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DREAMGIRLS OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: November 22, 2009
Synopsis: Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, Dreamgirls tells the rags-to-riches story of a 1960s motown girl group, and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"The disembodied voice, sounding like God with a hangover, lets us know in detail what we are about to receive. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the voice rumbles by way of a preshow announcement for Richard Foreman’s “Dreamgirls,” a play that is some kind of wonderful. “In the course of this evening’s performance the following objects will appear onstage.”"
"There's no doubt that the role of Effie White in the Henry Krieger-Tom Eyen musical Dreamgirls, now launching its national tour at the Apollo Theatre, is a star-making one. Just ask Jennifer Holliday, Lillias White, and Jennifer Hudson! But there's no guarantee that whoever portrays the fiery singer will end up as a lasting luminary in the firmament. Still, my money's on relative newcomer Moya Angela, whose intense, deeply-felt performance as Effie is the red-hot center of Robert Longbottom's enjoyable if slightly too cool revival of this timeless backstage musical. "
"Any new production of Dreamgirls has two hurdles from the outset: the duo of beloved previous productions of the show, the original 1981 Broadway outing and Bill Condon's 2006 movie. Both dazzled their way into the memory of viewers, and both produced stars in the she-shall-overcome role of Effie White (Jennifer Holliday on Broadway and Jennifer Hudson in the movie). Even though it's not as dreamy as its predecessors, a new national touring production (which kicks off with a three-week engagement at Harlem, N.Y.'s Apollo Theater) does not tarnish the show's legacy. And the role of Effie has again produced a new star in the thunderous Moya Angela."
"Any staging of the musical "Dreamgirls" has a lot of history to contend with. Anyone who saw the now legendary original 1981 production so brilliantly directed by Michael Bennett will never forget it, and the 2006 movie version was no slouch either. The current revival, playing a limited run at the Apollo Theater before beginning a national tour and a possible return to Broadway, is unlikely to erase anyone's memories. But it generally gets the job done, and anyone approaching the show without too much baggage is likely to have a fine time."
"There's bad news and good about the much-anticipated revival of "Dreamgirls," kicking off, like the action of the show itself, on the storied stage of Harlem's Apollo Theater before a national tour. Cultists of the 1981 musical about an African-American girl group's rise to success might have been hoping for a Broadway-caliber production that would demand a midtown New York return. In most ways that count, this staging falls short of that wish. But as a road property, it's top-tier, packaged to travel and stuffed with vocal talent that does justice to Henry Krieger's sensational songs and helps compensate for stiff acting and a shortage of emotional clout."
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