By Adam Hetrick
13 Jul 2010
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
Director and co-choreographer Robert Longbottom (Side Show, Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie) and Emmy-nominated hip-hop artist Shane Sparks co-choreographed the production that launched at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in November 2009.
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.
Dreamgirls features music by Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tom Eyen (with additional lyrics by Reale). The late Michael Bennett directed and choreographed the original Broadway production (Michael Peters co-choreographed); Bennett and Peters won Tony Awards for the show's choreography.
The current 2010 touring itinerary follows:
Kansas City, MO (July 20-25 at the Starlight Theatre)
Washington, DC (July 28-Aug. 8 at the National Theatre)
Greenville, SC (Aug. 10-15 at the Peace Center)
San Francisco, CA (Aug. 24-Sept. 26 at the Curran Theatre)
Atlanta, GA (Oct. 12-17 at the Fox Theatre)
Nashville, TN (Oct. 26-31 at the Tennessee PAC)
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. 23-26 at the Kravis Center)
Memphis, TN (Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at the Orpheum Theatre)
Buffalo, NY (Dec. 14-19 at Shea's PAC)
Additional tour dates throughout 2010 and 2011 will be announced shortly.
Tony Award winner Robin Wagner, who created the scenic designs for the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, rendered new designs for this production. 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.
Sam Davis serves as musical director for the production that has orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, and vocal arrangements by David Chase and Cleavant Derricks.
Drawing apparent inspiration from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Dreamgirls follows its central trio's beginnings at an amateur-night competition, to their first big break singing back up for a headliner on the road. Their road to success is not without its bumps: When they ultimately nab a headlining deal of their own, one girl's dreams are shattered as she is replaced as the lead of the Dreams.
The latest stage incarnation of Dreamgirls, which first played a test run in Seoul with an all-Korean cast last winter, 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."