Portland Center Stage presents Dreamgirls

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.

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

St. Jude Autumn Harvest Event in Portland Oregon // A Well Crafted Party

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, is the Autumn Harvest fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Some of Portland’s top chef talent will join together to give a progressive Autumnal tasting in hopes of raising funds and awareness for the hospital. The evening will feature live entertainment, flights from local mixologists, and an auction and the chance to experience St. Jude first-hand through local patients. It will also showcase Portland’s finest during a tasting led by 2014 James Beard Award recipient Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. Other featured chefs include:

  • Aaron Barnett, St. Jack
  • Jason French, Ned Ludd
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure
  • Josh McFadden, Ava Gene’s
  • Sarah Schafer, Irving Street Kitchen

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel or food. They believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Personally, I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is… this last year we have been dealing with possible health problems with my toddler son. Our doctors thought he had Cystic Fibrosis . We spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and even more time on the phone trying to get in to see specialists and dealing with insurance. Now we will be paying off those bills. It has been a lot of worry and stress in our lives. We recently got the news that he does not have Cystic Fibrosis, but they aren’t sure what is causing him to get sick so often and so badly. I felt a small (minuscule) part of what many families are feeling and my heart will be forever changed because of it. Any and all support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will go far in helping families who are in a world of hurt and worry.

I’m excited to be able to share my experience with readers. Look for a blog post about it soon! But, in the meantime… check out more information about St. Judes by visiting the St. Jude website or click over to donate to this cause today.

Rock for a Reason: Outdoor Rock Concert to Benefit 4-Year old with cancer – 9/10/2014

Rock for a Reason: Outdoor Rock Concert to Benefit 4-Year old with cancer – 9/10/2014

Rock for a Reason // A Well Crafted Party

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and today’s blog is in hopes of helping shed a little more light on the desperate need for more funding and research on pediatric cancer. Cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in America. Growing up my best friends family dealt with the impact of pediatric cancer on their world when her sister was diagnosed. A local girl and her family are experiencing the hardships that pediatric cancer brings with it and the community of Milwaukie, Oregon are banding together to help! 

Portland-Area Businesses Coming Together for a Cause

The local Milwaukie community is pulling together to host an outdoor family friendly benefit, silent auction and rock concert for a local girl living with a very rare brain tumor. Leah Merklin, a 4-year old girl has one of the rarest forms of pediatric brain cancer, primarily affecting young children, the brain tumor called DIPG is both inoperable and incurable.

On Wednesday, September 10th, local Milwaukie business owners, Portland DJ Ron Rouse, Chris Carpenter & The Collective, a local band, and Good Roots Community Church are joining arms to host an outdoor community fundraiser for Leah.

Banding together, local vendors are stepping up to offer locally sourced, delicious food at the event: Pronto Pizzeria & Kitchen will be selling grilled pizzas and farmer’s market fresh salads. Schoolyard Farms, a local nonprofit educational farm, will be offering build you own kid salads. Pepper & Salt will be selling butternut squash infused mac + cheese and lettuce turkey wraps. Painted Lady Coffee House will be selling hot coffee, Italian sodas, and homemade delicacies and Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will be whipping up batches of their custom made ice cream.

Wine:30 Bar and Duffy’s Irish Pub are setting up a beer and wine garden – 100% of the proceeds from all Pabst and Breakside Brewing purchases will go directly to the Merklin Family.

There will be stenciled face art by Sweet Cheeks Airbrushing; handmade necklaces and headbands offering proceeds back to the Merklin family; and a bouncy house, henna tattoos and a stilt walker for the kids!

Ron Rouse, who works for Portland Fire & Rescue and is also a popular local DJ named DJ Rontourage, will be donating his time at the event. Local band Chris Carpenter & The Collective will be playing live music from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Event goers will be invited to pick out a favorite song from the band’s play list and the band will play songs for donation.

Finally, there will be a silent auction featuring locally procured items, with 100% of the proceeds going back to the family.


Connect with the Rock for a Reason Facebook event or connect with the Support for Leah Rose Merklin and Family Facebook Page!

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