Last night’s performance of Dreamgirls (which is a take from a book that was written from the perspective of a former member of the girl group The Supremes) which started the NSMT’s 2015 season and kicked off the sixtieth birthday of the North Shore Music Theatre opened to a strong audience with what seemed to be exceptionally high expectations. However the first act slowly went downhill. With a slow build on the storyline and numbers that seemed (at times) out of place. In fact the first act could have been cut in half! The start is confusing at best. The title is “Dreamgirls” not “Man with the three backup singers.” At the start you would have thought that the main focus of the show was a man named James (“Jimmy”) who was struggling to find his sound and needed these girls to make him standout as unique.
I must say however that as long and drawn out as the first act may seem it is crucial to the story line and gives you great insight as to the culture and goings-on in the entertainment industry at that particular time.
The second act however was nothing short of perfection! You would never know that it was opening night at the NSMT and that some of these individuals were new and right out of the gate. The second act was fast paced and fun filled with cheers and laughter from both the audience and cast alike. One thing that stood out to me was when Eric Lajuan Summers who portrays James Thunder Early (“Jimmy”) took it upon himself to really get the crowd excited and have a good amount of audience participation. His voice and presence filled the whole theater and his excitement and enthusiasm was felt by all.
With all of that being said there was no shortage of talent and charisma. However the real star of the show was that of Bryonha Marie Parham who played Effie Melody White. This show was Perham’s debut performance for the NSMT however as stated above this is something you would never unless you were reading about it. The tone of Parham’s voice was rich and full with a smooth transition and no notice of stress with pitch between high and low notes. With every note and line you could feel the emotion and passion that Parham has for her part and her work in general. Overall I would say that this is a must see if you are into the culture of the early 1960’s into the 1970’s and have a passion for music that is full of heart and soul.
Tickets for The Dreamgirls are priced from $54 - $79. Performances are June 2 thru June 14, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. Kids 18 and under save 50% on ‘Family Fridays’- June 5 & 12 at 8 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.NSTM.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, Dreamgirls is sponsored by Abiomed
Written by: Nicole Lynne Wood
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.