According to the newly launched "Dreamgirls" website, DreamWorks pictures will pay the licensing fees for all amateur productions of the Henry Krieger-Tom Eyen musical during the 2006 calendar year. This one-time offer is available to high schools, colleges and community theatres across the country, although dinner and other professional theatres are not eligible.
The program is being offered, according to the website, with the "goal of introducing a new generation of theatregoers to 'Dreamgirls' in advance of DreamWorks' late 2006 release of the long-awaited screen version of the musical."
The film of "Dreamgirls," which will be directed by Bill Condon, will star Jennifer Hudson as Effie, Beyoncé Knowles as Deena Jones, Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson, Eddie Murphy as James "Thunder Early" and Danny Glover as Marty. Condon also wrote the film's screenplay based on the late Tom Eyen's book.
Dreamgirls, which concerns the rise of a Supremes-like singing group amid a flurry of infighting, debuted at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre on Dec. 9, 1982, 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." For more information visit www.dreamgirls.dreamworks.com.