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DREAMGIRLS - National Tour to Open at the Apollo 

For a new production of DREAMGIRLS, I'd prefer to see...
... the original Michael Bennett staging. 64%  64%  [ 7 ]
... something that is as close to the film as possible. 27%  27%  [ 3 ]
... a completely revisionist take on the material. 9%  9%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 11

DREAMGIRLS - National Tour to Open at the Apollo 
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Post DREAMGIRLS - National Tour to Open at the Apollo
An article at Playbill says that the new national tour of Dreamgirls will open at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater in November 2009. The show will be directed by Robert Longbottom and co-choreographed by Longbottom and Shane Sparks. Robin Wagner, who did the set design for the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, will create new designs for the tour.

I wonder what this new staging is going to be like - more like the film in design and style than Michael Bennett's original staging, perhaps? Personally I'd rather see a reproduction of that iconic staging than a mish-mash that falls somewhere in between and, if Longbottom is going to do a new staging, I hope it's at the very least original in its vision.

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Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:13 pm
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I was fortunate to see the original staging in a 1997 national tour and would be thrilled to see it again. Bennett's original production was sleek, simple, and efficient. And the choreography was to die for.

I have a feeling they will blow the production out of proportion and make it more like the film ("One Night Only" sequence, anyone?)

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Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:46 pm
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I didn't realize that tour in the 90s used the original staging. Was it the very original Broadway one or the new staging Bennett did for the final tour (when he was alive) which had the actors moving those infamous poles themselves?

Either way I'd kill to see either staging. I have to admit, not being a huge Dreamgirls fan anyway, that I'd be far less interested in seeing another staging--uinless it happened to come to my small home town or something. But I wouldn't travel the way I would for Bennett's ;)


Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:16 pm
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Visually, it was identical to the original (including costume and lighting design), but the towers weren't automated, the moving bridge was gone, and the staircase at the top of act 2 was smaller.

From my souvenir brochure...

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Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:21 pm
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Post DREAMGIRLS casting
Casting has been announced for the Dreamgirls tour. From Playbill:

Andrew Gans and Adam Hetrick wrote:
Moya Angela will head the cast as Effie White.... [She] will be joined by "American Idol" finalist Syesha Mercado as Deena Jones, Adrienne Warren as Lorrell Robinson and Margaret Hoffman as Michelle Morris with Chaz Lamar Shepherd as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Chester Gregory as James "Thunder" Early, Trevon Davis as C.C. White and Milton Craig Nealy as Marty Madison.

John Breglio produces for Vienna Waits Productions.

"When we started planning this new production, I knew it was time to finally bring Dreamgirls to the Apollo. Throughout its history, the Apollo has been known as a proving ground where new talent has been discovered and nurtured and careers have been launched," said producer Breglio in a statement. "And that's what Dreamgirls is all about. The very first scene in Dreamgirls takes place right here at the Apollo's famous Amateur Night. What better place to launch a new production of this groundbreaking show?"


Thoughts?

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Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:06 pm
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I'll be seeing this just for Syesha. Bitch is FIERCE.

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Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:10 pm
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Post DREAMGIRLS Tour News
A BroadwayWorld photo flash introducing the cast of the Dreamgirls tour led me to the website for the production, which has some really interesting promotional videos where I learned the following:

1. As we already knew, "Listen" is in the show. But it has a new set of lyrics and is now a make-up/inspirational duet between Deena and Effie in the second act. There is a video of the two actresses singing the song at a press event. In a related article on Playbill, director Robert Longbottom says:

Robert Longbottom wrote:
The second act of Dreamgirls never had an 11 o'clock number. You have this fantastic moment where Effie and Deena face-off with each other. [Effie] says, 'I'm gonna stay and talk to the great Miss Jones.' And you think, OK, here it comes — we're finally gonna get this hair-pulling cat fight. It's a brand new lyric, and Deena offers a 'Didn't-he-do-the-same-thing-to-you?' kind of philosophy. The two of them break down and raise their voices together. It's a fantastic moment.

It might be... if somebody writes a decent set of lyrics. The lyrics definitely need - at the very least - another pass before they are finalised, but I suppose this is the version on which the creative team has settled. To me, they sound a little forced at times, not emanating from the characters in a way that is completely natural. Just not good enough....

2. Apparently there are other song revisions too. I hope they will not be for the worse. There is definitely a new Act II opening, written by original Dreamgirls composer Henry Krieger and Willy Reale (who wrote the lyrics for "Patience" for the film):

Robert Longbottom wrote:
We've done a new number at the top of the second act — which is something that I think [original creators] Michael Bennett and Bob Avian labored over. They had two different versions of it, both using the "Dreamgirls" [title] song. I wanted to find a new number. I think for Effie to come out at the end of the show and sing "Dreamgirls" again — which was her song, written for her — for it to really resonate, you can't have sung it that many times during the evening. We've got a great song, that feels very much like the Motown, called "What Love Can Do." But it's also filled with irony about that other side of that. This is the Dreams' song — they sing this at the very top of Act Two.

I guess we'll have to wait and see, but the whole point of the title songs being reprised there is that (a) we've seen it once, with Deena on leads and Effie on back up, making the point that Longbottom raises; (b) in this reprise, we see it totally taken from Effie, along with her dreams, which means that (c) we really get to feel how long it is before Effie finally gets to sing the song meant for her, when the final reprise comes along. The choice to reprise the song in the Act II opening supports the the dramatic action and makes the reprise resonate even more. Whether "What Love Can Do" actually manages to enrich the show remains to be seen. I hope it's not just another diegetic number in which the irony is so abstruse that it might as well not be there at all. Given the quality of the new lyrics thus far, I don't hold out much hope.

3. The design is based on a series of sliding panels. These are also on display in a video that shows some clips from the production underneath the interviews with the creative team. The design and direction are described as an homage to Bennett's original production. Similarly, the new costume designs are new, "while honoring the spirit of Theoni Aldredge’s original creations." The choreography is new and eclectic, incorporating a range of styles from hip-hop to lyrical.

Is anybody planning to see this at some stage?

Later days
David

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ugh. I want to see this SO bad!

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Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:02 am
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Post Photos / YouTube Promo
Playbill has a photo feature up and the pictures look pretty good, although some of the wigs seem like they've seen better days. Just two from the spread of eight:

Image
Image

There are some stunning shots of Moya Angela as Effie. Check them out.

YouTube has a video of the new Dreams for the Dreamgirls tour being introduced on the Wendy Williams show, followed by a short clip of the title song. I hope Robert Longbottom does a better job on this show than he did for Bye Bye Birdie. He doesn't seem to be able to push the performers to excellence or even get them to pitch the material at the right energy. This is a major reason why Bye Bye Birdie looks so lackluster to me and I was concerned about that watching the clip posted above too.

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Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:04 am
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The cast looks wonderful.

The costumes and wigs...:?

Looks like the set is a cross between Robin Wagner's original and the film designs. Cool.

I wonder why the Williams performance was so short? I need to see more.

But I can say they sound pretty darn good.

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Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:54 pm
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Post Longbottom - the Wildhorn of directors? / International Tour
Based on the feedback I've heard about this production, I'm beginning to think that Robert Longbottom is not a very good director. Perhaps he's not really a director-choreographer after all. He sounds like he is a choreographer who needs to be focused and grounded in the work by a director. He doesn't seem to be in the same league as Robbins, Fosse, Bennett or even Tune.

That said, I believe the production is still enjoyable despite Longbottom's work on it - although it definitely sounds like the best bits come straight from the Bennett staging. Still, there is an extended video preview of the show on BroadwayWorld TV and parts of it look pretty damn fantastic.

Anyway, Dreamgirls will be extending its stay at the Apollo for another week and will also be going international: it will be produced in London (2011-2012), South Africa (2011) and Australia (2012).

Hmmm... I don't suppose in the time it takes to get here, everyone will have realised that the Bennett staging was the work of a genius, that Longbottom shouldn't have been messed around with it and changed everything to the way it should be. :wink:

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Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:31 pm
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There's a really neat video montage over at the official Ahmanson Theatre site...

http://www.centertheatregroup.org/ticke ... awodThFGmg

I'm sooo there.

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Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:32 pm
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