Thinking about springing for tix for Dreamgirls? Let me help you off the fence. Maybe you've seen the movie, love the music, think Jennifer Hudson cannot be surpassed as Effie, the big singer with big dreams. After all, she won like a zillion awards for that role, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. It's a tough act to follow.
But last night, I was blown back in my seat by Moya Angela's Effie at opening night of Dreamgirls' limited engagement in Seattle. Goosebumps. When Angela threw back her head for the final lines of "And I am Telling You I'm Not Going"...well, it was one of the most electrifying theater experiences of my life. There might have been...tears.
Take nothing away from the rest of the cast - this show's been around, but this production is notable for its launch at Harlem's Apollo Theater, and includes a new version of "Listen" (now a duet!) that is nothing short of soaring.
If you've got a teen, take 'em along. The story's message about staying true to yourself, chasing dreams, and leaving oppresive relationships far outweigh the occasional raunch in the choreography. My 13-year-old was transfixed. Oh - and she loved seeing an American Idol alum in the cast: Syesha Mercado.