SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is thrilled to continue its 2022-2023 “American Dreams” theatre season with the highly-anticipated production, “Dreamgirls.” The show runs from February 22 through April 9, 2023.
An inspirational journey through American pop music, “Dreamgirls” chronicles the rise of a fictional Motown group—The Dreams—from obscurity to superstardom. Through gospel, R&B, pop, disco and more, the show explores themes of ambition, hope and betrayal, all set in the glamorous and competitive world of the music industry. Music is by Henry Krieger, with lyrics and book by Tom Eyen.
“Dreamgirls” opened in December 1981 at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won six. In 2006 it was adapted into a movie starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose and Keith Robinson.
WBTT staged a production of the show at the Manatee Players in 2005 and at the Historic Asolo Theater in 2007.
“We were thrilled to present that show at a relatively early stage in our now 23-year history,” said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, who is directing the production. “But we are at a different place now: we’re more professional, we have more support, more patrons and a beautiful theater of our own. We can’t wait to dream a bigger dream with ‘Dreamgirls’ this time – with new and favorite WBTT artists helping us tell this musical story.”
Jacobs has featured songs from the show in two productions of “Broadway in Black,” in 2017 and 2021, and even in “Broadway in Black Jr.,” starring Stage of Discovery students, in the summer of 2018. The show’s many memorable numbers include “Dreamgirls,” “One Night Only,” “When I First Saw You,” “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “Cadillac Car,” and “Steppin’ to the Bad Side.”
The cast of “Dreamgirls” features Shena Brown (Effie White), Caila Carter (Deena Jones) and Maya Cuevas (Lorrell Robinson) as the original members of “The Dreams”; Brian Boyd (Curtis Taylor Jr.), Nathaniel Summers (C.C. White), Raleigh Mosely II (Jimmy Early), Kyla Bolling (Michelle Morris) and Michael Kinsey (Marty) also play key roles.
The creative team includes: Kevin White, production manager; Lizzi Nehls and Juanita Munford, production stage managers; Arnette German and Tianna Harris, assistant stage managers; Darci Collins, costume designer; Donna & Mark Buckalter, set designers; Ethan Vail, lighting designer; Patrick Russini, sound designer; Annette Breazeale, properties designer; and Dominique Freeman, wig designer.
Providing the live musical accompaniment are: Steven Zumbrun, music director/main keys; Brad Foutch, guitar; Dan Haedicke, bass; Darren Server, secondary keys; John Walker, drums; and Jason Whitmore, reeds.
“For our 2022-2023 season, we adopted the theme ‘American Dreams,’” said WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “’Dreamgirls’ is a musical about women dreaming big, working hard and singing their way into the heart and soul of America, even as race, gender and – for Effie – body image are barriers to their eventual success. This show is an audience favorite worldwide and we can’t wait to share it from the WBTT stage!”
Presenting sponsors are Dr. Phil and Suzan Gaynes. This show is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC.
Performances take place in WBTT’s Donelly Theatre (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota) from February 22-April 9; showtimes are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m. (There is a talk-back with the cast and creatives on Sunday, March 5 after the matinee.) Tickets are $50/adults, $20/students and active military (cost includes all ticket fees). Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists, and builds self-esteem in youth of color. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org for more information.