By Andrew Gans
20 Jan 2006
"Dreamgirls" 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. Condon also wrote the film's screenplay based on the late Tom Eyen's book. The film employs the original score by Eyen and Henry Krieger.
“Dreamgirls,” according to the film's official website, “follows the rise of a trio of women — Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) — who have formed a promising girl group called The Dreamettes. At a talent competition, they are discovered by an ambitious manager named Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx), who offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the back-up singers for headliner James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Curtis gradually takes control of the girls' look and sound, eventually giving them their own shot in the spotlight as The Dreams. The spotlight, however, begins to narrow in on Deena, finally pushing back the less attractive Effie out altogether. Though the Dreams become a crossover phenomenon, they soon realize that the cost of fame and fortune may be higher than they ever imagined.”
The musical 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."