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Paramount Studios


The new Hollywood trend is to bring Tony award-winning musicals to the silver screen. Doing so has paid off for several big-name titles. The film adaptation of the Broadway hit, Rent, earned quite a few nominations in 2005—even a Satellite Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical (Rosario Dawson). And the show-stopping production, Chicago was the 2003 Academy Award darling, snagging 6 golden statuettes for acting, set decoration, costume design, sound, editing and best picture.

Now joining the ranks of these illustrious films is Paramount PicturesDreamgirls. The movie, starring Jamie Foxx (Curtis Taylor Jr.), Beyoncé Knowles (Deena Jones), Eddie Murphy (James “Thunder” Early), Anika Noni Rose (Lorrell Robinson), Danny Glover (Marty Madison) and Jennifer Hudson (Effie White), first earned critical acclaim at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The dramatic adaptation loosely based on The Supremes has since generated a lot of Golden Globe and Oscar® buzz.

The film is about three friends who all share a dream of becoming singing’s next great superstars. They go by the name The Dreamettes—no big surprise—as they embark on a promising music career in Chicago. Once they are invited to compete in the famous Apollo Theater’s talent competition, the stunning trio, along with C.C. White (Keith Robinson), Effie’s brother, travels to New York. It is there that they meet Curtis, who upon seeing them assumes the role as their manager. Enjoying some success as James “Thunder” Early’s backup singers, Curtis’ charm and ruthlessness launches the girls into their own spotlight.

With some grooming, Curtis revamps The Dreamettes. He encourages the group to crossover from R&B to the more profitable pop scene.  He also casts head singer Effie into the shadows so that the more attractive Deena can take the lead. Eventually, Effie is dropped and the remaining members become The Dreams.  The group’s chic look and lighter sound begins to appeal to a wider audience. As they become a household name, they start to wonder whether fame and fortune can really buy true happiness.

Although several stage-to-film adaptations have suffered comparisons to the original, the silver screen version of Dreamgirls can certainly stand on its own. Hudson’s rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” is one to be idolized and Murphy’s spectacular performance is genius. All in all, Dreamgirls is a cinematic triumph.
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