My wife, Stephanie, as you may know, owns Lela in the Third Ward. When she heard that "Dreamgirls" was coming to town she knew it was time for a staff outing.
Last night, she and two colleagues hit the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, for a night of fashion, fun and song with the touring cast of "Dreamgirls."
"Dreamgirls" shines as a live musical. The dancing, costuming and music come alive on stage in a way that stands above and beyond the movie. I loved the movie and the musical, playing now through Sunday at the Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St., but especially enjoyed seeing the live performance.
It's a tale of friendship, sisterhood, family bonds and the trap of fame. But in the end these bonds prevail. You may know the story. Three rising stars -- girls from Chicago -- who essentially become a fictional version of the Supremes. Three girls from Lela saw it on Thursday night and here's Stephanie Sherman's take on the set, songs and dress.
Set: The set was simplistic with large video screens behind the actors. These added electricity at times, but were distracting during some scenes. Also somewhat distracting, at times, were the dancers pretending to be members of the orchestra. I wished that the real musicians were on stage to back up the singers.
Songs: My favorite performances were given by Chester Gregory playing the role of James "Thunder" Early and Dreamette Lorell Robinson, played by Adrienne Warren. Their love story was the most compelling relationship on stage.
"Steppin' to the Bad Side" was by far my favorite song with strong choreography and powerful singing. The dancing combined '60s moves with current hip-hop in a way that was unforgettable.
Dress: The costumes evoked the feel of the old Apollo performers. The Dreamettes were over the top. The costume changes (which occurred on stage and without notice) were creative and cool.
If you didn't like the movie, see this production of the musical. This story was meant for stage. And if you enjoy reality TV tales of musicians aiming at stardom, you will love "Dreamgirls" -- the drama unfolds right before your eyes.
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