Review by Grace Eichler of Dreamgirls: The Carnegie
Moving into their second week of the run, The Carnegie has pulled off a huge success with their production of Dreamgirls. Director Torie Wiggins brings to life the timeless musical with jaw dropping numbers such as “And I Am Telling You,” “Move,” and “Dreamgirls.” The Motown musical is supported by Music Director Mike Flohr and an impressive band. Choreographer Darnell Pierre Benjamin provides both girl group synchronicity and suave dance numbers like “Steppin’ to the Bad Side.” All of this is heightened by the costuming of Helen Anneliesa Raymond-Goers, who seamlessly transitions between sparkles & sequins and the flowing wide leg pants & kaftans of the 60s and 70s.
The ultimate measure of a successful production of Dreamgirls is dependent on one set of incredible pipes: Effie White’s. Tia Seay exceeds all expectations with her powerful voice, staggering riffs and commanding presence. Her quieter moments were just as powerful in Act 2, bringing the audience to their feet numerous times.
The other two Dreamgirls hold their own as well: Sharisse Vernelle Santos’s Deena Jones transforms from a meek backup girl to the elegant leading lady she is groomed to be. Her gentler sound is a wonderful foil to contrast Deena and Effie, but she leads the trio in some of their most famous songs. Lormarev Jones brings Lorrell Robinson to life, a role that can often be overlooked. Jones provides a comedic balance and a crystal clear soprano.
An audience favorite was clearly Dedrick Weathersby’s rousing performance as James Thunder Early. Weathersby channels James Brown with his vivacious and energetic numbers, culminating in “The Rap.”
Dreamgirls is presented by The Carnegie and runs August 11-26, 2018. Ticket information is available on The Carnegie website or by calling the box office.