Last night I went out and had my face rocked off. Completely.
No seriously. Off.
Now, if you have read the theater section for any length of time, you probably know that, even when I am bestowing praise on a recent work, I try not to be overwhelming with how much I lavish it on the actors, cast, and crew. This will not be one of those times...dreamgirls was nothing short of amazing. From the opening number of "I'm Lookin' for Something," the cast of this long-running stage play had the audience captivated. Their energy, their ability to connect with each other and the audience, and their sheer talent were enough to make the hours of the show pass by in mere minutes. Normally, the pages of this blog are reserved for eloquent words that draw you, the reader, into a web until you leap from your seat and run for the door in an attempt to become a part of whatever great thing it was that we wrote about. Overcome with emotion, you beat down the door of the great candy shop, concert venue, or upcoming event because you just have to be a part. Well, that's what we hope anyway.
In this instance, I won't try to do that. I won't bother telling you how Syesha Mercado's voice pierces through the darkness of the theater and grabs you until you are so moved that, as one patron said, "your goosebumps hurt." I won't bother telling you how the sheer mention of Chester "Thunder" Early still brings a smile to my face because of how hilarious he was. I won't tell you how the supporting cast could have at any moment taken center stage and left you wondering why they were supporting, knowing that they were just as talented as any of the principal actors, and I definitely won't talk about how Effie White, played by Moya Angela, had a voice that simultaneously wrapped you comfortably up in the richness of its character while pushing you out of your seat as if by magic at the end of her rendition of "And I'm Telling You." No, I won't bother talking about any of those details.
What I will say is that, for someone who has never seen the Dreamgirls movie (I know I know) but who had always heard amazing things about it, I am reticent to believe that it could have topped what I experienced last night. I left the Music Hall in complete and utter shock, not because I was surprised that it was as good as people said, but rather because the director, Robert Longbottom, was somehow able to pack that much talent onto one stage so effortlessly. There were no egos, there was no one-upping. This was a cast that genuinely seemed to gel and conveyed that to an audience that was waiting for the next note, the next word from their mouths and the next move of their bodies. This was a cast that caught you up in the midst of their story and took you back to a time full of big hair, and even bigger clothes; a time when three girls from the middle of nowhere could dream and their sheer talent could make those dreams a reality. This was a night, and a dream that won't soon fade from my memory.
Dallas Summer Musicals Presents: Dreamgirls
Through July 18, 2010
Times and Tickets Vary
The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Avenue
Dallas, TX 75210