The PopCulteer
November 5, 2010


Your PopCulteer was lucky enough to be asked to attend a dress rehearsal of The Charleston Light Opera Guild production of “Dreamgirls” Thursday night, and despite having to swim upstream against the crowd going to see The Trans Siberian Orchestra, it was a spectacular evening of musical theater.

TSO was one-night-only, so you’ll want to be sure to make it out to catch this show. Director Nina Pasinetti has once again managed to recreate Broadway magic in Charleston, blessed with an amazing cast and a very clever set design.

If you’re not familiar with “Dreamgirls,” it’s a thinly-disguised retelling of the story of
Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and The Supremes, with plenty of fictionalized elements. It’s close enough to the real story to remain fascinating, but it veers off to leave the audience with a satisfying conclusion.  The music is a spot-on recreation of the Motown sound.

Check out the hightlights, below.

After the jump, you’ll find some photos and the rest of my quick review.

The cast is remarkable.  Shayla Leftridge-Bonds is a stand-out as Effe White, the very talented lead singer of The Dreamettes, who finds herself edged out of the lead spot in favor of the prettier, thinner and more marketable, Dina Jones, portrayed in stunning fashion by Janelle Williams.

Nakeila Killing rounds out the original trio as Lorrell Robinson, who really tears up the stage in the song, “Ain’t No Party,” a duet with Jimmy Early, played by Reggie Parks, who steals every scene that he’s in.

Phil Washington plays Curtis Taylor, Jr, the car salesman turned Showbiz Impresario. Washington and Shay Bonds bring real star power to their roles. The entire cast is incredible.  This is one of the most impressive collection of local voices I’ve ever heard.

If you are a fan of Broadway extravaganzas, or a fan of The Supremes and Motown, you won’t want to miss the CLOG production of “Dreamgirls.”

Next Week In PopCult:

Check back for Sunday Evening Videos, Monday Morning Art, a special review of the 2 CD Audiocomic of “Starstruck,” a new Radio Free Charleston and some post-election thoughts on advertising.