Dreamgirls the musical opens tonight (June 3) at Stagecrafters in Royal Oak. The show runs through June 26th. It's loosely based on the rags-to-riches career of Detroit's legendary singer Diana Ross and her famous group The Supremes.
“It was like watching a concert and a musical all in one,” says director Jerry Haines of Berkley recounting the first time he saw the musical Dreamgirls on Broadway.
Haines says Dreamgirls is a "fast paced" show that never stops. It follows a girl group’s glamorous and tumultuous rise to fame through the 1960s and 70s. Stagecrafters says the show relies on musical performances, rather than dialogue to tell the story.
“When it premiered in 1981, its structure was non-traditional," says Haines. "Today, you see more and more musicals that follow a similar structure. That is, the dialogue is there, it's just mostly sung,” Haines says, referencing Rent and In the Heights.
Dreamgirls, book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, features show-stopping songs, including "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "One Night Only." The show opened Dec. 20, 1981, at the Imperial Theatre and ran for 1521 performances to close Aug. 11, 1985, and was nominated for thirteen 1982 Tony Awards and won six. A 2006 movie features Beyoncé Knowles as Deena, Jennifer Hudson as Effie, Eddie Murphy as James, Danny Glover as Marty, and Jamie Foxx as Curtis.
The story begins with a signing group, The Dreamettes, made up of three best friends: Effie White (Tan Mason of Detroit), the soulful front woman, Lorrell Robinson (Arielle Crosby of Detroit), and Deena Jones (Terri Manning of Bloomfield Hills), as they perform songs written by Effie’s brother, C.C. White (Brandon Love of Detroit).
A slick manager, Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Kenyada Davis of Detroit), gives the Dreamettes their big break on tour as backup singers for the charismatic James “Thunder” Early (Dyrel Johnson of Redford). He later sends them out on their own, renaming them “The Dreams,” evolving their R& B sound into a more mainstream pop, and unseating the full-figured Effie as lead singer in favor of the attractive Deena.
Effie’s budding offstage romance with Curtis is complicated by the changes and the suspicion that Curtis is having an affair with Deena. As Effie becomes temperamental and unreliable, Michelle Morris (Stacey Barrett of Detroit) is brought in to replace her. As Curtis abandons Effie as a singer and his love interest, she makes an impassioned final plea only for it to fall on deaf ears.
As the show propels into the 1970s, Effie struggles as a single mother to Curtis’ child but is too proud to reach out to the unaware father. Down and out, with the help of an old friend, Marty (Jeffrey Nelson of Farmington Hills), Effie works to redeem her life and career.
Meanwhile, Deena and Curtis have become an entertainment power couple as she flourishes as a performer with him pulling the strings behind the scenes. But Curtis has a controlling and manipulative side that drives everyone in his inner circle – and ultimately Deena – away. As Curtis tightens his grip, his empire begins to crumble. With The Dreams’ run at an end, they appear together, reunited with Effie, for one final triumphant performance.
Patrons attending the June 3rd opening night performance are invited to participate in the complimentary pre-glow of hors d’oeuvres courtesy of Café Muse of Royal Oak. The pre-glow runs from 7:00 to 7:45 pm.
Show tickets are $22 on Thursdays, $24 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tickets may be purchased online at www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved and there are no refunds or exchanges on individual tickets. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances. The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Dreamgirls is rated PG-13 for adult language and content.
Show dates and times are as follows:
Friday, June 3 at 8 pm
Saturday, June 4 at 8 pm
Sunday, June 5 at 2 pm
Thursday, June 9 at 8 pm
Friday, June 10 at 8 pm
Saturday, June 11 at 8 pm
Sunday, June 12 at 2 pm
Thursday, June 16 at 8 pm
Friday, June 17 at 8 pm
Saturday, June 18 at 8 pm
Sunday, June 19 at 2 pm
Friday, June 24 at 8 pm
Saturday, June 25 at 8 pm
Sunday, June 26 at 2 pm
Cast and Crew List by Community:
Director/Choreographer Jerry Haines Berkley
Set Design Dan Rose Berkley
Co-Producer Don Gerstler Birmingham
Deena Jones Terri Manning Bloomfield Hills
Tech Director Becca Wisnewski Clarkston
Prop Design Donna Edwards Clawson
Frank/Ensemble Juriel Anton’e Detroit
Michelle Morris Stacey Barrrett Detroit
Lorrell Robinson Arielle Crosby Detroit
Curtis Taylor Jr. Kenyada Davis Detroit
Dave/Ensemble Kevin Kaminski Detroit
C.C. White Brandon Love Detroit
Ensemble Ryan Martin Detroit
Effie White Tan Mason Detroit
Ensemble Aria Moody Detroit
Ensemble Michael Rice Detroit
Ensemble LaNyck Washington Detroit
Ensemble Jessica Williams Detroit
Marty Jeffrey Nelson Farmington Hills
Ensemble Ami McClenon Fraser
Master Carpenter Jerry Gershune Huntington Woods
Ensemble Ariel Rush Macomb
Ensemble Jerrrell Lomax Oak Park
Wig & Makeup Design Buddy VanLoon Oak Park
Co-Producer Amy Wilson Oak Park
James Thunder Early Dyrel Johnson Redford
Ensemble Crystal Foster Royal Oak
Sweetheart/Ensemble Colleen Genette Royal Oak
Music Director Julie Malloy Royal Oak
Sweetheart/Ensemble Sara Rydzewski Royal Oak
Costume Design Dolly Scheibelhut Royal Oak
Stage Manager Theresa Williams Royal Oak
Jerry/Ensemble Randy Wrisinger Royal Oak
Sweetheart/Ensemble Kristen Zublick Royal Oak
Co-Producer Linda Zublick Royal Oak
Sound Design Bob Minchella Sterling Heights
Lighting Design Matt Weber Walled Lake
Ensemble Mark Hinton Warren
Ensemble Nic Folson Wolverine Lake