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Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

silent
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Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#0
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:02am
R.C: How do you feel about Dreamgirls getting the Hollywood treatment?

SLR: It's hard. Believe or not in the 1980's when Dreamgirls opened we completely changed theater, we changed who came to the theater, and who was interested in theater. And now 25 years later, people find it so easy to act like we didn't do what we did. Loretta Divine and Vondie Curtis Hall were in the original company, there were some great folks who are still working today.

R.C: How do you feel about Beyonce portraying the role you originally bought to life - Deena Jones?

SLR: It's interesting, when Tom Eyen who is the creator, had this idea, he said that the Dreams, have to be three obviously black girls. Why? Because America will always go for that light, bright, long haired black girl because they will feel comfortable building her up, since they see themselves in her.

But for the obviously black girl, if she makes it, she deserves to be right there. Because they aren't trying to push her, that's why the Dreams had to be three obviously black girls.

So when they cast Beyonce in the role of Deena Jones. I said, "Wow, this is exactly what Tom Eyen said would happen." They going to take to that light, bright blackish blonde girl because they feel comfortable with her. That's the reality.

R.C: Who would you have cast as Deena Jones?

SLR: That's hard because the industry isn't pushing her, so you don't have an obvious one to pick from. The closest one I can think of, that's an obvious black girl with that glamour thing to her is Lauryn Hill. Heather Headley is kind of close but she's not Deena. You know Deena is Diana Ross, she's a drama girl, an out right glamour girl.

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LizzieCurry
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#1
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:02am
Source?
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
FosseBoi
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#2
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:07am
Thats quite interesting...
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silent
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#3
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:31am
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Michael Bennett
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#4
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:32am
That is interesting, and I suppose with some validity. But the other side of that arguement, is that in that time and place in America and in the music industry, the "lightest," prettiest member of an all black trio would be the one pushed by the record producers. I don't know if that is an angle that is being at all explored in the Condon treatment, but even if it isn't: Beyonce looks pretty "black" in the footage I've seen, which is to say that in the wigs/makeup etc, she doesn't look that different from Hudson and Rose in terms of skin tone.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#5
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:48am
I'm not 100% sure what she means. Isn't Deena having a lighter skin art imitating life in her opinion? Wouldn't that add yet another layer to the story.
I have NEVER met Cheyenne Jackson. I have never hung out with him in his dressing room, he did not tweet me, he never bought me a beverage, and he mostly certainly didn't tickle me. . .that is all.
silent
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#6
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:03am
While you can give a flip side to the argument, Sheryl spoke on what the CREATOR of the story said what the girls should be. And obviously the film's producers chose otherwise.

Everyone and their mama says that Miss Knowles is the perfect Deena but I don't buy it.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#7
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:03am
*double post*
Updated On: 6/26/06 at 01:03 AM
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#8
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:09am
I'm not saying anything about it until I see the movie. All of her other acting endvors made me want to puke. But, I being the open minded guy that I am, will see her as Deena with an open mind.
I have NEVER met Cheyenne Jackson. I have never hung out with him in his dressing room, he did not tweet me, he never bought me a beverage, and he mostly certainly didn't tickle me. . .that is all.
silent
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#9
Posted: 6/26/06 at 1:22am
She won't totally bomb in the role but she just is NOT a good actress. I could care less about her stardom bringing people into see this movie either. And people kill me with this whole "she'll sing it better than Sheryl" business. Knowles may have more vocal chops but Sheryl's take on those songs was brilliant. While Hudson may not live up to Holliday's greatness as Effie, Beyonce will not come close to Sheryl's legendary performance either.
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TonyaFanatic
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#10
Posted: 6/26/06 at 2:12am
silent isnt it a little old to keep having these "im pissed about beyonce being deena" threads? seriously, she got cast. not you, me, or sheryl can say anything about beyonce's performance because we haven't seen it yet. youre misconsruing what sheryl was saying for your own personal objections to the casting. she makes a valid point. flo was lighter than diana but that's who the story was about. i don kno that condon is taking the story to that metaphorical place but he doesnt have to.and sheryl said aaliyah wouldve been the perfect deena before and she wouldve passed the paper-bag test with flying colors so.....
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silent
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#11
Posted: 6/26/06 at 2:20am
I don't disagree with Sheryl's point of view. When the casting first went down, I too wondered why they went with a light-skinned black girl when Deena is an "obviously" black girl.
Updated On: 6/26/06 at 02:20 AM
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#12
Posted: 6/26/06 at 2:55am
i guess...idiot
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#13
Posted: 6/26/06 at 7:04am
Have you taken your meds today Tonya?
Updated On: 6/26/06 at 07:04 AM
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#14
Posted: 6/26/06 at 11:17am
I disagree with Ms. Ralph on this being detrimental to the story, regardless of whether it might have been Tom Eyen's original intent.

I do think Beyonce looks "obviously black" (to use Sheryl's phrase) in the scenes, tests and publicity photos I've seen of her as Deena. There's no mistaking her for a white girl, anymore than there was mistaking Diana Ross for a white girl in the '60s. And racism within its own ranks is a definite theme in "Dreamgirls." Effie even questions Curtis rather emotionally with, "You want Deena to sing lead, because you like the way she looks?"

That can imply many things, including how accessible her look is to mainstream America. She's "mainstream pretty." Regardless of Ms. Ralph's criticisms here, it can only help to underscore this theme. It doesn't defeat it at all.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#15
Posted: 6/26/06 at 11:30am
i actually read that and was completely confused by sheryl's comments. a) beyonce is "obviously black" in this endeavour. b) her looks are the driving force for the change so the fact that she may be more "accessible" to mainstream america helps the movie. sheryl is lighter than holliday. audra was lighter than lilias at the concert.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#16
Posted: 6/26/06 at 11:35am
What in the world! Beyonce looks black! I really does not matter what her skin tone is. I mean girl groups had dark skinned women as the lead such as Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight and women who had light skin. Beyonce will NEVER look white. This all seems so odd to me!
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#17
Posted: 6/26/06 at 11:38am
i think there is a subtle difference between "looks-ism" and that "high-yella" inherent racism that many black literature, plays, and movies have explored.

i, for one, had never really figured the tone of skin into the dynamics of the DREAMGIRLS libretto, and it's interesting that the original writer and Ms. Ralph thought it a central point.

What's more important is not "who's right" but the open discussion of such issues. Everyone is going to have a subjective view, of course. The history of Ms. Ross was only one factor in how the DREAMGIRLS story was put together, and only one way of reacting to the impact...everyone has different takes on how to interpret the story.

The casting of the Dreams throughout the many times the movie got close to being made would be an interesting documentary...Whitney got very close a couple of times. i'm just glad it finally got made, and that someone as intelligent as Condon had some say in it. i'm excited by some of the casting beyond Ms. Knowles, and the preview looks interesting visually. Basically, can't wait!
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#18
Posted: 6/26/06 at 11:47am
EFFIE: New look??? Nobody can see her on a record!
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#19
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:07pm
"Everyone and their mama says that Miss Knowles is the perfect Deena but I don't buy it."

Who would you have cast in the role?
"The gods who nurse this universe think little of mortals' cares. They sit in crowds on exclusive clouds and laugh at our love affairs. I might have had a real romance if they'd given me a chance. I loved him, but he didn't love me. I wanted him, but he didn't want me. Then the gods had a spree and indulged in another whim. Now he loves me, but I don't love him." - Cole Porter
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#20
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:20pm
Oprah.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#21
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:23pm
I loved Ralph in the role, respect her opinion, but think she's splitting wig hairs here. The real issue in the piece is the svelte, glamour girl's strategic ascendency by svengali Curtis -- into white, mainstream show biz circles -- over the plump, far less glamourous, more "authentic" African-American front singer. Skin color is a piece of this equation in the steamrolling over African American culture, particularly in rock music, but only a piece.

The story has always been more about the packaging of black entertainment for white America. Deena is white America's goddess material, Effie deemed not to be. My hunch is, Beyonce and Jennifer will make this case very persuasively.
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#22
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:25pm
re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

This girl should have been Deena she was in A Bronx Tale.
Musicals she was in: Mama I want to Sing off b-way

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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#23
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:31pm
...Who?
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
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LostLeander
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re: Sheryl Lee Ralph speaks on Dreamgirls

#24
Posted: 6/26/06 at 12:34pm
Patti and Glady's came later.
And I think the "paper bag test" is important, but not anywhere near central to Dreamgirls.

And they don't mean that Deena should be able to pass for white, but lighter skinned than Lorrell and Effie. There's something about darker skinned women that makes them less appealing to a mass audience... back then of course.

But this isn't necessarily written into the libretto/book, so it definately doesn't need to be an issue. But I think Beyonce might be lighter than Hudson.

I'm not sure though, I haven't seen swatches of their skin tones in months.
Personally, I think I have too much bloom.