The show was mesmerizing, cinematic in its swift scene changes, overlapping dissolves, all sorts of cinematic techniques, all done on a stage, no less!
Created by inimitable choreographer/director Michael Bennett, whose like will ne'er be seen again. A casualty not only of drugs and alcohol, but AIDS to boot.
Hello John. I never saw the show! I know it's a Broadway 'legend' of sorts, and normaly I don't like Musicals, but this one when it hits the screen I'll go to. Mainly because of it's Director Bill Condon and to see what he's gonna fashion after giving us 'Gods and Monsters' and then 'Kinsey'... should be interesting.
I've never seen the show either, but I believe the song "ONE NIGHT ONLY" comes from it. Hugh Jackman gave a kickass performance of that song along with The Rockettes and all the Musical Show Nominee Casts in the opening number for the 2004 TONY AWARD SHOW. Really rockin orchestrations, speeded up from the DREAMGIRLS Show version. Good luck to Eddie Murphy in his Broadway endeavors.
Another hit song was "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going," which was the climax of the first act, just before intermission, sung by Effie White, after she'd been thrown out of the Dreams, literally because she was too fat and too black, and they wanted a whiter look.
The show is all about blacks bowing to white pressure, cultural and otherwise, in order to get ahead. Bennett was really an incredible director. He took one song, "Cadillac Car," and began it as a black sound, with black singers, then, as it increased in popularity, it's finally crooned by an all-white group, led by a blond young man, with two blonde young women as back-up singers. And all this done in moments of smooth stage transitions, presenting how the black sound was diverted and totally changed.
Even "One Night Only," which starts out as a solo for Effie, trying to make a comeback in Act II, as a slow-tempo love ballad, is subsumed by Deena Jones and the Dreams into an up-tempo dance spectacle, showing how the success of the Dreams can just overwhelm a lone female vocalist like Effie. And, again, all done in minutes of stage time.
Eddie Murphy is probably playing Curtis Taylor, Jr., the sometime boyfriend/manager of Deena Jones. But the showpiece male role in the show is James "Thunder" Early, patterned very obviously on James Brown, who has a wild moment in Act II, when he gets sick and tired of giving the white folks a watered-down version of the black sound, and so he just whoops it up and strips on stage, thus more or less killing his career.
And to think I only saw this show once on stage, and still remember it pretty vividly. (This is not only due to its brilliance, but also to my memory, which will recall in detail things that I like, and frankly couldn't care less about other things that don't interest me. Like, don't ask me about geometry... Or sports... Or much American history before 1900... My memory is vivid, but selective.)
A movie, of course, will eradicate all the immediacy of the stage show, with cross-cutting, dissolves, etc. The amazing aspect of the show was that Bennett was able to create a theatrical version of cinematic techniques, in almost a fantasia of sound and visuals. His like will not be seen again.
Condon's films have been most impressive. I was saddened KINSEY wasn't nominated for more awards, let alone win. Liam Neeson did a wonderful job. I think the subject matter is still just too personal for most people to handle.
Regarding the last part of the last paragraph, yes John America is too Puritanical for the genious of Bill Condon. 'Kinsey' is a film I actually paid to see twice at the cinemas last year, I liked it that much. Your vivid recollections of what you experienced in 'Dreamgirls' sounds truly fascinating. I KNOW I'm gonna go see the movie if and when it comes out. All I knew of before reading your discriptions was that it was a show with black female singers modeled somewhat after The Supremes. It sounds like it's MUCH more though. And yes, Michael Bennett is gone far, far too early in his life, but his brilliance lives on.....
I did get tired of everything being in close and medium shots, though. And long shots were nearly always with the camera moving. Sheesh.
But oh, the music!
And Eddie Murphy was fine, fine, fine. AND did his own singing. Wow.
I've never seen the show either, but I believe the song "ONE NIGHT ONLY" comes from it. Hugh Jackman gave a kickass performance of that song along with The Rockettes and all the Musical Show Nominee Casts in the opening number for the 2004 TONY AWARD SHOW.
Cheez, I wanna watch the dancing, not see how flashy the editor can make it. Won't somebody pay him off and let us see those arms and legs move???