Production designer John Myhre

Hollywood Awards honoree

Bill Condon wrote the screenplay for the film that won production designer Myhre his first Oscar. It was on that film, “Chicago,” that the two began discussing Condon’s dream project.

“He told me that he was in the house of ‘Dreamgirls’ on Broadway on opening night, standing room only, and when the curtain came up, he described it as being like a train taking off and not stopping until the end,” Myhre says.

Coming off his second Oscar win for “Memoirs of a Geisha,” Myhre met the challenge of “Dreamgirls,” which, as he puts it, was to help make something sensational on “a shockingly tight budget.”

One adjustment meant rethinking the end of the film. Instead of setting the final concert in a Madison Square Garden-size arena, Myhre proposed bookending the film with the Detroit Theater, where the girls were first discovered.

“When we open, it’s just this very humble little show with simple little curtains and a couple spotlights, and then at the end, they have a full-blown stage production like you’d expect to see on Broadway,” he says.

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