Friday, June 26, 2009


The upcoming national touring production of "Dreamgirls" has announced a cast made up largely of unknowns, in keeping with the obscurity-to-fame plotline of the 1981 tuner about a 1960's girl group, according to Variety.
Moya Angela, who has appeared in two tours of "The Lion King," plays Effie, the role that won Jennifer Hudson an Oscar in 2007 and was originated on the Rialto by Jennifer Holliday. Syesha Mercado, a second runner-up on "American Idol," and Adrienne Warren, currently understudying Ashanti in "The Wiz," have been cast as, respectively, Deena and Lorrell, the other two members of the titular music group.

Chester Gregory, probably the name most familiar to legiters from his roles in "Hairspray" and "Tarzan," will play R&B star "Thunder" Early, while Chaz Lamar Shepherd, who played a stint in "The Color Purple" on Broadway, portrays manager Curtis.

The new production will play Gotham's Apollo Theater Nov. 7-Dec. 6 before it heads out on the road.