Beyoncé, Jennifer and Anika: They're Your "Dreamgirls"

News   Beyoncé, Jennifer and Anika: They're Your "Dreamgirls"
Fans of the award-winning musical Dreamgirls have been waiting more than 25 years for this Christmas present: the DreamWorks/Paramount film "Dreamgirls" — starring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose —opens nationwide Dec. 25.
Beyonc Photo by Dreamworks SKG

"Dreamgirls," which premiered in New York Dec. 4 at the Ziegfeld Theatre, recently ended ten-day roadshow engagements at Manhattan's Ziegfeld, Hollywood's Cinerama Dome and San Francisco's Metreon. The film now opens in cinemas around the country.

Directed by Bill Condon, "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. Director Bill Condon also wrote the film's screenplay based on the late Tom Eyen's book. The film employs most of the original score by Eyen and Henry Krieger as well as four new tunes: "Love You I Do" (for Effie), "Listen" (for Deena), "Patience" (for James "Thunder" Early) and "Perfect World" (for Teddy Campbell, a child musical sensation rising alongside The Dreams).

Rose, who won a Tony Award for her performance in Caroline, or Change, recently spoke with freelance writer Michael Buckley about her work in the film: "I really felt that Lorrell was very clear for me," Rose said, "And that's really because of Bill [Condon] and his writing. Reading [the screenplay], I could hear her voice in my mind almost immediately. I connected with her very easily. That doesn't mean that the work was easy, but I could feel her. I didn't have to dig around. Sometimes, you get a script and it's a light character, and you spend your time trying to build her up and create a person where there is none. For Lorrell, I just added spice."

The new movie musical recently received five Golden Globe nominations: Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical, Best Performance By an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Beyoncé Knowles), Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Jennifer Hudson), Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Eddie Murphy) and Best Original Song-Motion Picture ("Listen"). "Dreamgirls" will vie for the Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical Golden Globe in a field that also includes "Borat," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Thank You for Smoking."

"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, 1981, 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.

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Jamie Foxx and Golden Globe Award winner Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls."
Jamie Foxx and Golden Globe Award winner Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls." Photo by Dreamworks SKG
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