NEW ORLEANS (April 11, 2013)-The Dillard University Theatre Department will end its season this weekend with the three final performances of “Dreamgirls” in the Cook Center Theatre.
The production comes on the heels of the department’s nod last month for “best university production” for its “Two Trains Running” last semester. The Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education presented the award March 25 at Harrah’s New Orleans.
The second weekend of performances of the popular play that was a 1981 Tony-nominated Broadway musical and a movie in 2006 will be offered at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday. A similar schedule was offered last weekend, and the “Dollar Night” performance on April 3 was sold out for the first time in memory, according to faculty.
The musical is based on aspirations of rhythm and blues acts such as The Supremes, the Shirelles, James Brown and Jackie Wilson through the rise of a fictional female trio called The Dreams.
DU alumna Deri’Andra Tucker has the role of Deena Jones, portrayed by Beyonce in the movie and Sheryl Lee Ralph on Broadway. Effie White, the character for which Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar in 2007, is being performed by Chrishira Perrier. The role of Dreams manager Curtis Taylor Jr., played by Jamie Foxx in the movie, is being portrayed by Keith Johnson.
Other cast members include Dot’Toya Jones in the role of Lorrell Robinson; Brandon Johnson as C.C. White; Joshua Kagler and Rahim Glaspy as Jimmy Thunder Early (played by Eddie Murphy in the movie); Cherelle Palmer as Michelle Morris; and James Jones, as Wayne, the record producer.
Troy Poplous directed it.
Cortheal Clark, interim chair of Humanities/Theatre Program, said “Dreamgirls” was chosen to make the audience more aware of the Broadway version since the movie took many creative liberties, he said.
Meanwhile, the department’s fall production of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” about patrons and a waitress in a Pittsburgh diner during the civil rights movement in 1969, captured a 2012 Big Easy Theater Award, with faculty member and director Ray Vrazel on hand to accept the prize, according to a university news release.
Clark called the win – a first for Dillard – “a great accomplishment…Now the community recognizes the powerhouse.”
Members of the “Two Trains Running” cast and crew were proud and excited for the win. Jhory Buskey, a graduating senior theater major from Mobile, Ala., called the win “amazing.”
Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for DU personnel, seniors and $5 for DU students with ID. To purchase, call the DU box office at 816.4857.
(Arian Pierre contributed to this report.)