Dreamgirls National Tour to Premiere at Apollo Theater in 2009

By Adam Hetrick
November 18, 2008

The forthcoming national tour of the Henry Krieger-Tom Eyen Motown musical, Dreamgirls, will officially launch at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater in November 2009.

"The opening scene in Dreamgirls takes place in the legendary Apollo Theater, so it is only fitting that we are launching the national tour at this historic venue," said producer John Breglio in a statement. "The prospect that we may discover the new Dreams at the Apollo, where so many stars were discovered, just adds to our excitement in bringing this great musical back to the stage."

Producers of the national tour will hold auditions for Dreamgirls' central trio of The Dreams, including the roles of Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson and Effie White, on Nov. 22 at the Apollo Theatre.

Tickets for Dreamgirls at the Apollo Theater go on sale Jan. 26, 2009, at 10 AM via Ticketmaster.com and the Apollo Theater box office.

"From Ella Fitzgerald to the Jackson Five to Lauryn Hill, and beyond, the Apollo's legacy as a resource for artists, across genres and generations and as a platform for the artistic heritage of American culture, continues to be unmatched," said Jonelle Procope, president and CEO, Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. "We are thrilled to host the premiere of the Dreamgirls national tour, which is so emblematic of what the Apollo stands for and so magically captures the spirit of this theatre."

Robert Longbottom, who staged Henry Krieger and Bill Russell's Side Show on Broadway and earned a Tony Award nomination for his choreography on the 2003 revival of Flower Drum Song, will direct and co-choreograph the national tour of Dreamgirls, which follows the rise of a Supremes-like singing group.

The production will also boast co-choreography from Emmy-nominated hip-hop artist Shane Sparks. A guest judge and choreographer on "So You Think You Can Dance," Sparks also appears on "America's Best Dance Crew" and his award-winning choreography can be seen in the feature film "You Got Served."

Tony Award winner Robin Wagner, who created the scenic designs for the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, will render new designs for the national tour. The design team also boasts Tony-winning designers William Ivey Long (costume design) and Ken Billington (lighting design).

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

Dreamgirls turned Tony winner Jennifer Holliday into an overnight star when it debuted in 1981 at the Imperial Theatre. The 2006 film adaptation, featuring a screenplay and direction by Bill Condon, earned Jennifer Hudson a host of awards, including the Best Featured Actress Oscar, for her performance as Effie White.

The Apollo Theater is located in Harlem at 253 W. 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd.