Classic musicals supply lots of fun for theater fans; you can sing along, root for the star and laugh at the bad guys that are always outsmarted. The one sticking point with a beloved musical is that the singing must live up to or surpass the original. Otherwise, what's the point? You can just stay home and listen to the soundtrack. Well, the performers in Porchlight's Dreamgirls make sure that their show outdoes any recording of the high energy play.
Dreamgirls is the story of three Chicago girls trying to make it in the '60s era music industry. Loosely based on the lives of The Supremes, the play is full of campy drama, flashy costumes and irresistible music. Porchlight's version stays true to the original with a few humorous twists to add to the fun.
The thing that makes this show so engaging is that the theater is intimate, there's not a bad seat in the house and some scenes start and end in the aisles, within touching distance of the audience.
The cast is entertaining although the major standouts are Donica Lynn as Effie White and Eric Lewis as Jimmy Early. Lewis struts, cartwheels and even flaunts his backside to a few audience members as the irrepressible showman Jimmy Early. The role of Effie White is pivotal to the Dreamgirls story and Lynn delivers on every level. Besides belting the iconic "And I AM Telling You I'm Not Going," she manages to elicit standing ovations from practically every song she sings.
Due to popular demand, the production has been extended through May 22. Don't miss it.
Tickets are $35-$51
Photo of Donica Lynn as Effie White courtesy of Porchlight Music Theatre