Dreamgirls at the Apollo

Deena Jones
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Dreamgirls at the Apollo#1
Posted: 11/7/09 at 8:37am
Did anyone attend the first preview? Please share...
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morosco
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#2
Posted: 11/7/09 at 5:16pm
And let us know how many musicians there are in the pit if you could.
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PalJoey
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#2
Posted: 11/7/09 at 5:20pm
Friends who went are raving.
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MamasDoin'Fine
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#3
Posted: 11/7/09 at 5:26pm
How long are they saying its return season in January will be???
holdyourbatboy
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#4
Posted: 11/7/09 at 6:02pm
Really enjoyed myself. It is a lot of fun, high energy from beginning to end. The opening 10 minutes were fantastic - the first time I saw the LED light towers I was VERY impressed. It is a great effect. However, they light up way too much in non-performance scenes. Anytime they were supposed to be stage lighting, they were effective, but when they are graphics like city skylines, cars, people - they were pretty cheesy. I thought the costumes were fantastic. Looked expensive to me. Definitely an homage to the original costume design.

As for the cast - mixed bag. Effie has the voice - it is an effortless, healthy sounding, endlessly high belt. However, her acting isn't top notch. It was the first preview, so she will definitely improve. The notes were all there, but the emotion wasn't quite there yet during "And I Am Telling You". However, it was still thrilling, the highlight of the show, and got an earning standing ovation at the last note of the song.

Chester Gregory gave the performance of the night - every element was there. He brought something new to Jimmy Early, which isn't easy. He is a dynamic performer, and this role is perfect for him.

This is a strong production, very high-tech, and will get better as they continue previews. I had a problem with the lighting, it was so bright at times that it took you out of the piece and made it hard to suspend belief. Those light towers would be much more exciting if they weren't lit up the entire time. Also, the images during the curtain call were ridiculous. The orchestra sounded terrific and was pretty large. They couldn't all fit on stage, so most of them played from another room. When they improve the mix, it'll help.

It is going to get bettter, I am sure. I look forward to hearing reports as it gets tighter and previews continue.
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morosco
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#5
Posted: 11/7/09 at 7:14pm
The orchestra sounded terrific and was pretty large. They couldn't all fit on stage, so most of them played from another room.

Wait...the orchestra is onstage and not in the pit?
WishingOnlyWounds2
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#6
Posted: 11/7/09 at 7:22pm
^^^
My thought exactly.
2008: Feb. 18- Rent, Feb. 19- Curtains, April 18- Xanadu, April 22- Wicked, April 26- Legally Blonde, May 31- Wicked, June 13- The Little Mermaid, June 28- Wicked and Young Frankenstein, July 2- The Little Mermaid, July 6- A Chorus Line and Legally Blonde, August 16- Xanadu, September 13- Legally Blonde and 13, September 28- Xanadu and Spring Awakening, Oct. 12-GYPSY and [title of show], Oct. 19- Hairspray & Legally Blonde, Nov. 9- Wicked and 13, Dec. 14-13, Dec. 26- Billy Elliot, 2009: Jan 1- Shrek, Jan 2- 13 and Wicked, Jan 4- 13, Feb 17- In The Heights, Feb 19- Billy Elliot, Feb 22- Sweeney Todd (tour), March 28- Mary Poppins, April 4- Mamma Mia!, April 15- Jersey Boys (on tour), April 25- next to normal & 9 to 5 May 1- Billy Elliot, May 3- Spelling Bee (tour), May 8- Chicago, May 21- Wicked, June 6- Everyday Rapture, June 23- The Wiz, June 25- Hair July 15- Shrek, August 9- Wicked, September 7- Rock of Ages, October 11- Next To Normal, October 23- The Marvelous Wonderettes, November 7- Ragtime November 29- Dreamgirls, December 25- Billy Elliot, December 30- Finian's Rainbow, 2010: January 9- Bye Bye Birdie, January 16- Memphis February 17- The Phantom of The Opera, February 18- God of Carnage, March 7- Billy Elliot, March 31- American Idiot
Updated On: 11/7/09 at 07:22 PM
holdyourbatboy
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#7
Posted: 11/7/09 at 8:14pm
there are just 4 band members that pop up from time to time when the characters are "performing" in a concert. Its actually a cool effect.
karma3
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#8
Posted: 11/7/09 at 8:24pm
Everyone I know is raving about it, though it seems that there have been some odd cuts? Anyone know what those are?
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#9
Posted: 11/8/09 at 3:28am
I believe the only band members I saw on stage were the keyboard player, drumset, piano, and one other...the rest were backstage, but sounded fantastic.

I'm too tired to give a full review, but I'll just say I loved it.
tommigyrl5
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#10
Posted: 11/8/09 at 2:48pm
I saw the show last night and I LOOOOVED it. I called my parents to buy tickets immediately. I was wonder what people would think of the projection light screens (LED screens? not sure of the actually name) but I thought it was very VERY cool. It was a great way to marry the old school sound and look of the show with very modern staging, choreography and lighting concept. I thought it was quite innovative to used them as a back drop, and to turn them 180 deg, making the stage look like a wing of another stage. (I dont know if that made sense...when they were turned, and a character was upstage of the screens, the upstage person acted to the Apollo theater's wings, as if acting to a fictitious audience and the people downstage of the screens, carried on as if they were back stage of the theater that the characters were performing at.) SO COOL.

I agree that Chester was by far the stand out. Such fun to watch him play a fully realized (human) character. His vocal choices realllly show off his range and skill, you could tell that his movements and silly dance choices were his and his alone. He has so much fun on stage and it shows. There is one entrance he makes in a HUGE fur coat that had me ROLLING on the floor. When he was on stage I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I hope Jason Moore sees this and craps his pants. If this show comes to Broadway, he'll get a Tony nomination for sure.

As for the dreams...I found Adrienne Warren (Lorrell) to be the most watchable of the dreams. She lived every inch of her character. I bet that she is very much like that in real life. She was fun and cute and young and she had more stage presence than the other 2 girls, even though I hear she was sick last night.

I agree that Moya Angela definitely has the voice but I wanted her to be more commanding on stage. And I am telling you was thrilling to see live and in context, but the next time I see the show I won't be surprised if I get just a HAIR bored. Not sure if thats her, the staging, what...but....we'll see.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed with Sayesha. She is BEAUTIFUL and I thought very convincing in the first act, but I found her to not fully live the celebrity that she garnered in act 2. Also, and I dont know if this is a sound mixing thing...it was a preview after all, I found her voice to be a little weak. Almost as if she were singing in a recording studio, not on stage at the APOLLO!! I am SURE that will change and she will come out of her shell in a few more performances.

All in all, I LOVED IT. And I had goosebumps in the scene with the newly penned "Listen" lyrics. It was so powerful and moving and I loved how they fit it into the story without any forced. It falls in a very natural place really changed the characters points of view.

Applause, Applause, Applause. Get your tickets soon.


Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#11
Posted: 11/8/09 at 5:26pm
Can anyone please describe the staging that was done for the opening number of Act 2?
bobbystrong
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#12
Posted: 11/9/09 at 12:01am
I would also like to say how much I enjoyed it. Tommigyrl is right - the design of the production is jawdropping - those huge towers are one second bright lights for a "performance", and then flip to become shadow-filled backstage areas/dressing rooms that their real lives unfold in.

The last 20 minutes of the first act move with more energy and excitement than most new musicals on Broadway. Starting with "Heavy" through to the explosive "And I Am Telling You" - performers, staging, design all come together with dazzling theatricality.

Moya Angela is going to get better and better. Getting through the vocal demands of that role 8 times a week will take some figuring out. I think once she settles in, she will be able to focus on acting and taking command of the stage even more than she already does. I appreciated the fact that her voice always sounded healthy and not strained, as many Effie's end up sounding. Every person I was with agreed that Chester Gregory gave the most fully realized, outstanding performance of the evening. What a triple threat. At intermission a friend from another section of the theater texted me that Chester Gregory is his favorite. This is quite a task after "And I Am Telling You" just stopped the show. This is a tony-worthy performance.

Can't wait to see it again.
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#13
Posted: 11/9/09 at 8:34am
Deena, Act 2 opens with the Dreams jetting off. Led screen effect style, and then arriving to a press conference.

I really loved the show. A perfect fit for the Apollo. I thought the led screens were most effective in Stepping To The Bad Side.

Standout is Chester Gregory a cross between Morris Day and James Brown.

Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#14
Posted: 11/9/09 at 10:00am
Thanks Joe. So, its my understanding that the Las Vegas opening number is gone? UGH...


Updated On: 11/9/09 at 10:00 AM
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#15
Posted: 11/9/09 at 10:46am
Deena, I remember Act 2 opening with the Dreams decending a staircase. Is that what you are refering to ?
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#16
Posted: 11/9/09 at 11:18am
The second act opener changed several times when Dreamgirls originally opened on Broadway. Michael Bennett was never really happy with it. When the show first opened, the Dreams were in Vegas descended from the flies and danced up and down the staircase that split and moved. This was to a medly of their "hits". It was then changed to a number showcasing more of Deena- of which can be heard on the Actors Fund version. Beyonce does a small segment of this in her last tour which you can find on youtube. The national tour that came back to broadway after the origianl show closed also used a "version" of this but pared down with the staircase being moved by the male dancers. This was cut from the movie and could have been great.

Any more info on Apollo staging of this number would be great. What music/song do they use?

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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#17
Posted: 11/9/09 at 11:24am
Act II doesn't open with the Dreams descending a staircase. They just enter one by one from stage left if I remember correctly.

I'm sorry, but Chester Gregory wasn't the stand out for me. Yes, I thought he was good, but at times I felt like he was trying too hard to get a laugh when he should have been more invested in the scene.

For example...after "Ain't No Party," it's as if he didn't hear a single thing Lorrell had just told him. I felt like Chester (the actor) was just thinking about how to get his next laugh. I think that scene is a place where it's okay for Jimmy to be humanized a little more.

Just my opinion...

Like I said, I still thought he was great! I really loved the show overall. Adrienne Warren was the stand out for me. I thought she was sensational and totally dedicated to the character development of Lorrell. Her "Ain't No Party" was pretty incredible.
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#18
Posted: 11/9/09 at 11:29am
Thanks Buff. Can you recall what they are singing and what they are wearing? Was there any staircase in that number?
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#19
Posted: 11/9/09 at 11:44am
Deena, There is only one piece of scenery. And it's a desk, used for several purposes.

They are being interviewed, and they sing a one word response. The song was new for me. But the costumes are stunning, and there are many in the Vegas sequence.

Buff, I was refering to the orginal.

And in comparsion to the orginal. They really have moved the story. To be more about girl enpowerment.
Updated On: 11/9/09 at 11:44 AM
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#20
Posted: 11/9/09 at 12:53pm
Hmmmm. Sounds like they do the press conference- "tell us ms. Jones..." before they do their Vegas act in this verson... I wonder why? It doens't sound like a big opener for Act 2!
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#21
Posted: 11/9/09 at 3:18pm
Does anyone have the song order? Have the perfomances been sold out?
tommigyrl5
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#22
Posted: 11/9/09 at 3:47pm
Buff....I think the whole point of Ain't no party is that Jimmy doesn't think she is really all that serious. This is a conversation the 2 characters have had many many times before, what make this time any different? Just my opinion.

Deena Jones....why dont you just go see the show? Are you not sure if its worth it or something? You can go to the Apollo's website and check if its sold out...
Updated On: 11/9/09 at 03:47 PM
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#23
Posted: 11/9/09 at 4:21pm
Tommi, I am definitely seeing the show- next Tuesday in fact. I was really wondering what was going on with the Act 2 opening as it has been staged so many different ways in the past- the movie cutting it entirely. It looks like Longbottom is doing something completely different here its just that I can't seem to get a concise answer. I am not sure if its because none of the posters have been to the prior Bway engagements and have nothing to compare this Apollo version to.

I was also curious to see how its been selling.
Deena Jones
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re: Dreamgirls at the Apollo#24
Posted: 11/11/09 at 9:51am
Anyone else go? More please!