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Wakefield High School Dreamgirls

By • May 9th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

Dreams drive us. But do they take us where we want to go? What must we sacrifice along the way? All these questions and more are explored in Wakefield High School’s production of Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger’s famed musical Dreamgirls.

Based on the rise of 1960s girl group The Supremes, this Tony and Academy Award winning musical is about the perils of fame and notoriety. Effie, Deena, and Lorrell (April Archer, Tiausha Butler, and Ashley Nielsen) are struggling teenagers trying to break into the music business when they meet car salesman Curtis Taylor (Dejon Campbell) backstage at a talent show. He turns them from the juvenile Dreamettes to the nubile Dreams. Then the fighting begins and the cost of fame is revealed.

A monumental undertaking, it was no surprise that the ambitious material was too much for some of the vocalists who struggled to stay on pitch and key. They were not helped by the poor sound that did not amplify well with body or ambient microphones. However, the cast, admirably, was able to maintain its resolve and power through the rough patches.

As Effie, the heart and soul of Dreamgirls, Archer was a revelation. With her fabulous attitude, magnificent voice, and energetic and committed performance, she outshined even the brightest stage lights. Her character’s growth was clear especially in the transition from the fantastic rendition of the show stopping “(And I’m Telling You) I’m Not Going” to the heartfelt “I Am Changing.”

Jamil Garner‘s Jimmy ‘Thunder’ Early was hilarious. He was at his best vocally and rhythmically in the sensational “Fake Your Way to the Top” and “Jimmy’s Rap.”

Some of the most memorable performances came from the large ensemble. Nakia Arnold, Cassandra Jones, Jessica Massie, and Ione Saunders were outstanding both as the Stepp Sisters and as Dancers. They stole every scene they were in and were a joy to watch. Chris Stanton also provided a memorable cameo as Dave the Caucasian singer who steals one of Jimmy’s songs and removes its “soul.”

The choreography by Cassandra Jones, Jamil Garner, and Maria Wilson was commendable both in scale and creativity.

At the end of Act One, Effie belts, “You’re going to love me” to the audience. It did, and stood in rapturous applause. Wakefield’s Dreamgirls transported us to a past age of music and spectacle, and made for a fun night of theatre.

You can experience Dreamgirls on May 11 and 12 at 7:00PM. Don’t miss it.

by Eric Swartz of Washington International

This review was written by a Cappies high school critic. The Cappies were founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

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