum Heng, NZ Tour 2009 Torum Heng, NZ Tour 2009 Torum Heng, NZ Tour 2009
Bochum
1988 - Natalie Howard 1988 - Natalie Howard 1988 - Natalie Howard
1988 - Natalie Howard 1988 - Natalie Howard 1988 - Natalie Howard
1989 - Laurie Sheppard 1989 - Laurie Sheppard 1989 - Laurie Sheppard
1989 - Laurie Sheppard 1989 - Laurie Sheppard 1992 - Natalie Howard
1994 1994 1997 - Rachel Slater
1997 - Rachel Slater 1997 - Rachel Slater 1997 - Rachel Slater
1997 - Rachel Slater 1997 - Rachel Slater 1997 - Rachel Slater
1998 - Clarissa Grace Quinlan 1998 - Clarissa Grace Quinlan 1998 - Clarissa Grace Quinlan
1998 - Clarissa Grace Quinlan 2000 - Rachel Wooding 2000 - Rachel Wooding
2000 - Rachel Wooding 2000 - Rachel Wooding 2002 - Kelly O'Brien
2002 - Kelly O'Brien 2004 - Suzy Bastone 2004 - Suzy Bastone
2004 - Suzy Bastone 2005 - Amanda Coutts 2005 - Amanda Coutts
2005 - Amanda Coutts 2005 - Amanda Coutts 2005 - Amanda Coutts
2005 - Amanda Coutts 2005 - Amanda Coutts 2006 - Katie Stewart
2006 - Katie Stewart 2006 - Katie Stewart 2006 - Katie Stewart
2007 - Leanne Garretty 2008 - Katy Hards. don't ask. 2008 - Katy Hards

Dinah Fans