Directed by Bob Hardin
Through July 14
At $35 per ticket, Dreamgirls is a little pricey. But, it’s worth the money. Exempting the sound issues that marred Friday night’s show, it’s a local production that could compete with a touring show.
Dreamgirls is a collaboration between the Madam Walker Theatre and Scottish Rite Performing Arts. Through July 2, it will play at the Walker. Then, the show will be transported to the Scottish Rite Cathedral, where the run will continue through July 14.
Set in the late ’60s/early ’70s, the show is about a trio of women who want to be singing sensations. The almost two and a half hour musical takes us from The Dreamettes’ beginnings to The Dreams’ last performance at a brisk pace that keeps the plot, and audience interest, intact.
The music from the cast and on-stage orchestra is nothing short of outstanding.
Making up The Dreamettes/The Dreams are Trenyce, Joyce Licorich, Lyn MacDonald and, later, Amy Biddle. American Idol finalist Trenyce as Deena, a backup singer who takes over the lead, is lovely, and her smooth voice creates a sound for The Dreams that could easily have taken the group to the top of the charts. The powerhouse of the original trio, though, is Licorich, who performs locally and with Indianapolis Opera. Her’s are the rigorous songs that extract the most audience reaction. Licorich gets to belt out two of the best-loved songs from Dreamgirls: “(And I’m Telling You) I’m Not Going” and “I Am Changing.” MacDonald gets her raucous moment in the spotlight, too, with “Ain’t No Party.”
Bill Myers (Kiss of the Spider Woman at Theatre on the Square) as Curtis Taylor (and also the producer of the show), the women’s manager, is even better here than he was in Spider Woman, and that was a remarkable show. Karlton D. Turner as Jimmy Early is fun on stage, especially in “Rap” (“Jimmy got soul!”).
Phillip Armstrong (Coalhouse Jr. in Ragtime at the Civic Theater and Detroit in From My Hometown at the Phoenix Theatre) as C.C., the group’s songwriter, and Quentin Darrington as Jimmy’s manager Marty are amazing singers we get to hear too little of.
Direction (Bob Harbin), costuming (Jeff Farley), choreography (Kenny Shepard), set (Bernie Killian) and the orchestra are all excellent. This could be one of the best musicals Indianapolis has ever seen — as long as the sound equipment gets fixed.
For more information on the production, see www.dreamgirlsindianapolis.com. For tickets, go through Ticketmaster.