Recast ‘Dreamgirls’ opens Hub run next Tuesday

Fans of classic Motown and pop musicals are singing “And I Am Telling You That I AM Going” all the way to box office of the Colonial Theatre to get seats for the February 2- 14 run of the touring revival of “Dreamgirls.”

The smash musical that is loosely based on the career of The Supremes is making a triumphant return to the Hub in a totally redesigned version. The original production opened on Broadway on Dec. 20, 1981 following a memorable pre-New York engagement here in Boston and went on to win six Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards in 1982 among many other honors during its initial 1,521 performances in the Big Apple.

This all-new production of “Dreamgirls” premiered, fittingly enough, at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, the very location where the first scene of the musical unfolds as the fledging trio vies with other wannabes on Amateur Night.

Full of onstage joy and backstage heartache, “Dreamgirls” tells the rags-to-riches story of a 1960s Motown girl group, and the personal sacrifices that inevitably come with public success. Aspiring talents Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson, and Effie White are performing as The Dreamettes when ambitious agent Curtis Taylor, Jr. discovers them. He lands them a job as backup singers for the soul and rock ‘n’ roll sensation James “Thunder” Early and begins to guide their quickly rising career. However, when the slinky, beautiful Deena emerges as the break-out star of the group rather than the darker, fuller-figured Effie, the girls are brought to personal and professional crossroads.
The road show has “American Idol” finalist Syesha Mercado as the Deena Jones/Diana Ross character, but the vocal powerhouse and rising star of the tour is clearly Moya Angela as Effie.

Director/ choreographer Robert Longbottom (recently represented on Broadway with his revival of another golden oldie, “Bye, Bye, Birdie”) pays homage to Michael Bennett’s original staging with the help of lavish, new pastel-colored costumes and an innovative high-tech set design. The musical numbers are co-choreographed by Shane Sparks, who works on the Fox reality series, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The original score by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and lyrics by Tony and Grammy-Award winning librettist Tom Eyen is supplemented by incorporating “Listen,” the most popular song from the 2006 film version, as a stirring Act II duet for Deena and Effie.

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