It goes without saying that anyone who manages to snag a lead in the national tour of “Dreamgirls” obviously has the pipes to fill the role. The musical, currently on stage at the Murat Theatre, is a celebration of soul and ‘60s R&B as it chronicles the rise of the Dreamettes, a trio of female singers.
Each member of the cast brings a unique flavor to the production. Curtis is the picture of blind ambition. The pompadoured Jimmy blows the audience away with his over-the-top charisma. Deena transforms from an innocent girl to a strong woman. Supporting players, like C.C. White and Lorrell, provide just the right balance of enthusiasm and earnestness. They leave the main stage open for the big personalities, but provide a much-needed grounding element.
Effie, played by Indianapolis native Moya Angela, is a boiling pot of sass and attitude. Even when she is silent she smolders with an anger that radiates throughout the theater. She is shameless in her opinions, often to her detriment, but that same uncompromising strength helps her succeed in the end.
Every moment in the show is expertly choreographed, but at times it distracts from the performers’ sublime voices. The bright lights of the set and sequined costumes are a lot to take in, and some of the show’s best songs are simple ones like “Listen” that showcase their voices sans jazz hands. That stripped down number allows the two divas to shine as they belt out the lessons they’ve learned through years of heartache.
There’s a lot of drama packed into the two-act show. The fights, jealousy and competition make for some heavy material. Just when things become a bit bleak, Jimmy breathes life into the show and shakes things up.
One of the best scenes in the show involves Jimmy attempting to make his act a bit more palatable for a straight-laced white crowd. The more he tries to reign himself in, the worse he gets and his antics have the audience rolling with laughter. Moments like that elevate the show from a dreary cautionary tale, to a hypnotic saga.
Don't Miss the Show
The show runs until Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Murat Theatre so hurry to get tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Photos Courtesy of Broadway Across America