PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Goin' Downtown!" A Peek Behind the Scenes at the Marriott Theatre's Dreamgirls
By Matthew Blank
Cast member Kelvin Roston Jr. offers a glance backstage at the Marriott Theatre's production of Dreamgirls, playing the company's home in Lincolnshire, IL, through Oct. 28.
Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer Marc Robin helms the production, which features Raena White (Off-Broadway's Sistas) as Effie, Britney Coleman (Into The Woods at Center Stage/Westport Country Playhouse) as Deena and Rashidra Scott (Sister Act, Hair, Avenue Q) as Lorrell. Also featured are Eric LaJuan Summers (The Little Mermaid, Aida) as James "Thunder" Early, Byron Glenn Willis as Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Marriott's Once On This Island, Dreamgirls), Darilyn Burtley as Michelle Morris, Travis Turner as C.C. White, Trinity Murdock as Marty and Ivory Doublette as Charlene. Eleasha Gamble (The Civil War at Ford's Theatre) plays Effie at select performances.
Rounding out the ensemble are Kevin Barthel, Brian Bohr, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, Malynda Hale, James Earl Jones II, Evan Tyrone Martin, Brian-Alwyn Newland, Alexis J. Rogers, Kelvin Roston Jr., Lorenzo Rush Jr. and Adrienne Walker. Performances continue through Oct. 28.
Dreamgirls, according to the Marriott, "follows the rags-to-riches story of a young female 1960s Motown group from Chicago. Hopeful talents Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson and Effie White are performing as The Dreamettes when ambitious agent Curtis Taylor, Jr. discovers them. He lands them a job as backup singers for the soul and rock 'n' roll sensation James 'Thunder' Early and begins to guide their quickly rising career. However, when the beautiful Deena emerges as the star of the group rather than the full-voiced Effie, the girls are brought to a personal and professional crossroads. Effie must then find the strength within to rise again, just as Deena will later need to master all her fortitude to leave the controlling Curtis and pursue her dreams of acting. The heartbreaks of showbiz, love, and music all collide in this acclaimed musical that will sing and dance its way into your heart."
With music by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tony and Grammy-winning Tom Eyen, Dreamgirls features hit songs such as "(And I Am Telling You) I'm Not Going," "One Night Only" and "I Am Changing." The musical opened on Broadway in 1981 and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning six.
Other members of the creative team include lead artistic director Aaron Thielen, music director Doug Peck, lighting designer Jesse Klug, scenic designer Thomas M. Ryan, costume designer Nancy Missimi, sound designer Robert E. Gilmartin and properties designer Sally Weiss. Patti Garwood conducts the Marriott Theatre Orchestra.
The Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire, IL. For more information and tickets, call (847) 634-0200 or visit MarriottTheatre.com.
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