Thursday, April 16, 2015


 Here is a rousing salute to legendary black music producer, John Dolphin, who challenged the segregated music business by introducing black music to whites. Back in the 1950’s Dolphin’s of Hollywood’ in South Central L.A. was perhaps the most famous record shop in the country, with a DJ spinning records, singers recording, radio broadcasts and stars dropping in.

Open 24/7, dancing kids would pack Dolphin’s record shop on Central Avenue day and night, bringing the races happily together and when hassled by the authorities Dolphin fought back and won. All of this is told in a series of wonderfully energetic songs and dances, by a multi-talented cast, that take us through a decade of struggle, romance, triumph, even tragedy. 

Stu James as John Dolphin captures the mans dynamic yet conflicted spirit; Jade Johnson as his wife Ruth goes believably from girlhood to womanhood; Eric B. Anthony is poignant as wanna-be singer Percy Ivy; Godfrey Moye is a believable Sam Cooke (You Send Me); Nic Olsen is a charmer as DJ ‘Huggy Boy’ Hugg; John Devereaux is the principled Jesse Belvin (Earth Angel), and Rahsaan Patterson is a steady presence as LA Sentinel publisher Leon Washington.

Dazzling in multiple roles are Brooke Brewer, Richie Ferris, Jenna Gillespie, Franklin Grace, Nic Hodges, Philip Dean Lightstone, Jake Novak, James Simenc, Matthew Sims, Jr., Sha’Leah Nikole Stubblefield and Katherine Washington. Original songs by Andy Cooper match well with hit songs that were launched by Dolphin in his store. Book by Matt Donnelly and loyal grandson Jamelle Dolphin.

Vigorous direction by Denise Dowse, dynamic choreography by Cassie Crump, and lively musical direction by Stephan Terry. Perfect ‘50’s costumes by Mylette Nora.

At the Lillian Theatre, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood, through May 17. For tickets: 323-960-4443 or

Photos by Ed Krieger.
Also reviewed in the May issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

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