Dreamgirls Tour Continues -- So Does Search For B'way Home

News   Dreamgirls Tour Continues -- So Does Search For B'way Home
 
Assuming a theatre can be found in time, all systems are go and status quo on Dreamgirls a revival of the Henry Krieger/Tom Eyen musical currently on a national tour that began Sept. 30.

Assuming a theatre can be found in time, all systems are go and status quo on Dreamgirls a revival of the Henry Krieger/Tom Eyen musical currently on a national tour that began Sept. 30.

Producers Irving Siders and Marvin Krauss, in association with Mitch Leigh, Albert Nocciolino & James M. Nederlander, expect the show to reach a Nederlander Broadway house the last week in April 1998.

The only potential snag is the shortage of available theatres, which has put the show in a rather difficult holding pattern, since it's playing out of-town dates right up to the last minute. A source close to the production speculates that a show at one of the Nederlander theatres eyed is likely to close in time, but if not, a crucial factor will be when the American Theatre Wing and CBS-TV choose to stage the Tony Awards. The Tonys usually happen the first Sunday in June, unless CBS requests a special dispensation to air a special that night instead, pushing the awards ceremony to the following Sunday. An official announcement on the Tonys isn't made until after the first of the year.

According to the above source, a weeklong extension would be a huge help to the show. If that doesn't happen, or if a theatre doesn't present itself, Dreamgirls may postpone its Broadway plans to the fall and instead play some extra U.S. dates and head off to London for the summer.

A spokesperson at the Richard Kornberg press office declined to comment on these speculations, reaffirming the show's intention to reach Broadway this season. They did say the producers have already received "several offers" to record a CD of the revival. *

The show has already overcome one hurdle. Though originally announced for Effie, Jennifer Holliday will not be in the revival, because (according to production spokesperson Jim Byk), "an agreement couldn't be reached." Instead, Roz White, who received a 1995-96 Helen Hayes Award for her work in Bessie's Blues, stars as Effie. That's the character who sings the show's roof-raising hit, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going."

The show, which has music by Henry (Side Show) Krieger, opened its tour Sept. 30 in Providence, RI.

LaTayna Hall plays Deena, the back-up singer; Kevin-Anthony [sic], a former Grease! Teen Angel, portrays Jimmy "Thunder" Early. Other leads include Kimberly Jajaun (as Michelle, the one who replaces Effie), who was in a recent workshop of a new Sondheim revue at the Roundabout; and Tonya Dixon (as Lorrelle).

Marty is played by Darrin Lamont Byrd (Big Moe in the Canadian tour of Five Guys Named Moe); Gary Vincent plays C.C. White (Effie's brother); Curtis the manager is played by Brian Everett Chandler.

Other cast members include Ronald `Cadet' Bastine, Heidi Blickenstaff, Stephen Campanella, Wydetta Carter, Tome Cousin, Teri Furr, Michael Goddard, Napiera D. Groves, Jim Berkley Harrison, Andi Hopkins, Ron Kellum, Sara Beth Lane, Kyra Little, Janice Lorraine, Erich McMillan McCall, Charles Munn, Stacie Precia, Keenah Reid, Stepp Stewart, Andre Ward, William Wesley, Darius Keith Williams and Mark L. Wright.

"It's a wonderful story, very emotional, and people respond to it," said Byk of Dreamgirls, which features the songs "One Night Only," "I Am Changing," "When I First Saw You" and "Family." Also aboard for the revival are original Dreamgirls designers Robin Wagner (set), Theoni V. Aldredge (costumes), Otts Munderloh (sound) and Tharon Musser (lighting). Keith Levenson serves as musical supervisor. .

Tony Stevens directs and choreograph the show, recreating Michael Bennett's original work. Dreamgirls' book & lyrics (by Tom Eyen) and score (Henry Krieger) have not been changed. Krieger, by the way, is currently represented on Broadway by Side Show.

Here, subject to change, are the upcoming tour dates (as of Nov. 20):

Nov. 11-23 Buell in Denver
Nov 25-30: Civic Center in San Diego, CA
Dec. 2-21: at Wilshire Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
Jan. 5-11, 1998: Hershey Theatre in Hershey, PA
Jan. 13-18, 1998: Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, MD
Jan 20-Feb 15, 1998 in Kennedy Center, Washington DC
Feb. 17-March 1: in Palace Theatre, Cleveland OH
March 3-22: Detroit Opera House, Detroit, MI
March 24-29: Merriam in Philadelphia, PA
March 31-April 5: Devos in Grand Rapids, MI
April 7-12: Music Hall in Tulsa, OK
April 14-19: Shay's Buffalo Theatre in Buffalo, NY
April 21-26: Auditorium in Rochester, NY

Further dates had been originally announced for after April 26, 1998, but they've been cancelled due to the show's Broadway plans.

-- By David Lefkowitz

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