Despite being a lover of musicals, Dreamgirls was a film that passed me by. All the music I’d heard from it wasn’t really my cup of tea (apart from One Night Only – that song is fab), and even seeing Beyonce absolutely smash Listen when she performed on the x factor all those years back didn’t sway me. However, I was a huge Glee fan back in the day so for £23 I had to see Amber Riley perform and see what all the fuss was about surrounding Dreamgirls.
Despite making it’s debut on Broadway over thirty years ago, Dreamgirls was brand new to the West End Stage last year. It follows the lives of three young girls in the 60s wanting to make it big in the music industry at a time that it was completely dominated by white men. Not much has changed in any industry then, I guess.
The choreography was cracking, which is to be expected since Casey Nicholaw was on board, having been nominated for multiple awards for choreography, and winning both the Tony and Olivier for choreography for The Book Of Mormon (one of my faves). Casey also directed the show and definitely did a great job.
The cast had incredible voices, fantastic acting skills and were amazing dancers – exactly what you can expect from a West End production. I did feel like the ensemble were overshadowed a little bit, but when you’ve got such big characters it’s easy to do.
And not just big characters. There was a big actress in the products too. For me, Amber Riley stole the show. She 100% deserved that Olivier Award win, and she is the sole reason that there was a standing ovation at the interval. In all my years of going to the theatre, this is the first time I’ve seen a standing-o at any point other than the end of the show! Take a watch of this clip from her singing at the Olivier Awards earlier this year then imagine you are in a fairly intimate theatre witnessing the same power. Many people cried. It was spectacular and to be honest, it’s worth buying a ticket to see Dreamgirls just to witness it.
I was disappointed that the two people I wanted to meet (Amber and Asmeret Ghebremichael – who played Lorell, but also was in Submissions Only which I have only just recently rewatched) didn’t come to the stage door to meet people but I suppose on a matinee of a two show day in the weather that we had at the weekend it could have been a bit much.
Overall, I’m not saying I’d see it again but if you want a classic show then definitely think about popping along to see it. It’s currently booking until October, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the booking period is extended!