Glitz and glamour usher in the ‘Dreamgirls’

Thu, 07/26/2007 - 4:24pm
By: The Citizen

Final weekend to catch must-see show

Glitz and glamour usher in the ‘Dreamgirls’

This weekend, Theater of the Stars in association with the 2007 National Black Arts Festival, will present the final performances of the recently revived musical “Dreamgirls.” Starring Jennifer Holliday in the role she made famous 25 years ago, “Dreamgirls” will play at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta through Sunday, July 29. Theater patrons who remember the original or were made aware of the show through the recent film should be sure to snap up tickets to one of the few remaining shows.

“We are thrilled to present the 25th anniversary production of ‘Dreamgirls’ starring Jennifer Holliday,” stated Christopher B. Manos, producer of Theater of the Stars.

“Dreamgirls,” which has recently been brought back to national attention due to last year’s feature film based on the original Broadway production, is a fascinating look inside the 1960’s music industry. Holliday reprises her Tony award winning role as Effie, the troubled star of a legendary female singing group, with intense loyalty to the role. Filled with showbiz glitz and glamour, romance and heartbreak, the musical features songs such as “Dreamgirls,” “I am Changing,” “I Miss You Old Friend” and Effie’s show-stopping signature song, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.”

Two-time Grammy award winner Jennifer Holliday was discovered singing in a Houston choir and made her Broadway debut in the musical revival of “Your Arms Too Short To Box With God.” From there she was cast as Effie in “Dreamgirls” by Michael Bennett and helped create the role. Prior to Holliday’s involvement in the original “Dreamgirls” production, the role of Effie was not considered the star of the show, and in fact was written out of the original incarnation at the end of the first act. With Holliday’s input, Bennett rewrote the role to be the central character leading the way for the famously redemptive second act.

Other Broadway credits for Holliday include “Chicago,” “Grease,” “Down-Hearted Blues: The Story of Bessie Smith,” “Sing, Mahalia, Sing: The Story of Mahalia Jackson” and “Harlem Suite.” Holliday won over a new generation of fans with her recurring role on the popular television series “Ally McBeal.” When she is not busy touring the country with concert appearances, she sings with her church choir.

Joining Holliday is an extremely talented cast including Cindy Herron-Braggs as Deena, the back-up to lead singer of the Dreamettes. Herron-Braggs has numerous film and television credits but is best known as an original member of the hit recording group EnVogue.

David Jennings portrays Curtis Taylor Jr., the shady used-car salesman who becomes the Dreamettes' manager. His credits include starring in “Once Upon a Mattress” with Sarah Jessica Parker on Broadway and in London, playing the lead role in “The Genius of Ray Charles” in London’s West End, and the national tours of “Ragtime,” “Miss Saigon” and “The Civil War” with Larry Gatlin.

Eugene Fleming steps into the shoes of James “Thunder” Early, the flamboyantly dressed R&B star known for his outlandish costumes and womanizing ways. Fleming’s extensive Broadway credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Tap Dance Kid,” “Black & Blue,” “Swingin’ On A Star,” “Kiss Me Kate” and more.

J. Bernard Calloway stars in the role of Marty, James “Thunder” Early loyal and long-time manager. Most recently Calloway played the lead in “Othello” at the American Stage Theatre Company in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Brandi Chavonne Massey boasts a knock-out performance as Lorrell, one of the original Dreamettes. Massey’s Broadway credits include “Wicked,” “Caroline Or Change” and “Jekyll And Hyde.” She was also seen as Nala in “The Lion King” in London’s West End.

Destan Owens portrays Effie’s brother and Dreamettes songwriter C.C. White. His film credits include “Marie and Bruce” with Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick and “Get Rich or Die Trying” with 50 Cent. Broadway credits include “Chicago,” “Rent,” and “Smokey Joe’s Café.” Nicole Alesi stars as Michelle, the singer who replaces Effie as a member of the Dreamettes at the end of the first act. Her regional credits include “Aida,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” James Harkness, who portrays Wayne- one of Thunder Early’s producers, was in the world premiere of “The Color Purple” here in Atlanta and then appeared in the show on Broadway. Other credits include “Aida” on Broadway and Dreamgirls-The 20th Anniversary Concert for the Actors Fund.

The director for this special 25th anniversary production of “Dreamgirls” is Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, the musical director and conductor is Robert Strickland and the choreographer is Kevyn Morrow.

“Dreamgirls” books and lyrics are by Tom Eyen with music by Henry Krieger. The original Broadway production was directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett with orchestrations by Harold Wheeler.

Remaining performance for the 25th anniversary production of “Dreamgirls” starring Jennifer Holliday are Friday, July 27 at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 29 at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster at 404-817-8700 and For group ticket information contact Fox Theatre Group Sales at 404-881-2000.

Theater of the Stars is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year. To learn more about their history, visit

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