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Dreamgirls

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Keith Lee Grant
January 10, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director/Choreographer.

What is your show about?
An intimated chamber version of the, Motown inspired rags to riches, Rhythm and Blues musical DREAMGIRLS; performed by 10 talented singer/actors in a small theatre in Harlem.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Chicago but was educated in the EAST. I have a M.A. in Dramatic Literature from Penn State University and an M.F.A. from the Yale School Of Drama. I also have a Certificate from the American Conservatory Theatre's Advanced Acting Program.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that takes a classic musical like DREAMGIRLS and performs it in a 70 seat theatre in the heart of Harlem with a cast of only 10 talented singer/actors. The first act is done proscenium while the second act is performed in the round!

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
Much of the action in the Harlem Repertory Theatre's production of DREAMGIRLS is performed inches away from the audience. I am confident that the audience members have a great deal to say about the singer/actors, the concept and the intensely intimate manner in which the show is presented.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
The Harlem Repertory Theatre's production of DREAMGIRLS would certainly be best described as, "SURPRISING"! I don't think that anyone has ever attempted to stage an intimate/chamber version of DREAMGIRLS with such a small cast and in such a small space. The reactions to our production have been quite positive. People are often emotionally moved by the action on the stage because they feel a part of what is happening because it is around them -- inches from them.

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
The Harlem Repertory Theatre is a testament to Diversity because our company had Blacks, Latinos and White performers and staff members. I would venture to say that we are one of the most ethnically diverse theatre companies producing in NYC. I embrace non-traditional casting and welcome performers of all ethnic backrounds. Please know that Curtis, C.C. and Deena are all played by talented Latino actors while the others are African American. We also have a White male playing Jerry and Mr. Morgan!