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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All You Got To Do Is Dream-Kimmel Center Presents Dreamgirls

Reviewed by Sojourner Ahebee

Hello to all my Dreamgirls out there with dreams not waiting to be fulfilled by others ,but by yourselves. Yesterday evening, I attended DreamGirls,which is part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Series. It was simply a first-rate performance filled with incredible talent.

Dreamgirls tells the story of three best friends with talent,who all want a career in the music industry. Unfamiliar with the ugly side of the music business, they agree to sing backup for a huge star, James “Thunder” Early played deftly by Chester Gregory. They eventually get their own act ,but throughout the process they lose themselves and try to change their image and sound to attract a white audience. Also, many friendships are destroyed over the position of being lead singer because Effie(Moya Angela) is pushed to backup with Lorrell(Adrienne Warren) and Deena(Syesha Mercado) takes on the role of lead because she is slim and has a somewhat light voice. Eventually Effie gets her solo career.

One of my favorite songs in the performance is called Cadillac Car. The tune of the song is not what most intrigued me . This song represented what many musicical artists of color faced; white acts taking others' original songs, revamping them and claiming them as their own . This original R&B song, Cadillac Car, is sung by Jimmy and the girls and is stolen by a white music artist and is transformed into a pop song. The girls find this type of behavior unfathomable ,but Curtis simply says this happens all the time. This made me feel indignant to know people worked hard to create something and then had their work literally stolen from them because of racism and how the music business was run.

Guess who really blew me out of the house? Moya Angela’s character Effie. Wow ,that girl can blow! When she sang And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going ,I was almost in tears. Through this song, Effie displays her emotions for Curis. She realizes she is being pushed to the back and his new obsession is Deena. In her song her main phrase is you’re gonna love me. I am only familiar with the Jennifer Hudson version of the song ,so this performance was just breathtaking. ( My mom said I need to listen to the Jennifer Holiday version.) Jennifer Hudson sung this song in a movie, if she doesn’t hit the right note, the director just says take 2. But Ms. Angela has to hit the right notes each performance, over and over while projecting her voice to the audience. That type of talent comes with hard work and determination and she has all of these qualities.

I just love how the musical ended. Everyone left on good terms with each other and all FOUR of the Dreamgirls sang their very catchy tuned song DreamGirls . Effie, who was stunning in a black glitter dress, stood out from the rest as did her talent.

Before I end my review I would like to give a big shoutout to conductor Alvin Hough, Jr. for the wonderful live music I was able to experience and to William Ivey Long for his costume designs . The costumes, as you can imagine, were out of this world and can only be fully experienced at the performance and not through my words. This is a must-see show ! Dreamgirls will be at the Academy of Music from June 22nd to June 27th. Below is a link to The Kimmel Center’s 2009/2010 Broadway series dates and times. Come out and support this wonderful production!

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