In the `Dreamgirls’ groove

Nov 21

As I understand it, my responsibility as a blogger is that elusive thing called BUZZ.

That said, let me buzz a little about Dreamgirls, which I saw last week after spending much of the year in jittery anticipation of its arrival.

First off, I love that the movie is dedicated to the memory of Michael Bennett, the director and co-producer/co-choreographer of the original 1981 Broadway production. Bennett’s fluid style was all over Dreamgirls in the way songs, scenes and dialogue flowed seamlessly, one into the other.

I’m not going to do a full-on review of Bill Condon’s movie except to say that it’s good, and parts of it are great. On the continuum of recent Broadway-to-movie adaptations, it’s not as good as Chicago, but it’s a whole lot better than Rent, The Producers and The Phantom of the Opera.

Jennifer Hudson (left) as Effie Melody White steals the show (as any good Effie should — this really is her story) and wipes the floor with Miss Beyonce, who couldn’t look more fabulous. But let me say that she and Diana Ross have more in common than they know.

American Conservatory Theater grad Anika Noni Rose is pretty wonderful, as is Eddie Murphy, whose final musical number is fantastic

Amid all the flash and spectacle of Dreamgirls, there are still issues: is this a real-life drama set in the music industry with lots of musical numbers? Or is this a full-on musical where people .burst into song when they might otherwise speak like normal people?

There’s some squeamishness about these issues in Dreamgirls, and all the fancy editing and flashing lights in the world can’t disguise that.

Still, it’s pretty great to be discussing a big musical this holiday season, so go see Dreamgirls and turn it into a box-office success so they’ll keep turning Broadway shows into movies.

In fact, you can see Dreamgirls early — if you want to pony up $25 (which includes a souvenir program) — when it opens Dec. 15 at the Metreon in San Francisco as part of a limited engagement “road show” in SF, New York and Los Angeles. Click here for more information.

3 comments

  1. Peter Hall /

    Can’t wait to see this! I think directors should not be squeamish about having characters burst into song. If the song is good and it fits into the storyline audiences should be trusted to accept it. Songs can lift a scene out of the ordinary and take the movie to a whole different level. I should say GOOD songs can do this!

  2. Patricia /

    I wholeheartedly agree with Peter’s comment.

  3. Jennifer Hudson SO steals the spot light. She’s fantastic! Fingers crossed for an Oscar nom!

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