As more tickets were released for the long-awaited UK premiere of Dreamgirls (the new booking period will extend performances at the Savoy Theatre until 6 May 2017), Musical Theatre Review’s Tal Fox went along to rehearsals for a sneak peek:
“It’s hard to believe that the cast of Dreamgirls is only into its second week of rehearsals, having seen a sneak peek of the show at London’s Jerwood Space this morning.
The cast performed three polished performances from the musical which will begin performances in November and open in December of this year.
Liisi LaFontaine (Deena Jones), Ibinabo Jack (Lorrell Robinson) and Candace Furbert (a member of the ensemble who stood in for an injured Amber Riley during more animated performances) were joined by Adam J Bernard (Jimmy Early) to sing ‘Fake Your Way to the Top’.
Riley (Effie White) then took centrestage to sing, ‘I Am Changing’ which received a standing ovation and a few tears from her fellow cast mates.
Finally, Joe Aaron Reid (Curtis Taylor Jr), Adam J Bernard, Tyrone Huntley (C.C. White), Nicholas Bailey (Marty) and the ensemble performed the energetic, ‘Steppin’ to the Bad Side’.
Dreamgirls transports you back to the early 1960s music scene of Chicago, Illinois where a trio called The Dreams begin their journey in the industry with the help of Curtis Taylor Jr, a car salesman and music producer.
They learn that being famous isn’t all it seems to be and that there is more to it than the glitz and glamour of performing on stage.
Producer Sonia Friedman brought Dreamgirls to the UK once before for a one-off charity performance in the 1980s. During a Q&A, for which she was joined by the show’s director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw, Freidman commented: “I first became aware of the musical in the mid-eighties, two or three years after it had opened.
“We ended up doing ‘One Night Only’ at the Leicester Haymarket and it was like a concert version. That’s when a really small privileged group of about 800 people got to hear and see the musical.”
Friedman talked about how she regarded Dreamgirls to be one of Broadway’s greatest shows and one that she had spent years trying to get her hands on.
“For those of you who don’t know it, you’re in for the most extraordinary treat,” she added, “my tape is so worn out there’s a jump in it, and when I hear the music here I’m waiting for the jump.”
Nicholaw is also a massive fan of the show: “It has basically been my favourite show of all time. From the minute I moved to New York, I saw it at least six times. I was just in love with it and always wanted to stage it if there was a revival.
“When The Book of Mormon was nominated for the Oliviers, and we were rehearsing for the awards show during the day, Sonia just walked by and said: ‘Just got the rights to Dreamgirls, you interested?’ My jaw just dropped: ‘WHAT?’ So that was a really good day.”
When asked about a special moment in the show, both refused to reveal exactly what they were referring to. However, they did describe the reaction of the team when they saw it in the design meeting. What could that be?”
* Dreamgirls has preview performances at the Savoy Theatre from 19 November and opening night on Wednesday 14 December 2016.
* The production has also announced a partnership with TodayTix. The latter will run a Dreamgirls £15 Front Row Lottery, offering tickets daily, across all performances, via the free theatre ticket app.
The exclusive mobile lottery will open for entries from midnight, then close four and a half hours prior to the performance, with winners drawn at random and notified via email and push notification. Users who share the lottery on Twitter and/or Facebook via the app receive an additional entry for each platform. Everyone has the potential of three entries per performance, and can continue to apply daily for as many performances as desired.
Tickets for Dreamgirls are available HERE.
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