Casting is now complete for the National Black Arts Festival's production of Dreamgirls, which stars Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday. Joining Holliday — who will reprise for performance as up-n-coming singer Effie White — in the Atlanta, Georgia, mounting of the classic Henry Krieger Tom Eyen-Michael Bennett musical are Ramona Keller (Lorrell Robinson), Alisa Gyse (Deena Jones), Norm Lewis (Curtis), Eugene Fleming (James Thunder Early), Joe Wilson Jr. (C.C. White) and Ginai Curti (Michelle). The chorus comprises Sondra Bonitto, Conisha Wade, Tracee Beazer, Nikki Renee Daniels, Stacey Harris, Manoly Farrell, Marvin Thornton, Ivory McKay, Andravy, Gary Kilmer, Paul Castree and Richard E. Waits.
Robert Clater will direct and Lesia Kaye will choreograph this production of Dreamgirls, the Tony-nominated musical which debuted on Broadway in 1981 and made a star out of a 21-year-old Holliday. The National Black Arts Festival will present the musical in collaboration with Theater of the Stars at the Fox Theatre from July 19 through July 27.
A native of Houston, Texas, Jennifer Holliday made her professional New York theatre debut in 1980 in the revival of Your Arms Too Short to Box With God. That role led to her Tony-winning performance in Dreamgirls, and her rendition of that show's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" earned the singer-actress her first Grammy Award. She has also appeared on Broadway in the revivals of Grease! and Chicago, and her television credits include "Ellen," "Touched By an Angel" and a recurring role on "Ally McBeal." Holliday earned another Grammy Award for her recording of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday."
Tickets for Dreamgirls are priced between $16 and $60. Go to www.nbaf.org for more information.
—By Andrew Gans