Thursday, April 01, 2010

Oooo, sparkly!

For a brief moment, I imagined myself at the Apollo Theatre watching musical acts perform as I would have had I lived in New York during the 60s. In this way, Dreamgirls was unlike any other musical performance I have ever attended. I didn't feel like I was watching a story being told through song and dance. For me, it was more like attending several live concerts.

The sparkling costumes, the dazzling lights and the quick pace of the show added to the sense of a concert setting. The rise and fall story of The Dreams is not lost, however, nor were the stories of personal growth, love, and the ugliness of fame. In general, the actors gave solid performances.  I wondered throughout the play how many other people beside me were comparing the performances of Patrice Covington (Effie White) and Syesha Mercado (Deena Jones), to those of Jennifer Hudson (American Idol fame) and Beyonce Knowles (Destiny's Child and R&B/pop star) from the film version. Covington and Mercado basically mimic the performances of the film stars, but this is probably a show more about the music than the acting so it's ok.

Interestingly enough, Mercado is also a former American Idol contestant (7th season). Looks like Dreamgirls has been good to the AI franchise. Or maybe it's the other way around.

IMHO, Dreamgirls is a story better suited for live theatre than it is for the big screen. I left the movie feeling like I watched a 3-hour movie. I left the play feeling like I had just danced and sung myself silly after a concert. This would be a great play to introduce youth to live theatre and get them inspired. It seems a shame that the ticket prices aren't friendlier for families, or that there isn't a special performance for schools (at least, not that I could tell).

If you attend, be prepared for lots of flashing lights and powerful singing. Dreamgirls ends its run at the Ahmanson Theatre this Sunday, April 4th.


No comments: