Deborah Starling Pollard is proud to be playing a bar owner in the hilarious Steven-Mitchell penned, “Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me.”
The 90-minute tongue-in-cheek musical comedy, which is debuting in Pittsburgh, tells true stories of actual dating situations. “Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me” takes audiences through all the lows and highs of dating, ending on an empowering note.
It takes place in a bar and centers on four regular American women who are nightly customers in the bar and lament their dating tales of woe at the bar.
As a result, the bar owner imparts sage advice to the women.
“This play is putting an African-American in a role of leadership and that spoke to me,” said Pollard who portrays a bar owner with the sassiness of actress Niecy Nash and the wisdom of someone who has been through the rigors of dating.
“My character gets to pass down advice to the younger women who come to the bar. This subject is a common thread to all ethnicities. It’s about the mistakes we make. The play is a spoof and it allows people not to take things too seriously. If people know better, then they can do better,” continued Pollard who is a playwright and author and artistic director of the Ujamaa Collective. She has served as lead singer for The Flow Band for 14 years.
Mitchell’s inspiration for “Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me,” was his love for the all-girl band, Two Chicks and a Casio—Leah Gray-Mitchell and Marianne Forti—who sang funny, R-Rated songs after leaving their day jobs as baby ballet teachers.
Although the group disbanded in 2001, Mitchell felt that their abandoned music would be a perfect fit for his show.
Some of the songs in the show include: “Sugar Daddy,” “Insta-Boyfreind,” “I’m Not a Stalker (I’m Just Calling You a Lot” and “Walking Cliché.”
“I approached both ‘chicks’ about using their music in a show that I would produce. I created ‘Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me’ by tying their songs together with true-life stories about dating all told in a bar, all told to the bartender. Sometimes the boy is a jerk, sometimes the girl is a jerk,” said Mitchell who was born in Harrisburg, spent two years working in Pittsburgh and who currently works as a ballet pianist in New York City. His arrangements can be heard in the movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons,” and the film “Center Stage.” He also plays piano in the pit of Broadway’s “Mary Poppins.” Most recently, Mitchell served as a company pianist at the American Ballet Theater.
“I wanted the show to be hilarious and I wanted it to open up some conversations. I am not an actor or writer; I am a musician who can tell stories. It’s not a male bashing show, there are a lot of good guys out there and a lot of bad guys out there and the same goes for girls,” Mitchell added.
In addition to Pollard, the play stars Pittsburgh’s Caroline Schneider who portrays Grace and Mary Brodland as Devon, Sydney, Australia native, Georgia Haege as Tina New Yorker, Leah Keele as Penny and Pittsburgh native Camden Williams as the no-speaking bartender.
The show is directed and choreographed by Aubrey Klinger who spent three years as a Point Park student graduating with her B.A. in dance performance.
“This show is more than just phenomenal music and acting. It’s really true, the worst of the worst of dating stories,” Klinger said. “This is my gift back to Pittsburgh. I love this show and I love Pittsburgh.”
“Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me,” had a limited run at Southside’s Rex Theater from Aug. 2-5 with early and late shows.
“I get to have fun with the audience and make sure they enjoy themselves,” Pollard said.
Mitchell has high hopes for the production in the Steel City and beyond.
“I hope that guys feel comfortable seeing it. I want girls to bring their boyfriends. Everyone has crazy moments when dating. I believe in the songs and the show so much. I believe that audiences are going to leave remembering the songs, Mitchell said.