People You Need to Know Magazine Spotlight: Alretha Thomas ~ Author


Alretha Thomas, the author of Dancing Her Dreams Away, dreamed of being the next Barbara Walters while majoring in journalism at USC. However, upon graduating, she realized her interest in journalism was not heartfelt. She then ventured into acting, which led to an NAACP Theatre Award Nomination (1993) for best actress. However, it was her church that helped her discover her true passion in life through its Liturgical Fine Arts Department where Alretha began writing a series of plays including the NAACP Theatre Award winning play, Civil Rites (2004) and A Shrine to Junior (2002) that was presented at the Stella Adler Theatre and was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award as well.

Alretha’s play, Grandpa’s Truth (2006) ran at the Inglewood Playhouse in Inglewood, California, and notables like Mayor Roosevelt Dorn and music legends Freda Payne and Stevie Wonder had critical acclaim for Grandpa’s Truth. Additionally, the play was covered by Channel 5 Entertainment Reporter Sam Rubin. In 2007, her play, Sacrificing Simone, was called an “Inspirational crowd-pleaser” by the Los Angeles Times and in 2009 her ground breaking play, One, Woman Two Lives, which starred Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by Denise Dowse, was a favorite among audiences and critics. In between plays, Alretha’s first novel Daughter Denied was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and books clubs across the country. Dancing Her Dreams Away is her second book.

Shelia King, a fun-loving grandma’s girl, needs to keep her days open for auditions in the hope of landing a role that will catapult her to stardom. With the threat of eviction looming, she scrambles to find a night job and convinces the owner of a hostess club to hire her. Now she’s a dance-partner-for-hire by night and struggling thespian by day. When her agent pitches a topless role, fearing her grandmother’s disapproval, Shelia declines. But after setbacks and considerable thought, she agrees to meet the producer.

Gregory Livingston III is rich, suave, ridiculously fine, and the panacea for Shelia’s career woes. At first sight, she shapes plans to win the role and his heart. She gets both and works hard to give an Oscar worthy performance. However, when the movie wraps, nothing can prepare her for the startling revelations about Greg’s past and the aftermath of a dream gone awry.


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