Dreamgirls is a musical based on the show business aspirations and successes of acts such as The Supremes, The Shirelles, and James Brown. The story begins with a young female singing trio from Chicago who get their big break at an amateur competition and begin singing backup vocals for James "Thunder" Early. However, things begin to spin out of control when their agent, Curtis Taylor, Jr., makes Deena and not Effie, the star of what will become known as "The Dreams."
Just like Deena, Effie and Lorell, drama students from Oklahoma City’s Harding Fine Arts Academy (HFAA) have big dreams of making it big and getting their big break into show business. For this very reason, Harding Fine Arts Academy is undertaking the challenge of being the first high school in Oklahoma to take on the challenging musical Dreamgirls.
“It is quite a daunting task to be the first high school in Oklahoma to produce Dreamgirls. The responsibility to set a standard is the biggest challenge.” said Brenda Williams, Harding Fine Arts Academy drama teacher. “When we did the musical Hairspray, we were the first then. We had a lot of representatives from other high schools come to see it. We have to be the best we can be to make our audiences and our school proud!” she said.
Williams had considered doing the show for quite a while, but this year just seemed right. Much of the cast is graduating this year. She wanted to do now while she could still have the cast that she wanted.
“I just felt this was the year to attack this one!” said Williams. “Our entire cast, especially the three ladies playing the lead roles, is unbelievably talented!” she said.
HFAA seniors Miah Baker, Vivian Tyson and Kaylie Germany play the roles of the singing trio that struggle through jealousy within their group, abusive relations and rejection by white audiences.
“The best aspects of the musical are the heart and soul of the piece. It has everything – love, betrayal, success, failure and triumph. Much of the dialogue is sung bringing a new edge to the acting the kids have to do.” Williams said.
The entire cast numbers over 40 performers including other leading roles played by James Mayfield (Curtis), T.J. Mosley (Marty), Aaron Traylor (C.C.) and Anthony Clark as Jimmy. A jazz ensemble, made up of Harding Fine Arts Academy musicians, will play the Motown-themed music.
Dreamgirls runs April 17th & 18th at 7:00 pm at the Harding Fine Arts Academy auditorium. Harding Fine Arts Academy is located in the old Harding High School at 3333 N. Shartel Avenue in Oklahoma City. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and members of the military and $3 for students.
“This show is big! Big cast, big costume plot, big music score, just big. I tell the kids we have to be bigger than the challenge,” said Williams. “I think we are!”