The hit Motown musical Dreamgirls is making a stop in Vancouver.
The rags to riches drama about three wannabe divas from Chicago comes to the Arts Club’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre May 9-July 7. Eight shows are already sold out for what is expected to be one of the hottest theatrical productions of the year.
The original musical, which opened on Broadway in 1981, ran for an impressive 1522 performances and earned both a Tony Award and a Grammy Award. It was later adapted into the hit 2006 film, Dreamgirls, which featured Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy and garnered two Oscars.
The musical traces the evolution of a 1960s girl group dubbed the Dreamettes, loosely based on the Supremes. Action opens in 1962 at the famous Amateur Night talent competition inside New York’s Apollo Theatre. The ragtag trio of soul singers loses the competition but gains a manager. Their career takes off when they abandon traditional R&B for more mainstream pop sounds, catered to a white audience.
Of course, the inevitable infighting ensues, with incestuous romances, overbearing managers and lineup changes taking a toll over the next decade. Through it all, the Dreamettes soldier on, becoming divas in their own right and turning out plenty of hit singles along the way.
At the heart of it all is Motown, the crossover sound from 1960s Detroit that introduced black soul music to white audiences. The original soundtrack to the musical evokes the best of that era, from The Supremes to The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and many other Motown pioneers.
The Arts Club has assembled some of its best singers, as well as several big talents new to the Vancouver stage, to perform the dozens of danceable hits from the musical, including the smash One Night Only.