We had the good fortune of connecting with Dina Morrone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dina, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
The thing that makes me happy is to see the smiling faces of audience members and to hear their laughter when I am up on stage entertaining them and doing what I love to do. To make them laugh or move them with my words and performance puts a huge smile on my face, warms my heart, and reminds me that everything it took for me to get there was so worth it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career. What can you share with our community?
I am a playwright/writer, performer, voiceover artist, and a contributing writer/editor for The Eden Magazine (social conscious, environment friendly, mental and physical well-being, and respect for all sentient beings). I’m passionate about all these areas of my career. When I first moved to LA from Rome, Italy, where I had worked as an actress/tv host/voiceover artist, I had to start from scratch. It was not easy. I am a blonde-blue eyed Italian. In Hollywood, there is no work for a blonde, blue-eyed Italian. That’s because, in Hollywood, Italian women are supposed to look like Sofia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, brunette and voluptuous, and I don’t look like that. After several challenging years of rejection, feeling I didn’t fit in, being told to dye my hair, cut it short, change my name so it didn’t sound Italian, and to stop telling people I was Italian/Canadian, I decided to change direction. I threw myself into writing my own short stories. From doing that, my award-winning solo show, THE ITALIAN IN ME, based on my time working in Rome and my encounter with the Maestro, Federico Fellini, was born. I never looked back once I started performing my own words. It’s been an incredible journey. I get to jump into all the characters in my piece, take people to Rome, tell this hilarious story, and hear audiences roar with laughter. It’s the most incredible high to know that your words move people, make them laugh, entertain, and take them away from their problems for 90 minutes. My 12 person play MOOSE ON THE LOOSE, a comedy about an Italian family and a Canadian moose, had its world premiere in Los Angeles and was picked up by several Canadian Theatres. Comedy legend Mel Brooks said of my play, “I cannot tell a lie, MOOSE ON THE LOOSE is really funning and surprisingly moving.” The show was scheduled for a reboot this October 2020 but will have to wait until it is safe to do so. I have been working as a voiceover artist for many years. I love every minute of my time in front of a mic. I work as an announcer at awards shows, I do commercials, video games, animation, ADR/Looping in film and tv. And because I am fluent in Italian, I also work doing Italian voiceover in movies that shoot in Italy. For the past six years I have been the executive editor and a contributing writer for The Eden Magazine. It gives me immense pleasure to interview fascinating people from all over the world, learn about their causes, and share their stories. I also write editorial pieces about topical subjects. I have learned many lessons along the way. The most important thing is that if you have a voice and words that are busting to get out of you, then let them out! Create your own work. Don’t wait for someone else to give you the words to say. Tell your own story! And that’s what I have been doing for many years now through my writing.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
People who come to LA think LA is mobs of rich, glamorous people and movie stars roaming the streets or hanging out on the beach in Malibu. I make sure when people come to visit that I get to show them the REAL LA. All of it. I go all over to give them a sense of the various neighborhoods and to let them see what LA really is and what it has to offer. My go-to places. 1. Since everyone wants to see the Hollywood sign, I take them there and then drive down to Lake Hollywood. 2. The Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hotel. It’s the history of the place that I like to share with my friends. It’s a Classic. Old Hollywood. Even just to have a McCarthy salad and a glass of wine, and then take a walk around the grounds of the hotel. 3. Downtown. I drive around all over downtown to show them how it has all changed with the new buildings, restaurants, cafes, stores, and vibe. There are a lot of beautiful buildings downtown, with some incredible architecture that I like to admire and point out to those visiting! I love it there. So many great places to discover. I don’t know where to begin. I park the car and walk around. 4. We might end up at Bottega Louie. They have great coffee and pastries. We might grab an appetizer in the bar area. Or go to the ACE Hotel. Or the Nomad Hotel. Or… 5. We drive by the Staples Center. I have to show them that iconic building where so much magic happens, whether it be sports or music. It’s the home of the LAKERS and KINGS! LA Champions! And then visit LA Live. 6. Drive by Dodger Stadium. Home of LA Dodgers Champions! And then go to Union Station and show them the amazing art deco of the train station. It sounds strange to take someone to a train station but the lobby area is really beautiful. On the way back from downtown, we will head to Silver Lake and drive through the wonderful neighborhoods. 7. Cuisine – I will stop at another classic OLD LA restaurant, Musso and Frank, made popular again by Quentin Tarantino’s movie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” They make the best Martini’s, and the restaurant makes you feel like you are back in the days of old Hollywood. And the bonus is your guests get to see the Stars outside on the Hollywood walk of fame. We will then take a walk a little further down Hollywood Blvd. to see where the Oscars are held. 8. At some point during the week, if they are into Hotdogs… LOL, I will drive to PINK’S on Labrea. It’s a classic LA Fast-Food stand! 9. The Grove/Farmers Market. As far as malls go, it is a lovely place to go where it does not feel like a mall. 10. I will take a drive to Manhattan Beach and walk around near the beach or on the sidewalks where all the little shops are located. There are so many great places to eat. I have been to Rock n Fish for lunch on several occasions (casual) because it is close to the beach, and it has great crab cakes, and we stay for the sunset. 11. Walk around the streets of Beverly Hills, up and down the sidewalks, just to let my guests get a sense of the place. If we need to stop for a coffee, there is a place called Euro cafe’ – it is hidden off the street in this adorable courtyard, which feels like Europe. You order inside and sit outside. It’s tucked away on Canon south of Little Santa Monica Blvd. Or if they are hungry, we go to the HONOR Bar south of Wilshire for a great burger or just the fries, or next door at South Beverly Grill for some fish! 12. Magic Castle – is an LA landmark. Not everyone is into magic, but if they are, the whole experience is so much fun. 13. Theatre. I LOVE theatre, so I always find a way to bring my guests to see at least one live show. Usually, in the bigger venues like Pantages, Ahmanson, Wallis, or a smaller venue like Theater West, or I bring them to a comedy show! So much great comedy in LA. It is a must. I usually go to the IMPROV! Or Comedy store. 14. I will take a drive up the coast towards Malibu and go as far as Zuma Beach, and then turn around. Maybe drive through Topanga Canyon! It’s all so beautiful. 15. I will go to Shutters hotel by the beach, have a bite, and then walk towards the Pier. If my guests are hungry, we go to the Water Grill on Ocean Ave. The seafood is really good! 16. Sometimes I do voice-over work on the studio lot, and so I might take them to the backlot to see where movies are made. 17. I am NOT into theme parks, but if my friends ask, I will take them to Universal Studios. 18. For a CLASSIC, very old school diner, I might take them to Apple Pan on Pico Blvd. 19. The rooftop of the Waldorf Astoria! If you can get up there, it’s worth it just to go see the view! 20. I am into all kinds of food from different cultures. One of the beautiful things about LA is that you can eat authentic traditional food from all over the world. I try to bring my friends to places that are ethnic dining experiences: El Salvadorian, Mexican, Indian, Persian, Peruvian, Italian, real Chinese, amazing Sushi places, etc. And so much more! In other words, I really get around when I have guests in town.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my husband, Stephen Rivkin. Stephen has been so supportive of me, my work, and my passion for the Arts. He encouraged me to get my words/stories/plays/work up on stage when I didn’t believe I could do it. I was scared and nervous, knowing that I would be putting myself out there for everyone to judge. It was frightening. I kept asking myself, is this, what I am doing, how I am doing it, and what I am writing, any good? Is anyone going to want to see it? Will they like it? But Stephen believed in me, my work, and told me I could do it. I will be forever grateful to him for that. Also, my parents deserve a lot of credit. They have been through thick and thin with me. When good things happen professionally, they are always so proud of me. They love me, unconditionally. And have sacrificed a lot for me and my choices. Also, credit to my theater company, Theatre West, for giving me an artistic home to create, workshop, perform and grow.
Linkedin: Dina Morrone
Facebook: Dina Morrone
Other: Website for my full-length play: Moose On The Loose – www.themooseplay.com – The magazine where I am a contributing writer/editor, https://theedenmagazine.com
Picture on Vespa – Kate Younger Peter Zachary Matt Jevne Stephen Rivkin Ed Kreiger Randy Tarango Tony Morrone (Poster, no credit) Kate Younger