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GLEE's Amber Riley to Lead DREAMGIRLS as 'Effie' in the West End This Winter

By: Feb. 04, 2016
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Big news in the DREAMGIRLS world tonight! The Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye just revealed the news that GLEE and THE WIZ LIVE! star Amber Riley will play 'Effie' when the musical makes its UK debut at London's Savoy Theatre this winter. Tickets will go on sale this spring.

Beginning previews in November with an opening set for December, Riley, who performed the signature tunes "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Am Changing" from DREAMGIRLS while playing 'Mercedes Jones' on FOX's GLEE, will make her West End debut.

In a statement, Riley said working on the London stage is "a dream realized" and "I just feel like this is going to be something special!"

Producer Sonia Friedman told the Mail that when Riley auditioned for DREAMGIRLS Friedman "was crying, because I was overwhelmed by the emotion and passion she put into the number. And also crying with utter excitement and pure joy, relief and happiness that this girl was going to be able to give this performance in the UK. Her voice is a gift from God!"

Riley also recently knocked viewers' socks off with her portrayal of 'Addapearle' in NBC's THE WIZ LIVE!

As previously reported, Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Something Rotten!) will helm and choreograph the production.

The London show will open more than three decades after the original Broadway production, which was directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett and starred Jennifer Holliday as 'Effie'. It won six 1982 Tony Awards, for Best Book (Tom Eyen), Best Actor (Ben Harney), Best Actress (Holliday), Best Featured Actor (Cleavant Derricks), Best Lighting Design (Tharon Musser), and Best Choreography (Bennett & Michael Peters).

Bill Condon's 2006 film adaptation featured Jennifer Hudson as 'Effie'.

DREAMGIRLS has music by Henry Krieger and book & lyrics by Tom Eyen. Inspired by R&B music acts in 1960s America, DREAMGIRLS transports you to a revolutionary time in American music history. DREAMGIRLS charts the tumultuous journey of a young female singing trio, from Chicago, Illinois called 'The Dreams', as they learn the hard lesson that show business is as tough as it is fabulous and features the classic songs "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," "I Am Changing" and "One Night Only."

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Photo Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC