Longbottom Will Direct Dreamgirls National Tour

News   Longbottom Will Direct Dreamgirls National Tour Robert Longbottom, who received a 2003 Best Choreography Tony Award nomination for his work on the revival of Flower Drum Song, will direct and choreograph the forthcoming national tour of Dreamgirls.
Carnival! director and choreographer Robert Longbottom.
Carnival! director and choreographer Robert Longbottom. Photo by Joan Marcus

The tour of the acclaimed musical, which also spawned a hit film, will launch in November 2009, according to a casting notice. Shane Sparks will co-choreograph the production with music direction by Zane Mark.

Producers are Vienna Waits Productions, LLC and John Breglio.

All major roles, the casting notice states, are up for grabs, including Effie White; Curtis Taylor, Jr.; Deena Jones; Lorrell Robinson; James "Thunder" Early; C.C. White; Marty; and Michelle Morris.

Dreamgirls features music by Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by the late Tom Eyen. The late Michael Bennett directed and choreographed the original Broadway production; Bennett won a Tony for the show's choreography.

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, 1981, 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. Although the show lost the Tony for Best Musical to Maury Yeston's Nine, it did win awards for Best Lighting Design, Choreography, Book of a Musical, Actor in a Musical (Harney), Featured Actor in a Musical (Derricks) and Actress in a Musical (Holliday). A 1987 revival at the Ambassador Theatre starred Lillias White, Alisa Gyse, Kevyn Morrow, Weyman Thompson and Arnetia Walker. Directed by Bill Condon, the "Dreamgirls" film 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 Bill 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 as well as four new tunes: "Love You I Do" (for Effie), "Listen" (for Deena), "Patience" (for James "Thunder" Early) and "Perfect World" (for Teddy Campbell, a child musical sensation rising alongside The Dreams). The film won three Golden Globe Awards (for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy and co-stars Murphy and Hudson) and two Academy Awards (for Hudson and for Sound Mixing).

As a director/choreographer, Robert Longbottom's Broadway credits include Side Show, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Flower Drum Song. He began his career as a performer, appearing in the New York productions of 42nd Street, Little Johnny Jones and Me and My Girl. He recently staged the tour of Disney's On the Record as well as the Kennedy Center's productions of Carnival! and Mister Roberts.