"Dreamgirls" Excerpts Presented at Cannes

News   "Dreamgirls" Excerpts Presented at Cannes Twenty minutes of footage from the forthcoming movie musical "Dreamgirls" — based on the Broadway musical of the same name — were presented May 19 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Director-screenwriter Bill Condon, who also penned the screenplay for the Academy Award-winning "Chicago" film, introduced the new movie musical to a room packed with movie professionals and reporters, according to Variety.

Condon said he was initially hesitant about screening part of the film at Cannes until he remembered the Festival's history of showcasing movie musicals. "We in making this movie," Condon said, "all of us inspired to be part of the tradition of classic Hollywood musicals, Stanley Donen movies, George Cukor movies and Vincente Minnelli movies, and those movies were first taken seriously in this country and at this festival."

"Dreamgirls, " which is set to open Dec. 21, stars Jennifer Hudson as Effie, Beyoncé Knowles as Deena Jones, Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson, Jamie Fox as Curtis Taylor Jr., Eddie Murphy as James "Thunder Early" and Danny Glover as Marty. Director Condon also wrote the film's screenplay based on the late Tom Eyen's book. The film employs most of the original score by Eyen and Henry Krieger.

“Dreamgirls,” according to the film's official website, “follows the rise of a trio of women — Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) — who have formed a promising girl group called The Dreamettes. At a talent competition, they are discovered by an ambitious manager named Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx), who offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the back-up singers for headliner James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Curtis gradually takes control of the girls' look and sound, eventually giving them their own shot in the spotlight as The Dreams. The spotlight, however, begins to narrow in on Deena, finally pushing back the less attractive Effie out altogether. Though the Dreams become a crossover phenomenon, they soon realize that the cost of fame and fortune may be higher than they ever imagined.”

The musical Dreamgirls, which concerns the rise of a Supremes-like singing group amid a flurry of infighting, began previews at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on Dec. 9, 1981 and officially opened Dec. 20, playing 1,521 performances before closing Aug. 11, 1985. The original cast featured Obba Babatundé, Cleavant Derricks, Loretta Devine, Ben Harney, Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Deborah Burrell. The show lost the Tony for Best Musical to Maury Yeston's Nine. A 1987 revival at the Ambassador Theatre starred Lillias White, Alisa Gyse, Kevyn Morrow, Weyman Thompson and Arnetia Walker. Dreamgirls song titles include "One Night Only," "I Am Changing," "When I First Saw You," "Family" and Effie's first-act show stopper, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."