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Anika Noni Rose Cast as Lorrell in Film Version of Dreamgirls

Anika Noni Rose has been cast as Lorrell Robinson in the upcoming film version of Dreamgirls.

According to both IMDB and Zap2it, the Tony Award-winner will play the vivacious singer who with Effie Melody White and Deena Jones, is a member of the Supremes-like girl group The Dreams.

A number of other actors have been cast in the film, which will begin shooting in January of 2006 and will be released in December of that year. Eddie Murphy will play soul superstar James "Thunder" Early, for whom the Dreams sing backup early in the show. Murphy joins pop superstar Beyoncé Knowles as the glamorous Deena (said to be based on Diana Ross), and Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx as Dreams manager Curtis Taylor Jr. The latter actor has been pushing for "American Idol" star Fantasia Barrino to land the towering central role of Effie, the phenemonally talented vocalist who is considered unmarketable as the lead singer of The Dreams, and who is dropped in favor of Deena. "If Fantasia does the movie it's completely in the stratosphere," he commented to Zap2it.

, which will be co-produced by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, will be directed by Bill Condon, the Academy Award-winner who received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the film version of Chicago. He will also adapt the screenplay from Tom Eyen's book (Eyen also wrote the lyrics to Henry Kreiger's music).

Noni Rose garnered a Tony Award for her performance as Emmie Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change; she also received a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for her work. Other credits include the Broadway production of Footloose, the off-Broadway show Eli's Comin' (for which she won an Obie Award), Purlie at Encores!, and stagings of The Threepenny Opera and Tartuffe. Her TV credits include "Third Watch" and "100 Centre Street," and she has previously been seen on screen in Surviving Christmas, Temptation and From Justin to Kelly.

Dreamgirls opened at the Imperial Theatre on December 20th, 1981. A smash hit, it ran for 1521 performances and won 8 of it 15 Tony nominations. The show featured a score by Henry Krieger and Tow Ewen, a book by Ewen, scenic design by Robin Wagner, costume design by Theoni V. Aldredge and lighting design by Tharon Musser. Dazzlingly staged by Michael Bennett, the show nonetheless lost the Best Musical Tony to Nine. Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine were the three Dreams, and Cleavant Derricks, Ben Harney and Obba Babatunde were also featured. Dreamgirls was revived in 1987 with Lillias White, Alisa Gyse and Arnetia Walker. Heather Headley, Audra McDonald and White headlined the 2001 Actors' Fund benefit concert.

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