*Dayna Jarae Dantzler did a beautiful job as Nabulungi. She played the role with alot of emotion and her voice rang throughout the theatre.
*Honorable mention goes to...Dayna Jarae Dantzler as Nabulungi, whose gorgeous rendition of "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" will have you pining for that happy and perfect place where the roofs are thatched with gold and flies don't bite your eyeballs.
--Deborah Kennedy for The Oregonian/OregonLive
*Understudy Dayna Jarae Dantzler aquits herself well as the village girl Nabulungi, especially during Baptize Me, the bawdy, innuendo-filled duet with Holmes.
*As Nabulungi, the central female among the Ugandans, Dayna Jarae Dantzler is charming...
--Mark E. Leib
*Making the strongest impression of all, however, is Dayna Jarae Dantzler as the voice of the ever-growing plant. Saying that a woman has been chosen to sing the role may seem that the surprise has been spoiled after all. Not quite. This version of "Little Shop of Horrors" offers another bolt from the blue-or shall we say green?
*LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS-actress Dayna Dantzler...emerges from an oversized flytrap-pod to slink about on stage, interact with the other characters, and take this "Shop" into a dimention hitherto undreamt of...this leafy femme fatale, lending her R&B diva inflections to songs that were once belted out by rubbery stage props, adds a seductive dance to the process of Audrey II's process of negotiation for new sources of nurishment.
*HELLO MY NAME IS BILLY- performers portray all of the characters and also play a variety of musical instruments. These five are all quality with particular attention due to show-stealer, Dayna Jarae Dantzler--she is dynamo and rises to all of the eccentric personas thrown her way. Her scenes as an over-the-top drag performer at the now-closed Roxy, Betsey Ross, are laugh out loud.
*The amazingly gifted cast is led by the luminous Dayna Jarae Dantzler as the iconic Celie...giving Nashville audiences yet another opportunity to see her multi-dimensional performance...Dantzler displays an impressive acting and vocal range while completely ingratiating herself to her rapt admirers.
*Dayna Jarae Dantzler, the shows Celie, breaks through those obstacles to blaze like the finale of a fireworks show when she finally unsheathes her splendid voice says a lot about her potential star power...Shes dazzling in the second to the last number, Im Here.
*It is Dantzler, because she has created such a sensitive and realisic protrait of the girl who begins with nothing and ends up independant and knowing herself and her limits, who makes this "Color Purple" so intensely moving.
*Celie (Dayna Jarae Dantzler) pulls at your heartstrings the entire show, you feel so much for her, pity, then anger, then pride and joy. Dantzler's voice fills the entire theatre, envelopes you, and draws you in. She's mesmerizing.
*...But the show belongs to Dayna Jarae Dantzler as Celie. Dantzlers portrayal of Celie begins with a 14-year-old pregnant girl chasing after her sister and father. Her shoulders are up, her posture that of a whipped dog. As Celie gains strength and finds love, her shoulders finally relax; the voice deepens and audiences see the physical manifestation of love in the womans body language. She manages to move as a twittery 14-year-old and then shuffle as a beaten down 50-year-old without resorting to cliché. Her voice changes with age from the chirpy bell tones of childhood to the scratch of adult pain. Dantzler also can wrestle down a female empowerment song such as Im Here and bring the audience to tears. In an ensemble of very strong performers, Dantzler commands the stage.
*the exquisitely voiced Dayna Jarae Dantzler...beautiful performance as Celie is clearly the production's best and most intriguing, as she takes her character from 14-years-old to her mid-50s with grace, style, wit and grit. Her musical performance is oustanding, perhaps rendering her dramatic performance all the more moving and astonishing in its range.
*Yet nothing in the dramatic side of the musical compares with the superb acting of Dantzler who not only sang well but also portrayed her Celie so true to life that made the audience unaware that they were watching a performance. As an actress, Dantzler portrayed in the musical her broad range of emotions with the agility of a concert pianist playing the piano keys in a concerto's piece.
*Tuesday at DeVos Performance Hall, the audience of about 1,200 jumped up for a standing ovation and well-deserved hoots and whistles for leading actress Dayna Dantzler...The little spitfire of an actress gave a most convincing performance and commanded the stage with a strong soprano that was able to rise above the entire cast in the finale.
*Dayna Jarae Dantzler, as Celie, sings pure and strong, from the heart, giving you goose bumps when she finally comes into her own with the triumphant 'Im Here'. Contrast that with the sweet humility she projects as she croons to her newborn, 'Somebody Gonna Love You', and you get an idea of her dramatic range as an actress.
*This national tour brings a game, thoroughly professional cast to San Diego, led by Dayna Jarae Dantzler as Celie, a role played by Whoopi Goldberg in Spielberg's movie. Dantzler succeeds in looking both 14 (at the outset of the musical) and well beyond middle age (in the second act). She conveys the maturation in her vocalizations, her movements, and in expressions that waver between weary resignation and rolling anger -- at herself, at her cruel husband, even at God.
*Dayna Jarae Dantzler is quite believable as Celie, inspiring the audience to empathize and root whole-heartedly for her character. When she finally stands up for herself and sings her show-stopping, self-affirmation "I'm Here", she's unquestionably the heroine.
*Dantzlers charismatic characterization and show-stopping solo on Im Here are all by themselves worth the price of admission.
--Robert W. McDowell
*Dayna Dantzler's vocals soared as Celie, the brutalized central character whose story of abuse and perseverance propels the show. Taunted through the show as being ugly, her character's most rousing song, "I'm Here," hit exactly the right notes on opening night as she emphatically declared her beauty -- much to the delight of the audience.