“All you have to do is dream,” is the catch phrase you will hear throughout Arts Collective Theatres (ACT) production of Dreamgirls. When ACT Artistic Director Chris Rabideau announced he was going to put on Dreamgirls the theatre community was skeptical. A lot of people were concerned that we did not have the right talent in the city to put on this show. But, Chris took a risk and it was a risk worth taking because after seeing Dreamgirls during opening weekend, I was blown away.
Chris said before the show started that 85% of the cast has never been on stage before. I would never have known! The actors seemed so confident on stage, you would think they would have been acting for awhile now.
The musical numbers in Dreamgirls are not easy to sing by any means but many of the performers just nailed all of the notes and harmonized beautifully. The girls who played the members of The Dream always entered the stage with such grace and poise. The live band and pit chorus added a beautiful elegance to the show.
Actress Florine Ndimudandi who played the role of Effie White (played by Jennifer Hudson in the Dreamgirls movie) was an absolute star. I have no idea where ACT found her, or where she has been hiding, but she put her heart and soul into her performance from beginning to end. Her solo song “(And I am Telling You) I’m Not Going” was sung with so much passion, I got chills from the power and strength of her voice.
An Actor who really stood out was Verzell who played Jimmy “Thunder” Early. His line in the show was “Jimmy got soul” and Jimmy definitely had soul. His voice was killer and had the dance moves to boot. I got a Bruno Mars kinda vibe from his performance.
Valene Daniel and Rochelle Day who were members of The Dream were beautiful and also gave their all during their performance. Duet between Deena Jones played by Valene White and Florine Ndimubandi’s song “Listen” was a beautiful moment in the show.
Dreamgirls is a Windsor, Ontario premier and I give Chris Rabideau applause for bringing this dream to life.
Dreamgirls continues their second weekend at the Capitol Theatre April 27th at 8pm, April 28th at 8pm, April 29th at 2pm. Tickets are available online.
Coreen Blake – Stepp Sister, Female Ensemble
Kamilah Poku-Christian – Stepp Sister, Michelle Morris
Emmanuelle Tshiani – Stepp Sister, Female Ensemble
Frost Munroe – MC, Male Ensemble
Nikki Ann McCarty – Joann, Female Ensemble
Kianna Porter – Charlene, Female Ensemble
Bradley Wade Jones – Marty Madison
Tony Coates – Curtis Taylor Jr.
Valene Daniel – Deena Jones
Rochelle Day – Lorrell Robinson
Florine Ndimubandi – Effie Melody White
Jim Walls – Tiny Joe Dixon, Jerry Norman
Kuuko Quagraine – C,C, (Claridge Conrad) White
Kalala Gideon – LIttle Albert, Male Ensemble
Courtlin Ducre – True-Tone, Frank, Male Ensemble
Brendon Flowers, True-Tone, Wayne, Male Ensemble
Verzell – Jimmy “Thunder” Early
Jordan Sickles – Male Ensemble
Drew Deganais – Dave, Male Ensemble
Tatyana Wiebe – Sweetheart, Female Ensemble
Gabrielle Smith – Sweetheart, Female Ensemble
Ezra Poku-Christian – Ensemble
Sarah Flowers – Female Ensemble
Rebekah Williams – Female Ensemble
Darrel Lauzon – Stage Manager, Mr. Mordan
Kianna Porter – Effie Melody White
Kamilah Poku-Christian – Deena Jones
Director: Chris Rabideau
Assistant Director: Leslie McCurdy
Choreographer: Leslie McCurdy (Technical) and Jolie Katembo
Music Director and Vocal Coach: Ian Smith