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Cappies: 'Dreamgirls' shows of triple threats at McCluer

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 5, 2012 - Dancing, singing, acting: This triple threat is revered among theater people. Few individuals can claim to be a triple threat, but in McCluer High School Comet Theatre’s production of "Dreamgirls," many young performers proved to be talented in multiple facets.

With music by Henry Krieger and lyrics/book by Tom Eyen, "Dreamgirls" premiered on Broadway in 1981. the play was not only nominated for 13 Tony awards, but managed to seize six of the prestigious awards. Based on success stories of various R&B artists, "Dreamgirls" follows three best friends; Effie White, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson. Opening with their act at a talent show and closing with their final performance in concert, the show was fast-paced and memorable.

At the center of it all, Effie White (Alexis Tucker) performed “I Am Telling You,” “I Am Changing” and “One Night Only” with skill. Deena Jones (Melanie McCray) let her acting strength shine through in her performance, and Lorrell Robinson (Adrienne Thompson) was exceedingly comedic. Effie’s eventual replacement, Michelle Morris (Jade Hillery), performed with energy. Curtis Taylor (Eric Williams) physicalized his character brilliantly, C.C. White (Dereis Lambert) played a convincing ingenue and Jimmy (DeAndre’a Fair) teased the audience, spurring many laughs.

The Announcer (Brianna Reed) was not only poised, but enthusiastic, and was able to drive the whole show confidently. Charlene (Patreese Wade) and Joann (Kayla Hefele) used their beautiful voices while singing duets. Multiple R&B acts, played by the ensemble, set a fun and upbeat mood for the production, performing hits such as “ABC” and “My Girl.” The ensemble’s talent brought the audience to their feet.

The ensemble performed with remarkable energy, especially in “Steppin’ to the Bad Side.” An epitome of the show, this song included all features of the triple threat and more; not only did the song have strong full-cast vocals, fun and entertaining dancing and characterization, but the use of a fog machine, a darkened house and red lights on the stage made “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” a fabulous performance by the entire cast.

The outstanding cast was supported by wonderful technical aspects. The costumes, created by a student crew, were period appropriate and gorgeous under the simple and effective stage lights, which framed the production effectively. The set enabled the show to move at a fast-pace, switching from backstage to dressing rooms to the stage quickly. Additionally, the stage crew performed all transitions efficiently, such as an instantaneous on-stage costume change, occurring mid-song.

In McCluer High School Comet Theatre’s production of "Dreamgirls," many young performers proved to be promising future stars. From serenading audience members to swing dancing, because of the production's energy and enthusiasm, the "Dreamgirls" cast can plan on achieving their dreams, and more.

Carly Beard is a student at Clayton High School,

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