Saturday, September 15, 2012

Latino Beat - Newsletter: Dreamgirls Theatre Outing

The twelve-time AUDELCO-nominated Harlem Repertory Theatre (HRT) is back with two shows also full of CCNY Latino stars. 

HRT, founded by past theater department head, Keith Lee Grant, is producing an intimate chamber version of DREAMGIRLS, the classic a musical based on the show business aspirations and successes of renowned R&B acts: The Supremes, James Brown and others. The musical is a classic, “rags to riches" tale of three young African American female singers who begin as innocents and ultimately triumph over jealousies, deceptions and a ruthless music industry. This blind casted rendition includes a number of Latinos in lead and supporting roles. 

Check the website or Facebook for cast info:

Join us for a special night of local dining followed by a performance, on October 7th starting 12:30pm for Lunch and 3pm for the show. We will be eating at the famous Sylvia's restaurant then walking a few short blocks to the theatre (not wheel chair accessible).  Tickets are $52 for premium tickets and the meal. For tickets contact Olga at the CCNY Alumni Association: 212-650-5343 or via email at

Performances started August 17th – September 15th and continue October 5th – October 7th, Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2 and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. 133rd Street Arts Center, 308 West 133rd St, NY, NY. Running time: 2:20 with intermission. $20 general seats, $15 seniors, students and artist, $40 premium seats.

Featuring NY Times, Theatermania and Backstage acclaimed performer Dion Millington as Effie White, Natalia Peguero as Deena Jones, Isis Kenney as Lorrell Robinson, Eric Myles as Jimmy Early, Oscar Aguirre as Curtis Taylor Jr., Darilyn Castillo as Michelle Robinson, Magnus Percinthe as Marty Madison and Roberto Guzman Jr. as CC. White
Roberto A Guzman Jr. as CC White with Darilyn Melody Castillo as Michelle Morris.

From Far left:
Eric A Z Myles as Jimmy Thunder Early, Isis Kenney as Lorrell Robinson, Dion Millington as Effie White, Darilyn Melody (Castillo) as Michelle Morris, Roberto A Guzman Jr. as CC White, Natalia Peguero as Deena Jones and Oscar Aguirre as Curtis Taylor Jr.

Dion Millington as Effie White, Isis Kenney as Lorrell Robinson, Charlie- er Dennis Williams as Jimmy Thunder Early and Natalia Peguero as Deena Jones.

Oscar Aguirre as Curtis Taylor Jr., and Natalia Peguero as Deena Jones.


Barbara and Scott Siegel of Theatermania wrote:

"You have to admire the chutzpah of a director attempting to put on a musical of the magnitude of Dreamgirls in a black box theater without all the razzmatazz of costuming, lights, and fancy stagecraft for which this musical is so well-known. However, Keith Lee Grant has managed to make something special happen with his scaled-down revival ofDreamgirls, now being presented by the Harlem Repertory Theatre at the 133rd Street Arts Center."

"Grant has made a lot of smart choices in the staging, giving the show pace and speed..."

"Peguero is the right combination of beautiful and innocent with a light, pleasing pop voice to play the role of Deena. "

"Isis Kenny very nearly steals the show as Lorrell, , the trio's third original member, and the way she plays her relationship with James Thunder Early (the promising Eric Myles at our performance) is funny and sassy. This young woman can sing with both bite and beauty."

"Best of all is Millington's performance as Effie -- especially her performances of her big ballads, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Am Changing," both of which are electrifying."
"Dreamgirls is such a sturdy piece of musical theater ...  And with these three women on stage, it often soars."

Suzy Evans of Backstage wrote:
"The heart of Dreamgirls is Effie White, the opinionated, talented singer whose dreams are thwarted when her stubbornness gets the best of her and her friends respond to the siren call of fame. A Dreamgirlswithout the right Effie cannot succeed, and Harlem Repertory Theater has discovered a great Effie. Dion Millington delivers a beautifully raw and unaffected performance, rupturing every heart in the house with her piercing renditions of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “I Am Changing.”

"Darilyn Castillo shines in ensemble roles and as the fourth Dream, Michelle Morris."

Anita Gates from the New York Times wrote:
"If you needed one illustration of the director Keith Lee Grant’s strong, confident staging, “Steppin’ to the Bad Side,” a number about payola, would do nicely"

"But even at their weakest moments they (the cast) are fully invested in their anger and confrontation, which is the show’s core." 
"Whether you love or hate “Dreamgirls,” the vintage Michael Bennett musical about the rise and death of a 1960s singing group that strongly resembles the Supremes, you cannot deny the power of its signature number. When Jennifer Holliday opened her mouth to sing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” at the Imperial Theater in 1981, Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times, Broa
dway history was made. And Dion Millington’s performance as Effie at the Harlem Repertory Theater’s inviting chamber production of the show is a thrilling reminder of how and why.

This sparkly, constantly moving showbiz drama, set in theaters from Harlem to Las Vegas, may seem an unlikely candidate for an intimate setting like the black-boxy walk-up theater at the 133rd Street Arts Center. Yet, for the most part, the effort is a success, and the audience’s physical closeness (at times, cast members were practically singing into my ear) exposes an extra layer of emotion." 

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