In 1948, a decade before Motown, black businessman and entrepreneur John Dolphin opened his soon-to-be world-famous Dolphin’s of Hollywood record store in South Los Angeles, just off legendary Central Avenue. Bringing this little-known slice of L.A. history to life on stage, the world premiere of “Recorded in Hollywood” opens at the Lillian Theatre on April 11.
Featuring a live on-stage band and a 19-member ensemble, “Recorded in Hollywood,” based on the biography “Recorded in Hollywood: The John Dolphin Story” by Jamelle Dolphin, features a book by Matt Donnelly and Jamelle Dolphin. Jamelle Dolphin was raised in Santa Monica and attended Santa Monica High School.
The score includes 16 original songs by Andy Cooper plus covers of hit songs launched by Dolphin in his store, including Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me,” The Penguins’ “Earth Angel” and “Wheel Of Fortune” by The Hollywood Flames.
Four-time NAACP Best Director recipient Denise Dowse directs; musical direction is by Stephan Terry and choreography is by Cassie Crump.
John Dolphin recorded a host of R&B, blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and even western music talent on a series of labels with evocative names like “Lucky,” “Money,” “Cash” and “Recorded in Hollywood.” The many great artists whose careers he advanced included Sam Cooke, Jesse Belvin, Charles Mingus, Pee Wee Crayton and Major Lance to name a few.
“John started from scratch and evolved into one of the most important figures in the history of American music,” says Jamelle Dolphin, whose biography of his grandfather, inspired by years of colorful stories he heard growing up, was based on extensive research of historical records and hundreds of hours of verbal interviews with family and friends. “When he realized that no one was going to let him open his record store on all-white Hollywood Blvd., he brought Hollywood to Central Avenue. By naming the store ‘Dolphin’s of Hollywood,’ he was telling the world that he was going to stare discrimination in the face and not blink.”
Recorded in Hollywood opens on Saturday, April 11, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 17. There will be two preview performances, on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10, both at 8 p.m. Tickets to all performances are $30 except previews which are $15. The Lillian Theatre is located at 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood, CA 90038 (west of Vine).
For reservations and information, call (323) 960-4443 or go to www.RecordedInHollywood.com.