Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Supremely Entertaining

Theatre Review

Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago

Dreamgirls was a highly successful musical on Broadway way back in 1981 and seemingly was largely forgotten--no revivals or local productions to my knowledge-until it was turned into a movie in 2006. Due to the popularity of the movie, the musical was re-staged last fall at New York's famed Apollo Theater, which is where the show's story opens. Now it is touring the country and I saw it last night in Chicago.

Although I saw the movie, this was my first time seeing it onstage. I would rate the musical itself as very good, but not outstanding, at least in comparison to other top-flight musicals. But the production and performances were truly first-rate, making for a supremely--despite creators' claims that there is no direct connection with Diana Ross and the Supremes, they obviously seem to be a point of reference--entertaining evening. Moya Angela as Effie, Syesha Mercado as Deena (Diana?) and Chester Gregory as James Early were particularly great. I don't think all the songs themselves are that fantastic, with about a half-dozen real highlights, but for a touring production, this one rendered--and even enhanced--the source material about as well as one could hope.

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