PHOTO CALL: Nova Y. Payton, Cedric Neal, Crystal Joy, Sydney James Harcourt Star in DC-Area Dreamgirls

News   PHOTO CALL: Nova Y. Payton, Cedric Neal, Crystal Joy, Sydney James Harcourt Star in DC-Area Dreamgirls
Nova Y. Payton is Effie White, the most turbulent of the Dreamgirls, in the Signature Theatre's holiday-season revival of the 1981 musical, starting Nov. 13 in Arlington, VA. Associate artistic director Matthew Gardiner directs and choreographs the Motown fable by lyricist-librettist Tom Eyen and composer Henry Krieger.

Dreamgirls — about the rise of a fictional Motown girl group called The Dreams, in a time when black music was being co-opted by white producers — plays to Jan. 6, 2013, in Signature's MAX space in the Shirlington Village area of Arlington. The musical won Tony Awards for Book, Choreography (Michael Bennett and Michael Peters), Lighting, Featured Actor, Actress and Actor. It was nominated for Best Score and Best Musical.

Helen Hayes Award winner Payton (of Signature's Hairspray, Xanadu and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) will be joined by Shayla Simmons (as Deena Jones), Memphis tour veteran Crystal Joy (as Lorrell Robinson), David Bazemore (as songwriter C.C. White), Broadway American Idiot and The Lion King veteran Sydney James Harcourt (as Curtis Taylor, Jr., the band's manager), Broadway Porgy and Bess actor Cedric Neal (as R&B star James "Thunder" Early). Rounding out the cast are Kara-Tameika Watkins (as Michelle Morris), Bus Howard (as Marty) and Sean Maurice Lynch (as Wayne), plus ensemble members Jay Adriel, Lauren Du Pree, Michael J. Mainwaring, Gannon O'Brien, Stephawn P. Stephens, Nickolas Vaughan, DeMoya L. Watson and Tamara Young.

The production team includes John Kalbfleisch (music director), Brianne Camp (co-choreographer), Darius Smith (associate music director), Adam Koch (scenic designer), Chris Lee (lighting designer), Frank Labovitz (costume designer) and Matt Rowe (sound designer). For tickets and information, visit


Signature Theatre is the recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award.

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