And I Am Telling You: Frenchie Davis Stars in West Coast Dreamgirls in Early 2004

News   And I Am Telling You: Frenchie Davis Stars in West Coast Dreamgirls in Early 2004 Frenchie Davis, the zaftig diva with the bigger-than-life voice, bounced from TV's "American Idol" earlier this year, will play spurned Motown singer Effie White in a West Coast staging of the musical, Dreamgirls, co-produced by California Musical Theatre, American Musical Theatre of San Jose and 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.
Frenchie Davis in Rent.
Frenchie Davis in Rent. Photo by Joan Marcus

A spokesperson for 5th Avenue Theatre said rehearsals begin Dec. 15 toward the show's debut Jan. 9-25, 2004, in San Jose. Davis is currently performing as the "Seasons of Love" singer in Broadway's Rent and continues her musical thatre studies.

Effie, who is bumped from the Supremes-like group in the fictional Motown fable, was famously cut from the television amateur contest in February 2003 for her association with an adult website. As Effie reinvents herself in the show, so did Frenchie Davis: Singing offers poured in, and Rent was one of several opportunities she grabbed at. It was thought that Davis (whose cropped blonde hair is instantly recognizable) was a strong contender for the "Idol" win before she was axed.

The 1981-82 hit, Dreamgirls, was created by director-choreographer Michael Bennett and composer Henry Krieger and lyricist by Tom Eyen.

For the new staging of Dreamgirls, Brenda Braxton is the choreographer, Mark S. Hoebee is the director and Tom Sturge will be the lighting designer.

"We will be recreating the look of Dreamgirls during its original run on Broadway by using costumes designed by Theoni V. Aldredge and set design by Robin Wagner," Jennifer Rice of 5th Avenue Theatre told Playbill On-Line. Full casting will be announced shortly. Performances play California Musical Theatre in Sacramento Jan. 28-Feb. 8, 2004, and 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle Feb. 10-29, 2004.

For more information, visit 5thAvenueTheatre.org, American Musical Theatre of San Jose or CaliforniaMusicalTheatre.com.

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Originally from Los Angeles, Davis is currently a senior at Howard University majoring in musical theatre. In addition to numerous university productions including Ain't Misbehavin', Timbuktu!, and a musical revue, Black Broadway, Davis has performed professionally in German productions of Little Shop of Horrors and Jesus Christ Superstar. She was selected as one of the semi-finalists on "American Idol" in January and quickly became an audience favorite. Her performances of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (the famous aria from Dreamgirls) and "Band of Gold" on the show are remembered by fans.

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