Glee star Amber Riley makes her West End debut in a much-anticipated premiere of popular Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Star of the smash-hit show about the misfits who love music, Riley heads up the cast as Effie White, the role which earned Jennifer Hudson an Academy Award for the 2006 film. Dreamgirls charts the rise of Motown girl group “The Dreams” and began lighting up London’s Savoy Theatre from November 2016.
Dreamgirls first opened on Broadway in 1981 and was nominated for a staggering thirteen Tony Awards. After winning six Tony Awards and five Drama Desk Awards in 1982, the musical went on to win two Grammy Awards, including Best Cast Show Album. In 2006, the film which starred Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx was commended with several nominations.
Set in 1960’s Chicago during the dawning era of Rhythm and Blues, Dreamgirls follows three sensational singers as they journey to the top of the charts. “The Dreams” perform regularly and are soon discovered by Curtis Taylor, a former car salesman turned manager. Soon, the girls shoot to fame but are quick to realise that fame is not as fabulous as they once thought, when lead vocalist Effie is replaced by the more dazzling Deena. Based on the successes of music from The Supremes, The Shirelles and James Brown, Dreamgirls includes numbers such as ‘Family’, ‘I Am Changing’, ‘One Night Only’ and the showstopper ‘And I Am Telling You’.
Riley is best-known for her stint in America’s popular musical show Glee, in which she played the soul diva powerhouse, Mercedes Jones, who even sang ‘And I Am Telling You’ in one episode. Casey Nicholaw (Book of Mormon, Aladdin) directs the London revival, which features the original Award-winning book and score by Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger. Dreamgirls is produced by the prolific Sonia Friedman, whose shows are nominated for an impressive twenty Olivier Awards. Having began performances at the Savoy Theatre in November 2016, Dreamgirls is one of the most talked about shows of the year.
Fans of the film will love this stage revival, which first opened on Broadway. Dreamgirls contains very mild adult themes, but is overall suitable for all ages. Very young children will not be admitted into the theatre.