Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dreamgirls Headed for a Broadway Run

It looks likely that Dreamgirls is headed for Broadway the first revival since 1981 [Correction: Dreamgirls was previously revived on Broadway in 1987, running 177 performances at the Ambassador Theatre (June 28-November 29) ]. As you may know Dreamgirls is a Broadway musical, which opened on December 20, 1981 at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. The musical ran for 1,522 performances, and won six 1982 Tony Awards.

Show Broadway History:
It is based upon the history of Motown act The Supremes, Dreamgirls follows the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called "The Dreams", who become music superstars. It features music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen, and was directed by Michael Bennett, produced by Bennett, Bob Avian, Geffen Records, and The Shubert Organization, and choreographed by Bennett and Michael Peters. The original Broadway production, which won six Tony Awards.

The musical was adapted into a motion picture by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, and opened in limited release on December 15, 2006. The feature film version of Dreamgirls stars Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles, Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Keith Robinson, and Danny Glover.

Show Background:
Dreamgirls to craft a musical about Black back-up singers, which was given the working title of Project #9. Project #9 was had its beginnings as a project for Nell Carter. Playwright Tom Eyen and composer Henry Krieger first worked together on the 1975 musical version of Eyen's play The Dirtiest Show in Town. Carter appeared in the musical, and her performance inspired Eyen and Kriegerworkshopped for Joe Papp; Carter was joined at this time by Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, who were to play her groupmates. The project was shelved after Carter departed to appear in the soap opera Ryan's Hope in 1978.

A year later, Project #9 was brought back to the table, after catching the interest of successful Broadway director/producer/choreographer Michael Bennett. Ralph and Devine returned, and Bennett had Eyen, who was to direct, begin workshopping Big Dreams, as the musical was now known. Joining the cast at this time were Ben Harney, Obba Babatunde, Cleavant Derricks, and twenty-year-old gospel singer Jennifer Holliday as Carter's replacement (after Carter accepted an offer from NBC to star in Gimme a Break).

However, Holliday left the project during the workshopping phase, as she disliked the material and was upset that her character, Effie White, died at the conclusion of the first act. Eyen, Bennett, and Krieger continued to iron out the story and songs. Cheryl Gaines was at one point cast as a replacement for Holliday.

After two mildly successful workshops, Holliday returned to the project, now known as Dreamgirls. However, she found that the Effie character's role had been reduced significantly in favor of Sheryl Lee Ralph's Deena character, and Holliday eventually quit the project again. After acquiring funding from music industry mogul David Geffen and fellow co-financiers ABC Entertainment, Metromedia, and the Shubert family, Bennett called Holliday back and agreed to rewrite the shows second act and build up her character. (read more)

1-22-2007 Dreamgirls a Dream at the Box office
12-9-2006 Dreamgirls Christmas

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Community Theater in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York. Information on shows, auditions, and our general adventures onstage, backstage and in the audience.