History Main / Dreamgirls

28th Dec '12 9:36:12 AM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dreamgirls460.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From left: Lorrell, Deena and Effie.]]

->We're your Dreamgirls, boys!\\
We'll make you happy.\\
Yeah...\\
We're your Dreamgirls, boys!\\
We'll always care.\\
We're your Dreamgirls...\\
Dreamgirls will never leave you!\\
No, no...\\
And all you have to do is dream, baby.\\
We'll be there!
-->--From the title song.

->And I am telling you, I'm not going...
-->--Opening line of its most famous number

Opening in 1981, ''Dreamgirls'' is composer Henry Krieger and lyricist/librettist Tom Eyen's tribute to the lives and struggles of many 1960s R&B acts. A film version was released in 2006 [[DevelopmentHell after being in the works for years.]]

Mainly inspired by the story of The Supremes, ''Dreamgirls'' follows the lives of the Dreams, composed of full-figured and sassy lead singer Effie White, driven Deena Jones, and mousy Lorrell Robinson. With the help of Effie's songwriting brother C.C., the girls dream of leaving the slums of Detroit. They are plucked from obscurity by Curtis Taylor Jr., who becomes their manager, and arranges to have them sing backup for superstar Jimmy "Thunder" Early. While the Thunderman begins a long-term affair with Lorrell while married, Curtis falls in love with Effie. But when he decides to give the group their own act, he shifts his attention to the more conventionally beautiful Deena, pushing her to the top, and leaving Effie quite out in the cold. Years later, Curtis' ambitions for Deena clash with Effie's attempts to start on her own. More Drama Ensues.
----
!!This show features examples of:

* ActionDressRip: A variant. When Curtis hires Michelle to be his secretary (out of a parking lot full of people hoping for a record deal), he asks how she's going to type with her long nails, and she nonchalantly breaks them off since they're fake.
* AdaptationExpansion: The film version features details not seen on stage. Most importantly, it features [[spoiler:James "Thunder" ¯Early's untimely demise.]]
** Not to mention adding three new songs. At least one stage production goes so far as to modify one of the new songs, making "Listen" less about Deena changing, and more about her apologizing to Effie.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Curtis, Curtis, Curtis.
* AuthorExistenceFailure: Tom Eyen died in 1991, forcing Henry Krieger to collaborate with ''three separate groups of lyricists'' on the film's [[MovieBonusSong Movie bonus songs]].
* BasedOnATrueStory: The musical (and the film) are quite clearly based on Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and Mary Wilson; better known as The Supremes. The musical was [[LawyerFriendlyCameo was somewhat careful]] about making its story less clearly based on the supergroup; the film, however, had no such qualms, and Mary Wilson even called it "closer to the truth than they'll ever know."
** The musical's biggest difference with reality is the survival of Effie White, the Florence Ballard expy; in real life, Ballard tragically died of a coronary thrombosis just as she was poised to launch a solo career.
** The film keeps Effie's survival intact, but also adds a subplot about Deena Jones, the Diana Ross expy, reconciling with Effie; in real life, Ross and Ballard remained estranged until Ballard's death, though Ross did establish a trust fund for Ballard's children after Ballard died.
*** The film also directly copies several Supremes covers, and the song "When I First Saw You" is set to Deena being photographed in the same manner as several famous Diana Ross photographs.
* BillingDisplacement: Curtis makes Deena the star of the group and pushes Effie into the background because Deena is more marketable, even though Effie is more talented and the original lead singer of the group. Then for the film version, Beyonce Knowles (as Deena) got top billing while Jennifer Hudson (as Effie) was officially designated a "supporting actress", even though Effie is the main character of the story.
** Jennifer Hudson got a spectacular "[[AndStarring And Introducing]]" credit and an Oscar, so perhaps it evens out.
* BoastfulRap: Jimmy's rap.
* TheCameo: ArethaFranklin, [[ThirdRockFromTheSun John Lithgow]], and [[TheOffice John Krasinski]] in TheMovie.
* CanNotSpitItOut: A whole lot of drama could have ended before intermission had Effie told Curtis that [[spoiler:she was pregnant with his child]].
** In the film version, [[spoiler:she tries, but is constantly interrupted]].
* ChekhovsGunman: Michelle, the girl Curtis hires as his secretary, [[spoiler: later replaces Effie in the group. She has a bigger role in the play than the movie. Not only does she enter a relationship with C.C., she's the one who convinces him to make amends with his sister]].
* CivilRightsMovement: Not central to the story, but racism and the civil rights struggle are brought up from time to time.
* CompositeCharacter: Several; to name one, Effie is based on Florence Ballard with elements of Aretha Franklin and Etta James.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Curtis. When Deena's mom worries that her daughter is just a "product", he responds as though it were a compliment.
* CutSong: "Ain't No Party", where Lorrell voices her frustrations at Jimmy for not marrying her. A shame it was cut in the movie, since it gives her a bit of an edge.
* DyeingForYourArt: Jennifer Hudson, while having a nice set of curves herself, had to bulk up to play Effie as depicted onstage.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: Jimmy loves flashy clothes (he claims he thought of it first), there's four cannons of the stuff in the finale, and they're all over the closing credits.
* {{Expy}} / LawyerFriendlyCameo: In addition to the leads, there's also the Jackson Five and the Sly & The Family Stone expies at the Rainbow Records concert.
* FaceHeelTurn: While Curtis' more questionable actions are for the good of the group in the first act, by the second he becomes a full-fledged villain since the money and power had gone to his head.
* FleetingDemographicRule: Many Beyonce fans were confused when the film turned out to be about Jennifer Hudson though the fact the original promos only showed [[CoversAlwaysLie Beyonce, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx]], you can understand some of their confusion.
** In-universe example: When Michelle replaces Effie, everyone acts like Michelle had been in the group the whole time, even though Effie was with them when they started achieving international fame.
* HesBack: Subverted with Jimmy's performance during the fundraiser [=/=] Rainbow Records anniversary special.
** HopeSpot: It seems like Jimmy's [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMOA]] until the pants come off...
* HeyItsThatGuy: [[SexAndTheCity Carrie's assistant]], [[AustinPowers Foxxy Cleopatra]], and [[ThePrincessAndTheFrog Tiana]] are a GirlGroup under [[{{Mulan}} Mushu]] and his/their managers [[LethalWeapon Det. Murtaugh]] and [[BioPic Ray Charles]].
** Also, their song writer is [[PowerRangersLightspeedRescue the Green Ranger]].
* TheIngenue: Lorrell and Deena in the first act.
* InspiredBy: See the opening paragraph.
* {{Jerkass}}: Curtis
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie
* KickTheDog: Curtis to Deena (paraphrased): "You're popular because your voice has no personality except what I put in it." It's kinda weird when the person you're telling that to is ''Beyonce freaking Knowles''.
** Curtis terminating Jimmy's comeback single for not conforming to the image he wanted to present, despite not having any particular plans to revive Jimmy's career himself. Especially heinous since Curtis owes Jimmy ''his'' career.
* LifeImitatesArt: See BillingDisplacement.
* LighterAndSofter: Arguably the driving force of the plot. The Dreamettes are refocused into The Dreams (and later Deena Jones and the Dreams) moving from an R&B to a Pop sound. Jimmy Early gets a similar treatment.
** As mentioned in TheMoralSubstitute, "Cadillac Car" covered as pop song.
* TheMoralSubstitute: The rock'n'roll tune "Cadillac Car" gets a defanged reprise in the very next scene!
* MotorCity: The story of the film version begins and ends in Detroit.
* MovieBonusSong: ''Four'' in all: "Love You I Do", "Patience", "Listen" (all three [[AwardBaitSong were Oscar-nominated]]) and "Perfect World".
* NeverTrustATrailer: The very first teaser for the Dreamgirls movie had three stand-ins posing and even used the original version of 'And I Am Telling You'. The original Effie was not amused.
* OscarBait
* RearrangeTheSong: Effie's attempted comeback song, "One Night Only", is sabotaged, in more ways than one, by a disco version produced by Curtis and sung by the Dreams.
* RetGone: Michelle is (poorly) edited over Effie in [[{{Unperson}} all publicity photos of the old Dream/ettes]].
* SassyBlackWoman: Effie.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Curtis uses payola to help get his group to the top after the "Cadillac Car" fiasco.
* ScullyBox: Anika Noni Rose is significantly shorter than Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson, let alone the men, leading to the use of tricks to get her in the same shot as everyone else.
* SevenDeadlySins:
---> {{Greed}}: Curtis\\
[[GreenEyedMonster Envy]]: Lorrell, for Jimmy's marriage\\
{{Pride}}: Effie\\
[[HookersAndBlow Gluttony]]/[[YourCheatingHeart Lust]]/Sloth: Jimmy, who does heavy drugs and cheats on his wife with Lorell, with whom he constantly dodges the issue of marriage.
* ShoutOut: In the movie, Deena is briefly dressed as Carmen from ''Carmen Jones''; one of Beyonce Knowles' first acting roles was Carmen in the MTV "Hip-Hopra".
** The first teaser for the film ends with the Dreamgirls sticking out one leg, just like on the theater playbill.
* ShrinkingViolet: Lorrell, until she becomes sick of Jimmy's crap.
* TheSeventies
* TheSixties
* SpotlightStealingTitle: Curtis' fixation on Deena is made most obvious when he re-titles the group from "The Dreams" to "Deena Jones and The Dreams".
* TakeThat: Deena does this in the movie to Curtis after he says that her voice has "no personality" by singing the heart-wrenching "[[IAmSong Listen]]". Quite evident she thinks so too when she finishes singing.
* ThatRemindsMeOfASong: The entire first scene at the talent show.
* TruckDriversGearChange: A few songs, including "I Am Changing".
* TwoActStructure
* [[{{Unperson}} Un-Person]]: Effie became this [[RetGone when Michelle is edited over her, quite poorly, in all the old publicity photos of the Dreams and Dreamettes.]]
----
<<|TheatricalProductions|>>

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dreamgirls460.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From left: Lorrell, Deena and Effie.]]

->We're your Dreamgirls, boys!\\
We'll make you happy.\\
Yeah...\\
We're your Dreamgirls, boys!\\
We'll always care.\\
We're your Dreamgirls...\\
Dreamgirls will never leave you!\\
No, no...\\
And all you have to do is dream, baby.\\
We'll be there!
-->--From the title song.

->And I am telling you, I'm not going...
-->--Opening line of its most famous number

Opening in 1981, ''Dreamgirls'' is composer Henry Krieger and lyricist/librettist Tom Eyen's tribute to the lives and struggles of many 1960s R&B acts. A film version was released in 2006 [[DevelopmentHell after being in the works for years.]]

Mainly inspired by the story of The Supremes, ''Dreamgirls'' follows the lives of the Dreams, composed of full-figured and sassy lead singer Effie White, driven Deena Jones, and mousy Lorrell Robinson. With the help of Effie's songwriting brother C.C., the girls dream of leaving the slums of Detroit. They are plucked from obscurity by Curtis Taylor Jr., who becomes their manager, and arranges to have them sing backup for superstar Jimmy "Thunder" Early. While the Thunderman begins a long-term affair with Lorrell while married, Curtis falls in love with Effie. But when he decides to give the group their own act, he shifts his attention to the more conventionally beautiful Deena, pushing her to the top, and leaving Effie quite out in the cold. Years later, Curtis' ambitions for Deena clash with Effie's attempts to start on her own. More Drama Ensues.
----
!!This show features examples of:

* ActionDressRip: A variant. When Curtis hires Michelle to be his secretary (out of a parking lot full of people hoping for a record deal), he asks how she's going to type with her long nails, and she nonchalantly breaks them off since they're fake.
* AdaptationExpansion: The film version features details not seen on stage. Most importantly, it features [[spoiler:James "Thunder" ¯Early's untimely demise.]]
** Not to mention adding three new songs. At least one stage production goes so far as to modify one of the new songs, making "Listen" less about Deena changing, and more about her apologizing to Effie.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Curtis, Curtis, Curtis.
* AuthorExistenceFailure: Tom Eyen died in 1991, forcing Henry Krieger to collaborate with ''three separate groups of lyricists'' on the film's [[MovieBonusSong Movie bonus songs]].
* BasedOnATrueStory: The musical (and the film) are quite clearly based on Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and Mary Wilson; better known as The Supremes. The musical was [[LawyerFriendlyCameo was somewhat careful]] about making its story less clearly based on the supergroup; the film, however, had no such qualms, and Mary Wilson even called it "closer to the truth than they'll ever know."
** The musical's biggest difference with reality is the survival of Effie White, the Florence Ballard expy; in real life, Ballard tragically died of a coronary thrombosis just as she was poised to launch a solo career.
** The film keeps Effie's survival intact, but also adds a subplot about Deena Jones, the Diana Ross expy, reconciling with Effie; in real life, Ross and Ballard remained estranged until Ballard's death, though Ross did establish a trust fund for Ballard's children after Ballard died.
*** The film also directly copies several Supremes covers, and the song "When I First Saw You" is set to Deena being photographed in the same manner as several famous Diana Ross photographs.
* BillingDisplacement: Curtis makes Deena the star of the group and pushes Effie into the background because Deena is more marketable, even though Effie is more talented and the original lead singer of the group. Then for the film version, Beyonce Knowles (as Deena) got top billing while Jennifer Hudson (as Effie) was officially designated a "supporting actress", even though Effie is the main character of the story.
** Jennifer Hudson got a spectacular "[[AndStarring And Introducing]]" credit and an Oscar, so perhaps it evens out.
* BoastfulRap: Jimmy's rap.
* TheCameo: ArethaFranklin, [[ThirdRockFromTheSun John Lithgow]], and [[TheOffice John Krasinski]] in TheMovie.
* CanNotSpitItOut: A whole lot of drama could have ended before intermission had Effie told Curtis that [[spoiler:she was pregnant with his child]].
** In the film version, [[spoiler:she tries, but is constantly interrupted]].
* ChekhovsGunman: Michelle, the girl Curtis hires as his secretary, [[spoiler: later replaces Effie in the group. She has a bigger role in the play than the movie. Not only does she enter a relationship with C.C., she's the one who convinces him to make amends with his sister]].
* CivilRightsMovement: Not central to the story, but racism and the civil rights struggle are brought up from time to time.
* CompositeCharacter: Several; to name one, Effie is based on Florence Ballard with elements of Aretha Franklin and Etta James.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Curtis. When Deena's mom worries that her daughter is just a "product", he responds as though it were a compliment.
* CutSong: "Ain't No Party", where Lorrell voices her frustrations at Jimmy for not marrying her. A shame it was cut in the movie, since it gives her a bit of an edge.
* DyeingForYourArt: Jennifer Hudson, while having a nice set of curves herself, had to bulk up to play Effie as depicted onstage.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: Jimmy loves flashy clothes (he claims he thought of it first), there's four cannons of the stuff in the finale, and they're all over the closing credits.
* {{Expy}} / LawyerFriendlyCameo: In addition to the leads, there's also the Jackson Five and the Sly & The Family Stone expies at the Rainbow Records concert.
* FaceHeelTurn: While Curtis' more questionable actions are for the good of the group in the first act, by the second he becomes a full-fledged villain since the money and power had gone to his head.
* FleetingDemographicRule: Many Beyonce fans were confused when the film turned out to be about Jennifer Hudson though the fact the original promos only showed [[CoversAlwaysLie Beyonce, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx]], you can understand some of their confusion.
** In-universe example: When Michelle replaces Effie, everyone acts like Michelle had been in the group the whole time, even though Effie was with them when they started achieving international fame.
* HesBack: Subverted with Jimmy's performance during the fundraiser [=/=] Rainbow Records anniversary special.
** HopeSpot: It seems like Jimmy's [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMOA]] until the pants come off...
* HeyItsThatGuy: [[SexAndTheCity Carrie's assistant]], [[AustinPowers Foxxy Cleopatra]], and [[ThePrincessAndTheFrog Tiana]] are a GirlGroup under [[{{Mulan}} Mushu]] and his/their managers [[LethalWeapon Det. Murtaugh]] and [[BioPic Ray Charles]].
** Also, their song writer is [[PowerRangersLightspeedRescue the Green Ranger]].
* TheIngenue: Lorrell and Deena in the first act.
* InspiredBy: See the opening paragraph.
* {{Jerkass}}: Curtis
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie
* KickTheDog: Curtis to Deena (paraphrased): "You're popular because your voice has no personality except what I put in it." It's kinda weird when the person you're telling that to is ''Beyonce freaking Knowles''.
** Curtis terminating Jimmy's comeback single for not conforming to the image he wanted to present, despite not having any particular plans to revive Jimmy's career himself. Especially heinous since Curtis owes Jimmy ''his'' career.
* LifeImitatesArt: See BillingDisplacement.
* LighterAndSofter: Arguably the driving force of the plot. The Dreamettes are refocused into The Dreams (and later Deena Jones and the Dreams) moving from an R&B to a Pop sound. Jimmy Early gets a similar treatment.
** As mentioned in TheMoralSubstitute, "Cadillac Car" covered as pop song.
* TheMoralSubstitute: The rock'n'roll tune "Cadillac Car" gets a defanged reprise in the very next scene!
* MotorCity: The story of the film version begins and ends in Detroit.
* MovieBonusSong: ''Four'' in all: "Love You I Do", "Patience", "Listen" (all three [[AwardBaitSong were Oscar-nominated]]) and "Perfect World".
* NeverTrustATrailer: The very first teaser for the Dreamgirls movie had three stand-ins posing and even used the original version of 'And I Am Telling You'. The original Effie was not amused.
* OscarBait
* RearrangeTheSong: Effie's attempted comeback song, "One Night Only", is sabotaged, in more ways than one, by a disco version produced by Curtis and sung by the Dreams.
* RetGone: Michelle is (poorly) edited over Effie in [[{{Unperson}} all publicity photos of the old Dream/ettes]].
* SassyBlackWoman: Effie.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Curtis uses payola to help get his group to the top after the "Cadillac Car" fiasco.
* ScullyBox: Anika Noni Rose is significantly shorter than Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson, let alone the men, leading to the use of tricks to get her in the same shot as everyone else.
* SevenDeadlySins:
---> {{Greed}}: Curtis\\
[[GreenEyedMonster Envy]]: Lorrell, for Jimmy's marriage\\
{{Pride}}: Effie\\
[[HookersAndBlow Gluttony]]/[[YourCheatingHeart Lust]]/Sloth: Jimmy, who does heavy drugs and cheats on his wife with Lorell, with whom he constantly dodges the issue of marriage.
* ShoutOut: In the movie, Deena is briefly dressed as Carmen from ''Carmen Jones''; one of Beyonce Knowles' first acting roles was Carmen in the MTV "Hip-Hopra".
** The first teaser for the film ends with the Dreamgirls sticking out one leg, just like on the theater playbill.
* ShrinkingViolet: Lorrell, until she becomes sick of Jimmy's crap.
* TheSeventies
* TheSixties
* SpotlightStealingTitle: Curtis' fixation on Deena is made most obvious when he re-titles the group from "The Dreams" to "Deena Jones and The Dreams".
* TakeThat: Deena does this in the movie to Curtis after he says that her voice has "no personality" by singing the heart-wrenching "[[IAmSong Listen]]". Quite evident she thinks so too when she finishes singing.
* ThatRemindsMeOfASong: The entire first scene at the talent show.
* TruckDriversGearChange: A few songs, including "I Am Changing".
* TwoActStructure
* [[{{Unperson}} Un-Person]]: Effie became this [[RetGone when Michelle is edited over her, quite poorly, in all the old publicity photos of the Dreams and Dreamettes.]]
----
<<|TheatricalProductions|>>
[[redirect:Theatre/{{Dreamgirls}}]]
15th Dec '12 7:29:13 PM captainpat
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* {{BBW}}: Effie, who is understandably quite pissed that top billing (and her boyfriend's affections) end up going to Deena because of her looks, even though Effie is the best singer in the group.
4th Dec '12 8:19:30 AM DesertDragon
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Added DiffLines:

* ActionDressRip: A variant. When Curtis hires Michelle to be his secretary (out of a parking lot full of people hoping for a record deal), he asks how she's going to type with her long nails, and she nonchalantly breaks them off since they're fake.
9th Aug '12 7:03:39 AM MsCC93
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** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie

to:

** * JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie
9th Jul '12 1:59:57 PM BobMcGuffin
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* FleetingDemographicRule: Many Beyonce fans were confused when the film turned out to be about Jennifer Hudson though the fact the original promos only showed [[CoversAlwaysLie Beyonce, Eddy Murphy, and Jamie Foxx]], you can understand some of their confusion.

to:

* FleetingDemographicRule: Many Beyonce fans were confused when the film turned out to be about Jennifer Hudson though the fact the original promos only showed [[CoversAlwaysLie Beyonce, Eddy Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx]], you can understand some of their confusion.
8th Jul '12 7:10:23 AM MsCC93
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* Jerkass: Curtis

to:

* Jerkass: {{Jerkass}}: Curtis



<<|TheatricalProductions|>>

to:

<<|TheatricalProductions|>>
4th Jul '12 8:41:51 PM MsCC93
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* Jerkass: Curtis.

to:

* Jerkass: Curtis.Curtis
** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie
4th Jul '12 8:40:01 PM MsCC93
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Added DiffLines:

* Jerkass: Curtis.
1st Jun '12 2:21:20 AM SeptimusHeap
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** YourMileageMayVary, but compared to Jennifer Hudson, he's right.
28th Apr '12 7:40:00 AM DesertDragon
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** Jennifer Hudson got a spectacular "[[AndStarring And Introducing]]" credit and an Oscar, so I guess it evens out.

to:

** Jennifer Hudson got a spectacular "[[AndStarring And Introducing]]" credit and an Oscar, so I guess perhaps it evens out.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.Dreamgirls