|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!
Dinah in the Press
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!
|New Zealand Tour|