If you only went to the Muny this week to see a very svelte Jennifer Holliday sing "And I'm Am Telling You I'm Not Going", in the role that virtually made her career, you would already have enough reasons to attend The Muny's production of Dreamgirls. But, the fact is, there are so many more things to like about this show, that your attendance is practically mandatory. A superb cast and sharp direction heighten the pleasure of watching this finely rendered presentation.
Dreamgirls (with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen) is a fictionalized take on an R&B act from the early sixties, although it mostly cribs from the turbulent history of The Supremes. This show chronicles the rise to fame of a trio known as the "Dreamettes", starting out with their early amateur success and following through to their eventual reunion and breakup. Along the way, opportunities, egos and romantic entanglements muddy their relationships with one another.
Jennifer Holliday may be the main attraction here, reprising her role as Effie, but she's surrounded by a top notch cast, which includes Demetira McKinney (Deena Jones) and fellow "Dreamettes" member Jonelle Lynn Randall (Lorelle Robinson). A familiar Muny face, Ken Page plays their manager, although it's Christopher Jackson as Curtis Taylor, Jr., who really shapes the group into a salable commodity. Milton Craig Nealy distinguishes himself as James Thunder Early, who takes the band on as his backup singers.
Robert Clater directs, Lesia Kaye choreographs, and Darren Ledbetter handles the music direction with a keen eye for the period(s) represented. The sets by Michael Anania, as well as the costumes by John Furrow add to the overall feel, and are complemented by Seth Jackson's lighting scheme.
Get and out and see Dreamgirls at The Muny this weekend, it's a fantastic show!