Dreamgirls the Musical has caught the eye of London’s West End, and much of the attention has been due to the leading lady. Amber Riley is best known for her role in Glee, where she admitted that the script writers mostly got her to come on at the end and belt out the big number to wrap up to episode. She’s certainly getting to do a lot of belting in Dreamgirls – not that I’ve got to see her yet.
The main role of Effie White is hugely demanding vocally, and it has meant that an alternate has played the role on many occasions. In fact, I’ve been to see the show twice, both on days when Amber was scheduled to perform, and I’ve now seen both of the alternates.
There’s no need for concern if you’re coming to see the show, though. Both of the Effie’s that I’ve seen have been amazing. My favourite is Marisha Wallace, who has perfect comic timing and can belt out ‘And I’m Telling You’ like it’s no-one’s business.
The music – and vocals – are definitely why I will keep coming back to this show. Think Elphaba’s Defying Gravity riffs are good in Wicked? Come to Dreamgirls and prepare to get your head knocked off. These women give it everything on stage with performances so powerful and captivating that it’s impossible to not feel the emotion. There is a lot of deep emotional moments in this show, too. Singing about rejection, loves and friendships that are lost, and being true to yourself are all key moments.