Robert Longbottom (Side Show, Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie) directed and co-choreographed the production with Emmy Award-winning hop-hop choreographer Shayne Sparks. Dreamgirls debuted at the Apollo Nov. 7, 2009, and played an extended New York run through Dec. 12, 2009, prior to embarking on a national tour.
Despite the press and brand-name status generated from the Academy Award-nominated film, the Motown fairy tale about an unknown girl group that is catapulted to international stardom failed to ignite box office sales on the road. Dates were cancelled at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre last summer and various tour stops were abbreviated.
Dreamgirls will shutter in Detroit Dec. 26, one week prior to its original closing date of Jan. 2, 2011. The last stop on the tour is a fitting farewell for the musical, which centers its plot around Detroit and the creation of the Motown sound.
The latest stage incarnation of Dreamgirls, which first played a test run in Seoul with an all-Korean cast in the winter of 2009, includes the 2006 film's song "Listen," rewritten by Krieger and Willie Reale. In the current production, the song has been reconceived as a duet for Effie and Deena. Krieger and Reale also penned a new opening sequence for the second act, entitled "What Love Can Do."
Tony Award winner Robin Wagner, who created the scenic designs for the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, rendered new designs for the production, which incorporated moveable LCD screens that reinforced the cinematic qualities of the staging. The design team also boasts Tony winners William Ivey Long (costume design) and Ken Billington (lighting design), and Acme Sound Partners (sound design), with media design by Howard Werner for Lightswitch.
Moya Angela stars as Effie White alongside Syesha Mercado as Deena Jones, Adrienne Warren as Lorrell Robinson and Margaret Hoffman as Michelle Morris. Principal casting also includes Chaz Lamar Shepherd as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Chester Gregory as James "Thunder" Early, Trevon Davis as C.C. White and Milton Craig Nealy as Marty Madison.
Current tour dates include:
Indianapolis, IN (Nov. 2-7 at the Murat Theatre)
Charlotte, NC (Nov. 9-14 at the Belk Theatre)
Tampa, FL (Nov. 16-21 at the Straz Center)
West Palm Beach, FL (Nov. 23-28 at the Kravis Center)
Memphis, TN (Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at the Orpheum Theatre)
Buffalo, NY (Dec. 14-19 at Shea's PAC)
Detroit, MI (Dec. 21-26 at the Fox Theatre)