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Dreamgirls
a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Music by Henry Krieger; Book and Lyircs by Tom Eyen

COMPANY : Galaxy Music Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Relapse Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 1680

SHOWING : August 03, 2006 - August 26, 2006

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

DREAMGIRLS is a show about a time in American musical history when what is called rhythm and blues blended with other styles of popular music creating a new American sound. Act One is set in the fabulous sixties-a time when we were still screaming at Elvis and listening to the Beatles, but were dancing to the new beat of countless girl and boy groups like The Supremes, The Marvelettes, The Temptations and The Shirelles. DREAMGIRLS is not just about the singing and the dancing and the performing. The play is also about the behind-the-scenes reality of the entertainment industry-the business part of show business that made possible this cultural phenomenon. Act Two shows the creation and the arrival of disco-though the word is never used in the script. The subject matter of this play deals with a musical contribution to America of such importance that only now-two decades later-are we beginning to understand.


CAST & CREW LIST
Cast S. Craig McConnell
Producer S. Craig McConnell
Director Jeffery Brown
Choreographer Sims Banes
Hair/Wig designer George Deavours
Music Director Laura English-Robinson
Stage Manager Chris Franken
Costume Designer Clint Horne
Set Designer Michael Magursky
Assistant Stage Manager Jospeh Schoen
Lighting Designer John David Williams
Joann/Ensemble Claudia Anthony
Choreographer Sims Banes
Effie White Summer Bergeron
Ensemble Omar Brock
Deena Jones Tiffany Carter
Ensemble Terrence Clemmons
Little Albert/Ensemble TC Clemons
Dave/Ensemble Royce G. Garrison
Tiny Joe Dixon Collin Hughey
Marty Boris Hunter
Charlene/Ensemble April Sunset Jones
Ensemble Aubrey Lenyard
James "Thunder" Early Jonathan Maddox
Ensemble Jeremy McShan
Ensemble Quentin Reynolds
C.C. White Nik Alexander Richards
Lorrell Robinson Ardale Shepard
Ensemble Tomaree Tarpley
Curtis Taylor, Jr. Mike Thompson
Michelle Morris Althea Williams
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Suprise
by spcasa
Saturday, September 2, 2006
4.0
Always aproaching community theater with mild apprehension, I was as suprised and pleased as finding lost money when I viewed the production of Dreamgirls by the Galaxy Theater.

The stellar cast and huge undertaking in a short preproduction length of time speaks volumes for all involved.

My greatest delight was the STUNNING Summer Bergeron. Encompassing the passion and drive of her character, Summer's complete performance(ATTA GURL) touched the entire theater audience and made a special memory of that evening.


Congrats Galaxy.



[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
It's not JUST showbiz....It IS showbiz!
by Eye4Talent
Monday, August 21, 2006
4.0
Galaxy Music Theatre had been on hiatus for a while, so when they announced that their foray back into the musical "scene" would be DREAMGIRLS, I wondered whether or not they could pull it off. This show is a huge undertaking, and I can't remember anything they've done in recent years that required so many African American actors. I wondered if they would be able to find enough people to fill the roles in a racially accurate way, since this show reached out to a more diverse group of actors as well as patrons than they've had in the past. Well, not only did they find enough people, but they found an extraordinarily talented group of actors that put on an amazing show!

Galaxy's new space at Relapse Theatre on 14th Street is a great venue, and I am thrilled that Galaxy has been able to find such an ideal new home. I hope that this show will get such great press and praise by folks who were lucky enough to see it, that people will be compelled to make the effort to venture out to a new place. I am certainly doing my part to spread the word that you will be missing out if you don't see DREAMGIRLS.

Jeffrey Brown has done an excellent job in his direction of this show. One element that I found most interesting and smart were the transitions from scene to scene and also from mood to mood within a scene. For example, when Effie's coat is removed to reveal the evening gown underneath as she transitions from her hesitant audition in a new club to a gut wrenching and pivotal performance of "I Am Changing."

Speaking of Effie, Summer Bergeron's portrayal of this character is brilliant. I would think that it would be very intimidating to play Effie since people can't help but make a comparison with Jennifer Holliday, who will forever be identified with that role. But if Summer had any reservations, they never showed, nor should she have had any. She brings such a depth and passion to her character, that when she sings, you feel it right down to the tips your toes. While watching her perform, I felt like I was witnessing the launch of a star's career.

Another actor who is destined to be a star is Nik Alexander Richards as C.C. White. This young man, at 16 years old, acts and sings with more emotion and conviction than most seasoned adult performers. His voice is simply amazing, but what struck me the most about his performance was his commitment to his character 100% of the time. Many young actors tend to drift out of character when they are not directly participating in the dialogue of a scene, but Nik is the exception because he was completely focused no matter if he was in the center of the "action" or in the background.

Jonathan Maddox, as James "Thunder" Early, is another stand out. The vocal range that he sings is extreme, but he sings every note with such ease, that he makes it look easy. Which is exactly what his character is all about. He is so smooth and charismatic that you can't help but singing, "(fill in your name here) loves Jimmy!" I was blown away to find out that DREAMGIRLS is his theatrical debut. That just goes to prove that some people are just born with it.

There is only one white person in the whole show, so the personality that had to fill that role had to be a memorable one. I think they cast this one exactly right with Royce G. Garrison. His "white-man's rendition" of "Cadillac Car" is hilarious. He brings just the right amount of smooth vocals and cheese, so that what could easily be a forgettable moment, instead successfully highlights the barrier between the races and the listening audience of that era. By having him appear throughout the show as the gatekeeper, the man who controls whether or not singers are heard by the public, the race division is illustrated again with just enough humor as to not weigh down the show with too much emphasis on it.

Mike Thompson, as Curtis, brings a voice to the production that is a little different from what I expected to hear. Instead of the overwhelming powerhouse type of voice I expect from Curtis, he has a smokier, subtler tone. He is much more dangerous and intriguing because he seduces everyone around him rather than overpowering them. I got the impression that he is much more confident in his singing than his acting, so his dialogue scenes were a little stiff.

The same could be said for Tiffany Carter, who played Deena. She seemed a little uncomfortable during her scenes as well. I think she had the right idea most of the time, but I don't think she knew how to communicate it to the audience, so she appeared weaker than Deena should be. And although she has a pretty voice, I don't think it was strong enough to be the lead singer of the Dreams, so some of their big numbers were disappointing. In my opinion, she was better suited to play Lorrell and Ardale Shepherd might have been more appropriate as Deena. Ardale's voice has the power and grit that Tiffany lacked.

One more performance that deserves honorable mention is that of Boris Hunter as Marty. This role is considered a supporting one, but Borris brought such vitality and enthusiasm to the stage, that when he wasn't on the stage for a while, I found myself missing him.

The choreography by Sims Banes was clever and entertaining. The group numbers were not perfectly together, but everyone had their own style that they brought to it, and it worked. The lighting was a little dark at times, but I can easily forgive that as the growing pains of moving into a new space, and I applaud John David Williams for tackling the daunting task. Clint Horne must also be applauded for the costumes, which were first rate.

The strength of this show lies within the talent level of every actor, ranging from above average to out-of-this-world. Galaxy Music Theatre should be very proud of DREAMGIRLS, and if the rest of their season hits the mark like this show, this little diamond-in-the-rough company will become a bright and shining gem of Atlanta theatre. Congratulations!
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Amazing!!!
by KristieKrabe
Saturday, August 12, 2006
4.0
I was lucky enough to be in the audience in New York for the final performance of Dreamgirls back in 1985 and saw the incomparable Jennifer Holliday as Effie. It was quite an experience for me as a young girl with big dreams of show business. It made a huge impression on me at the time.

I am proud to say that I enjoyed last night's performance by Galaxy Theater just as much as I did the original. I was absolutely blown away by the level of talent in this production.

Director Jeffery Brown and Musical Director Laura English- Robinson won the jackpot of casting this time around. I'm thinking that God went and handpicked his favorite singers from local churches and delivered them to the audition. Ebenezer Baptist, Turner AME and Beulah Missionary are just a few of the churches that spawned the talent for Dreamgirls. This was a well-rounded cast and every part was played well.

So, where to start? If you have ever had the chance to hear Summer Bergeron tear it up in shows like Ragtime and Ain't Misbehavin' then you haven't seen anything like the performance she gives as Effie White, the talented yet difficult original lead singer for The Dreams. The most well known song of Dreamgirls - "And I am Telling You" is so often performed in cabarets as a defiant fit of Diva behavior, that often you forget that it is the last desperate act of a woman to keep her no-good man from dumping her. Summer's delivery of this song was full of so much raw vulnerability and cathartic emotion, that you almost feel a bit voyeuristic for witnessing her break down. It is in this moment we see Effie's mask crumble and reveal that underneath it all she is an insecure mess of low self-esteem. Only one other time in Atlanta have I seen an act one finale get a standing ovation like last night's (coincidentally, it was when Summer performed "Till We Reach That Day" in Ragtime - what can I say, the girl is amazing!)

To call Ardale Shepherd and Tiffany Carter supporting roles would be a mistake. They both bring their own power to the parts of Deena and Lorrell and were perfectly cast. Ms. Carter was great in showing Deena's initial hesitance and insecurity about taking over as lead of the Dreams, but later developed into a full fledged diva ala Diana Ross by the end of the show. Ardale Shepherd shines as Lorrell, which could have easily been written off as the comic relief, but she has so much sass and talent that you can't help but watch her to see what she's doing next. Her rendition of "Ain't No Party" in the second act was a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier themes that take over the second act.

The men in this show have a tough task in keeping up with the women in the show. And keep up they do. Mike Thompson as Curtis Taylor Jr. is just sexy enough to keep you liking him even though he is the dirtbag of dirtbags. "When I First Saw You" had many of the women in the audience fanning themselves. As James "Thunder" Early, Jonathan Maddox chewed up the scenery every time he was on stage. I refuse to believe that this is his first theatrical performance - refuse!! I loved him every moment he was on stage. And one of the most beautiful performances of the evening was given by Nik Alexander in the role of C.C. His voice is absolutely beautiful and he delivers a heartfelt performance that just makes you want to cry, he's so good.

The rest of the show is rounded out by a strong ensemble that more than holds their own. Honorable mention to Royce Garrison for his Pat Boone-esque rendition of Cadillac Car.

In all my gushing, I do have to say that if I had one complaint, it is that the cast often had trouble finding their light on stage, and at times were in the dark, and that during group numbers some solo lines were unable to be heard over the chorus. There were wireless mikes being used, but I couldn't tell if they were just prop mikes or if there was actually sound coming from them. However it was a minor issue, because with the huge voices in this show, you rarely needed them (except for those solos in the crowd).

I love Galaxy's new space at the Relapse Theater. I am excited that they have found a new home, and if the rest of their season is as good as Dreamgirls, then I have a feeling that Galaxy is well on their way of becoming one of the most exciting theaters in Atlanta.

So, walk, run fly to see this show before it closes! That way, when the movie comes out you can say, "P-shaw Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce... The production I saw at Galaxy was sooooooo much better!!"
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Love you Kristie, but... by Outsider
I know this is a mute point seeing Dreamgirls closed this weekend, but I think we saw two different shows. I was there closing night, and nearly left at intermission, but stayed in hopes that it would get better. But alas, no. I will agree with you on one note: Jonathan Maddox was GREAT! And I too was surprised to see that this was his first theatrical performance.

I'm going to be one of the first in line to see the movie (Jennifer's my girl) and doubt I'll be saying "P-shaw".
Why not review it then? by Okely Dokely
Outsider,

Moot point or not, I'd love to see what you have to say. It's always interesting to see drastically contrasting opinions on this site, and you seem intelligent enough. I say go for it.


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