Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls

Art by Julia McNamara
Art by Julia McNamara

Disclaimer: I was provided with complementary tickets by Portland Center Stage so that I may experience Dreamgirls before sharing my experience with you here on the blog. All opinions are my own. Keep reading for a discount so that you can see the show as well! 

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage in town until November 2!

A little tidbit about me that you might not of known… I’ve ALWAYS been interested in theater. I love watching the lights go down, hearing the hush of a crowd, and being delighted with the talents of people that have prepped and worked all towards that performance. There is just nothing like watching live theater. I’ve never really been someone to act in a play. I auditioned once in college… let me tell you, an Irish accent is NOT easy. Though I was never really quite right for the onstage talent, I loved participating in the creation of a show and watching how everyone worked together to change reality for the course of a show. So, when Portland Center Stage asked if I wanted to check out their production of Dreamgirls I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so glad I did!

I had never seen Dreamgirls before, either on stage or in movie form. I knew that it was a musical about a trio of women loosely based on The Supremes. But, that is about it! Now I want to see the movie and any and all productions of this show going forward. It was such a treat, and not for the reasons I originally assumed it would be! If you are in the Portland area, and like musicals, then I’d highly recommend this production! But, don’t let your location stop you from reading on… you can always watch Dreamgirls the movie!

Dreamgirls at Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party
L-R: Lexi Rhoades (Lorrell Robinson), Mary Patton (Deena Jones) and Antoinette Comer (Michelle Morris) in “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger, Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen, Directed by Chris Coleman

It is more than just three women singing…

I expected to go into the show and be wow’d by some spectacular female voices. And, while I was wow’d by some pretty talented women (get to that later) I was unexpectedly blown away by some beautiful and FUN male-led songs! The beginning of the show the ladies didn’t quite have their voices yet. (Little did I know, because remember I had never seen this before, that was part of the plan!) I enjoyed the first number with the women being introduced to the stage. But, when Calvin Scott Roberts playing C.C. (Claridge Conrad) White and Rodney Hicks playing Curtis Taylor, Jr. began to sing Cadillac Car with David Jennings playing Jimmy (James Thunder) Early– WOW. I loved each and every song that these three men sang together. Each had great stage presence and really sold their characters all while hitting their songs out of the theater.

Dreamgirls from Portland Center Stage // A Well Crafted Party
The cast of “Dreamgirls” at Portland Center Stage. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
“Dreamgirls” Music by Henry Krieger Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen Directed by Chris Coleman

Then you really hear the women sing…

In the beginning I wasn’t entirely impressed with the songs that the women were singing. Little did I know… that was part of the play! As the show goes on the women really start singing. While they clearly had talent in the beginning, they just hadn’t hit their groove as a group! They had me hoodwink perfectly. At the end of the first act when Nattalyee Randall playing Effie Melody White belts out “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” I had tears in my eyes. All the women brought it on stage and I wasn’t disappointed by a single performance. The most exciting performance, for me, was by Mary Patton playing Deena Jones. (I don’t want to give much of the story away just in case you, like me, had never seen anything about the show. I want you to be as surprised as I was!)  When Deena, one of the background singers of the trio is given the opportunity to step up as a lead there is a lot to discover. Patton plays demure, quiet and sweet Deena Jones so well in the beginning and hides her powerhouse of a voice during her first song as lead so well that I honestly didn’t see how this fictional group would ever be convincing as a popular musical trio. As she starts to take hold of her inner diva (just a bit) her voice suddenly takes over the entire room. It is gorgeous and powerful.

See a sneak peek of the show  below:

Dreamgirls: the trailer from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

More about Dreamgirls:

  • Fun facts about the PCS production learn how the production included- “49 IKEA mixing bowls, 125 costume looks, 406 pairs of fake eye lashes, 550 lighting units …
    and 1,000 condoms!?!?!”
  • Dreamgirls Review from Jane of In The Pink & Green- “I ended up being really blown away by the talented cast for this show! Seriously, every single person had such an incredible voice and I was extremely impressed by the casting!”

Get a Discount to the Show!

Portland Center Stage is offering my Portland area readers a chance to see Dreamgirls with a discount! Use the code “PDXBLOGS” to get $5 off any showing. Or, select a Tuesday show or the Halloween showing to receive your ticket for just $20! Click here to buy your ticket today!

More from Portland Center Stage:

The Typographers Dream is showing in the Ellen Bye Studio from Oct. 4 to November 16.

The Typographer’s Dream follows the story of a stenographer, a geographer and a typographer. During a career-oriented presentation, it becomes hilariously clear that their personal issues just so happen to correspond with their jobs. As with his hit play The Receptionist, playwright Bock tackles the everyday environment of the workplace from a completely unique, and very witty, perspective.  ”

Tell me, have you ever seen Dreamgirls? What did you think? Comment below.

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Jenni
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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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