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'Dreamgirls' is filled with soul

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DREAMGIRLS Musical

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The road to fame and fortune never seems to be easy. Then once stardom is reached the problems only multiply, not that I would ever know, but at least that’s how it’s always portrayed to be like.
One such example is “Dreamgirls,” a Broadway musical, which was adapted into a 2006 movie, and follows a trio of female singers pursuing their dream to be superstars. “Dreamgirls,” runs live on stage at the Schuster Center through June 9.

We are first introduced to ‘The Dreamettes’ when they are part of a talent competition at the Apollo Theater. The trio consists of Effie (Charity Dawson), Deena (Jasmin Richardson), and Lorrell (Tonyia Myrie Rue). Together they create a soothing sound that typically only dreams are made of. Each of the women are blessed with strong voices, but Effie is in her own heavyweight division. Her vocals are worthy of earning a lot of R-E-S-P-E-C-T from Aretha Franklin or anyone else. She certainly earned mine.

A highlight of the show, nearly worth the price of admission in itself, is Effie’s solo of ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,’ at the end of Act 1. She’s devastated by the news that she’s been replaced within the group, multiple layers of emotion is poured into the song. Her voice contains more soul than a Blues bar in the heart of New Orleans.

The first thing I noticed upon taking my seat in the beautiful Schuster Center was the bare stage, no need for a curtain since there wasn’t anything to hide. The only set pieces during the entire show are large video screens, which along with the glorious voices, provides all the needed scenery. The screens provide some dazzling effects, especially in ‘Steppin’ to the Bad Side’ during which the visuals hit a high note with the sense of illusion.

Speaking of special effects, Effie has a wardrobe change, center stage, which nobody even notices until she’s done. The costumes are glitz and glamour, worthy of the red carpet.

My only complaint of “Dreamgirls” is that I sometimes got the male characters confused. I couldn’t tell the underhanded manager, Curtis (Deonte L. Warren) from C.C (Terrance Johnson) or sometimes from Jimmy (Jonathan Michael). I still don’t know who Marty (Kolby Kindle) was. They all wore fine suits and are the same body type, which made it difficult, at least for me, to tell who was who, especially when they were all on stage together.

Without question, it was perfectly clear who Jimmy was during ‘The Rap,’ when he breaks from his straight laced routine and turns perverse during a concert. It’s a moment of comic relief, which Jonathan Michael..ummm nails…perfectly, revealing a rarely seen side of his character, by pulling down his pants.

“Dreamgirls” will be enjoyed by not only fans of R&B, but those who enjoy any genre of music. It’s a redeeming tale of rags to riches and an inspiring reminder that dreams really do come true.
“Dreamgirls” continues through June 9 at the Schuster Center. Go to www,ticketcenterstage.com for ticket information.

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