Arts Collective Theatre opened their spring offering, Dreamgirls, to an enthusiastic audience Friday night. Called a “year long dream” by ACT director Chris Rabideau, Dreamgirls is a high energy trip to the past of show biz!
Before Friday’s performance Rabideau mentioned that Dreamgirls was the stage debut of ninety percent of the cast; a huge accomplishment for all involved. Despite the usual opening night hiccups, they handled every one like pros. And what an amazing musical to be involved with! A mixture of toe-tapping and heartfelt songs, Dreamgirls has it all with an engaging story that keeps the audience rapt. It’s such an empowering story as you watch these women navigate the exceptionally difficult world of the music industry, and see them take control of their lives at a time where that wasn’t common. By the finale, the positivity and amazing music shakes the rafters!
“The Dreams,” performed by Valene Daniel, Rochelle Day and Florine Ndimubandi, were stellar with vocal performances that brought down the house! Most audience members know the famous “I’m Not Going” number which closes out the first act, and Florine Ndimubandi definitely did not disappoint! Their harmonies could not be beat, and when they performed individually, they were just as impressive. Tony Coates, who plays their manager Curtis Taylor Jr. has a voice as smooth as silk, and made for a great male foil to “The Dreams.” Also of note was Verzell’s adept portrayal of the wild, unpredictable, and vivacious Jimmy “Thunder” Early. The whole ensemble clearly put in hard work and great effort into each scene, each dance number, each transition; it was exciting across the board!!
For a musical about the music industry, I was thrilled to see the entire band on stage. Aloft above the action, having them in full view at all times was a welcome treat and really enhanced the moments where the characters themselves were performing.
The set itself was impressive, as its versatility allowed for both ‘back stage’ and ‘on stage’ views, and very interesting lighting effects. The costumes are what truly transported the audience to the various periods of the musical. From glittery gowns to sock-hop style daily wear to three-piece suits, it was a beautiful blast from the past! With such a large ensemble, as well as the many performance outfits for “The Dreams” it was a marvel, and amazing to watch time pass via their outfits and wigs.
All you have to do is dream and get to the Capitol Theatre to see ACT’s Dreamgirls which is still on stage April 27 and 28 at 8pm and April 29 at 2pm.