Monday, April 26, 2010

Dreamgirls: Now Showing at OCPAC

Acting, singing, dancing: the triple threat that gets me every time. Throw in live music, glitter, and comedy, and I'm sold. Within the first five seconds of Act I in Dreamgirls, I got it all.

Dreamgirls, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom, is making its debut at the Orange County Permorming Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Dreamgirls tells the story of Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson, and Effie White, three rising singers, trying to make it big in the 1960s, while in the dreary company of adversity, heartbreak, and sacrifice. Their on-stage, show stoppin' performance is burdened and eventually curtailed by their off-stage diva drama.

Adrienne Warren (Lorrell), Syesha Mercado (Deena) and Margaret Hoffman (Michelle) (c) Joan Marcus

The story begins at a talent contest where The Dreamettes (the girls singing group) are offered their very first gig as backup singers to James "Thunder" Early. Lead singer Effie White proclaims, "I ain't singing behind nobody!" From the start, Effie reveals her frontman arrogance. They accept the job, but because of Effie's attitude and the nature of the cost of fame, the girls ride a slippery slope to stardom. 

After a stint of backing for James Early, The Dreamettes' manager Curtis Taylor, Jr., who is quite the hustler, transforms the trio into their own group: the Dreams. He makes drastic changes, moving Deena to the front of the group, and Effie to the back. With her ego wounded, Effie lashes out. To Effie, Deena has stolen her lead and stolen her man. Jimmy tries to tell Effie, "The best survive no matter where they're put." But, Effie leaves the group, giving a very emotional farewell with the number "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", demanding "you're gonna love me". 

 Moya Angela (Effie) (c) Joan Marcus 

Act II follows the cast on their individual paths as they try to find their way back to where they belong. Effie makes a refined comeback as a solo artist. She ends up going head to head with Deena and the Dreams, fighting on the music charts with the number "One Night Only". Will the girls reunite and put aside their diva differences? Or will the 'fame monster' eat them alive?

Moya Angela stuns us as Effie with powerhouse, velvety smooth vocals that will seep down into your soul. Her character's trials pull at your heartstrings, and make you want to rise up on your feet and join her in a march against everyone who has wronged her, despite the fact that she's dug her own grave.

Chester Gregory (James Early), Syesha Mercado (Deena), Moya Angela (Effie) and Adrienne Warren (Lorrell) (c) Joan Marcus

A colorful, talented supporting cast provides a refreshing break from the show's relationship drama. Chester Gregory steals the show as James Early, and continually provides comic relief. His singing and dancing is reminiscent of favored 50s- and 60s-era hit makers: a mash of Chuck Berry/Elvis Presley/Otis Redding/Little Richard/James Brown (mixed in with a little of Dave Chappelle's impression of Rick James). He has rhythm and blues running through his bones. "I'm Jimmy and I've got to have soul!"

The company of DREAMGIRLS (c) Joan Marcus
Dreamgirls is a feast for the senses: an ever-interesting ensemble of glittery costumes, brilliant lighting, soulful R & B singing, and sensational dance moves. This production hails straight from Harlem's Apollo Theater, and features a cast whose presence is larger than life as they give their all in this heart and soul performance. 

Orange County Performing Arts Center – Segerstrom Hall

April 26 – May 2
Monday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, May 1 will be sign-language interpreted.

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Tickets:      Start at $20
In person - The Center Box Office:
                  600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                  Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Online -
Phone -      714.556.2787
                  Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
TTY number -   714.556.2746
Group Services - 714.755.0236

Coming Soon to OCPAC: The Lion King - May 26th through June 13

- Sara
Listening to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" from Dreamgirls

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails