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‘Dreamgirls’ announces cast

Musical revival to embark on national tour

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 1960s girl group.

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.

Robert Longbottom, also helming the upcoming revival of “Bye Bye Birdie,” directs “Dreamgirls” and co-choreographs with Shane Sparks, a frequent choreographer on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Design team for the tour includes Robin Wagner (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Ken Billington (lights) and Acme Sound Partners (sound).

John Breglio produces for Vienna Waits Prods.

With music by Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, the 1981 tuner “Dreamgirls” got a major profile boost from the 2006 pic adaptation that starred Hudson, Beyonce and Eddie Murphy.

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

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