Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 17:22

She hasn't gone yet

Written by Bob Wilcox
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

  • Director: Robert Clater
  • Dates: July 16-22, 2012
muny.org
muny.org

Thirty years after its huge Broadway success, Dreamgirls has made it to The Muny. One can speculate about why it took this musical longer to get to Forest Park than other late 20th century megahits like Les Miz, Miss Saigon, or Jesus Christ Superstar. But it's here now.

Dreamgirls really is all show business. Most of its numbers are performed on a stage within the story, and when they're not, they're usually backstage. So we don't need much scenery to make the Muny stage look like a stage.

The Muny's director, Robert Clater, worked on Dreamgirls with Michael Bennett, its original director, and he and set designer Michael Anania have followed Bennett's lead. Unlike most Muny shows, Dreamgirls has no trompe l'oeil painted sets. Even the Muny's moving wings are simply painted black. Six light towers move about the stage, shaping the space with Seth Jackson's light design. The occasional table or chair appears when needed. The LED screen plays a significant role in these designs; this show makes the best use yet of this new addition to the Muny's resources.

If you want color and spectacle, look to the costumes, credited to John Furrow as “costume technician,” which I assume means they're rented from a previous production. They're fine, both celebrating and lightly mocking the styles of the 1960s and '70s, the times of the rise and disintegration of the Supremes-like girl group the Dreams in Tom Eyen's book and lyrics. Henry Krieger's music – not a great score, but serviceable – and Lesia Kaye's inventive choreography also celebrate and mock the period.

Thirty years ago, Jennifer Holliday won a Tony for her performance as Effie White in the original Broadway production and a Grammy for her recording of Effie's desperate cry when she discovers she's been replaced in the Dreams, “And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.” Now she's reprising the role at The Muny. You can see why she got the Tony, though she can't match the youth of her partners. And I was a little disappointed with “And I Am Telling You.” The emotion is devastating, but the music comes and goes. I was much more taken with her second-act, career-reviving number, “I Am Changing.”

Demetria McKinney and Jenelle Lynn Randall, lovely and talented, grow and change as the other Dreams, with Karla Mosley as Effie's replacement. Christopher Jackson is deviously smooth as silk as the Dreams' creator, and Milton Craig is rough-hewn as R&B star James Thunder Early, with Ken Page, rock-solid, as his manager. Tommar Wilson charms as Effie's brother, a composer. Everyone in the cast is sharp and tight. And musical director Darren Ledbetter drives the show forward with the most enthusiastic conducting I've seen at the Muny.

An episodic piece, Dreamgirls alternates powerful numbers and filler. The power dominates at The Muny, and it's a rare chance to see Jennifer Holliday in the role that made her a star.

Additional Info

  • Director: Robert Clater
  • Dates: July 16-22, 2012

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

January
Saturday
17

Recording Clinic with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


January
Sunday
18

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes The Boogers

The Boogers are the brainchild of Dr. Paul Crowe. Fatherhood, a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and 20 years of sloggin' it in wretched clubs as a punk rocker - even opening for Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone - formed Paul's...


February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

6 users and 11650 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook