If you’re anything like me, you may be forgiven for recently seeing the wonderful film Dreamgirls, based on the Broadway musical, and then thinking ‘what Broadway musical?’. Well, a combination of age and living on the other side of the planet meant that a lot of us theatre-goers out there never saw or heard of the original Dreamgirls stage musical. So here’s a few facts to get you going:
Dreamgirls is loosely based on the rise of all-girl group The Supremes, with Beyonce Knowles’ character in the 2006 movie being Diana Ross. The stage version has music by Henry Krieger, with the book and lyrics by Tom Eyen. It opened on 21st December 1981 at the Imperial Theatre, New York and closed just over three and a half years later in August 1985 after 1,521 performances.
It was nominated for a swag of 1982 Tony Awards®, winning six:
- Tony Award® for Best Book of a Musical
- Tony Award® for Best Actor in a Musical
- Tony Award® for Best Actress in a Musical
- Tony Award® for Best Featured Actor in a Musical
- Tony Award® for Best Lighting Design
- Tony Award® for Best Choreography
That year, Dreamgirls also won:
- Theatre World Award
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design
- Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design
Dreamgirls also had two revivials. The first of these was a five month run at The Ambassador Theatre, New York, from June to November 1987, where it ran for 177 performances. It was nominated for a further three 1988 Tony Awards®, but on this occasion without success.
On 21st September 2001, Dreamgirls also had a special one-off benefit revival performance at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
The 2006 film version of Dreamgirls stars Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. Hudson, a third season American Idol finalist, won a Golden Globe in January 2007 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in this film.