Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen
Music by Henry Krieger
Directed & Choreographed by Marc Robin
At Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, IL
Quick paced and emotional wrenching Dreamgirls satisfies
Director Marc Robin has his cast fully engaged in his fast-paced, well sung back-stage musical about the R & B groups of the 60’s and 70’s. Raena White , as Effie, sing her heart out especially in “I Am Changing.” This Dreamgirls, while not spectacular, is a entertaining romp into the heart of dreamers engaged in the pop world of R & B.
The story chronicles up-and-coming 1960′s singing girl group as they experience the triumphs and tribulations found in fame and fortune. Deena Jones (Britney Coleman), Lorrell Robinson (Rashidra Scott) and Effie White (Raena White) are The Dreamettes, a fledgling group that the ambitious agent Curtis Taylor (Byron Glenn Willis) discovers and molds from backup singers for James “Thunder” Early (the fabulous rubber-legged Eric LaJuan Summers channeling James Brown) to a featured group.
From the start, Dreamgirls features an assortment of Henry Krieger music and Tom Eyen’s toe-tapping tunes, rich anthems, and soulful power ballads. Act One is a fabulous rhythmic trip through R and B, Blues and Soul with original songs written in the style of the famous MoTown tunes. The show stopper “Fake Your Way to the Top” and “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” is an amazingly stylistic number with fine choreography by Marc Robin. Act one ends with Raena White nailing the anthem “(And I’m Telling You) I’m Not Going” with rich emotions making the tune hers.
Act Two unfolds a more bluesy and melancholy as the story shifts to Curtis’ downfall and Effie’s rise to stardom. i believe the real star of this fine production is Eric LaJuan Summers as the electric James “Thunder” Early. Bryon Glenn Willis’ Curtis was also effective as the manager/manipulator destined to dream one dream too many.
Dreamgirls is an energetic, polished and classy music and dance romp through Motown. You’ll quickly get enthused by the sheer energy and deep emotional truth in this modern operetta. Powerful and richly evocative voices nail the tunes as the nuances of the struggles to attain and survive fame and fortune in the music world is sensitively presented. The joyous and angst ridden world of R and B music makes for a most entertaining theatrical experience. Marriott Theatre has a winning production of the R & B hit.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed” August 29, 2012
Foe more info checkout the Dreamgirls page at theatreinchicago.com
At Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive (Rt 22 & Rt 45), Lincolnshire, IL, call 847-634-0200, tickets $41 – $49, Wednesdays at 1 & 8 pm, Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 1 & 5 pm, running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes with intermission, though October 28, 2012