Not Goin': Two Weeks Added to Philly Dreamgirls, Now to Jan. 15

News   Not Goin': Two Weeks Added to Philly Dreamgirls, Now to Jan. 15
Positive reviews and enthusiastic audiences have prompted an extension of Prince Music Theater's revival of the Motown-flavored musical Dreamgirls in Philadelphia.

The production, directed by Richard M. Parison Jr. and choreographed by Mercedes Ellington, has been extended to Jan. 15, 2006.

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Prince Music Theater's resident Equity staging of Dreamgirls opened Dec. 10, following a week of previews from Dec. 3. It was announced to play only to Dec. 31.

Parison is Prince's associate artistic director and a recent Barrymore Award nominee for his production of The Big Bang in Philadelphia. The glamorous musical by Henry Krieger (music) and Tom Eyen (book and lyrics) is seen anew, put together by a creative team and cast drawn from a pool of artists from New York and Philadelphia.

The show known for its flash, glitter and "big" feel is scaled-down at the Prince to allow "focus on the emotional journey of the women," Parison told

"The scenic design is completely different than the original design, but still incorporates the fluidity and the cinematic nature of the piece," he said.

He calls this revival a sort of chamber version of the pop show, though none of the power of the Krieger-Eyen score is diminished.

Parison explained, "It's one of the things that regional theatre can do really well: Take things that are large in scale and take a fresh approach to it in a way that can create something exciting for our community. We've been playing to sold out houses since previews."


The music director is Jesse Vargas (Bare: A Pop Opera, Altar Boyz Off-Broadway and Joyful Noise: The Clay Aiken National Tour).

The cast includes Chauntee Schuler (Producers on tour) as Deena Jones, Nova Payton (Smokey Joe's Cafe tour) as Effie, Alexis Sims (Walnut Street Theatre's Finian's Rainbow) as Michelle Morris, CJay Hardy Philip (Broadway's Big) as Lorrell Robinson, Kevyn Morrow (Broadway and London's Ragtime) as Curtis Taylor Jr., Eugene Fleming (Broadway's Fosse and Never Gonna Dance) as James Thunder Early, Forrest McClendon (Disney workshop of Aida) as CC White, Brian Anthony Wilson (HBO's "The Wire") as Marty, James T. Lane (national tour of Cinderella with Eartha Kitt) as Wayne, with Emily MacNamara, Piper Arpan, Renee Chambers, Erika Vaughn, Dawn Marie Watson, Denver Taylor, Mike Newman, Ricky Whitfied, Greg Baker, James Clark and Paul Mansfied.

Dreamgirls, the 1981 Broadway hit originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, is currently being developed into a motion picture. The Tony Award-winning show focuses on the trials of a Supremes-like singing African-American girl group and their struggle to make it to the top — "including heartache, triumphs, breakups and disappointment," according to Prince notes.

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