[[caption-width-right:350:"All you've got to do is dream, baby!"[[note]]From left: Lorrell, Deena and Effie.[[/note]]]]

->''"And I am telling you, I'm not going..."''
-->--'''Effie White''', starting off the 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 Music/TheSupremes, ''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. As Jimmy 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, much to Effie's chagrin. Drama ensues.

One of the most beloved plays with a predominantly-black cast, ''Dreamgirls'' was nominated for several Tony Awards when it came out, though it lost Best Musical to ''Theater/{{Nine}}''. However, Jennifer Holliday won the Tony for Best Actress for the role of Effie, and later a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance for the play's showstopping number, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." In the 2006 film, Jennifer Hudson won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the same role, one of the few performers to win for their first film.
!!"And I Am Telling You I Am Not Troping":

* 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.
* AlternateHistory: In the stage musical, the Dreams are almost as popular as Music/TheSupremes. In the movie, the Dreams pretty much are Music/TheSupremes.
* ArcWords: "Showbiz. It's just showbiz."-sung by the backstage chorus whenever [[OhCrap something really bad happens to the characters]].
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: There's a scene where the Dreams are recording "Heavy", the shots before we actually see them recording is clearly of the Detroit "12th street" riot of 1967. There's even a small recreation of the event before we see them performing a rehearsal of Heavy at the television studio. The following scene, there's a brief shot of the marquee that states that the year is 1966, making the riot irrelevant to the plot (except to display the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement that was appropriate for the era).
* 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.
* BigWhat: Lorrell does this in the middle of the song "It's All Over."
* BoastfulRap: Jimmy's rap is centered around the things he has.
* BreakTheCutie: [[spoiler: Lorrell goes through this when she watches the news and finds out that Jimmy died of a heroin overdose. She loses it and starts crying uncontrollably]].
* BreakTheHaughty: This happens to Effie in the 2006 film when she gets kicked out of the group.
* TheCameo: Music/ArethaFranklin, Loretta Divine (who played Lorell in the original play), [[Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun John Lithgow]], and [[Series/TheOfficeUS 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]].
* CatchPhrase: Curtis constantly tells people "Trust me." Considering his very first act in the story is manipulating his way into managing the Dreamettes, and he gets no less unscrupulous from there, it's almost funny.
* CharacterDevelopment: Effie grows from being selfish into more accepting of the choices she has to make.
* 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]].
* CompositeCharacter: Several; to name one, Effie is based on Florence Ballard with elements of Aretha Franklin and Etta James.
* ControlFreak: Curtis is this, and this led to Deena leaving him.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Curtis. When Deena's mom worries that her daughter is just a "product", he responds as though it were a compliment.
* CostumePorn: The Dreams perform in pretty fancy dresses.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Jimmy; he initially just stormed off in the original musical, still alive.]]
** SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler: Deena's mother, Faye, who was also given a bigger role in the film; she was not only an actual minor character rather than just referenced by Deena, but came back at the end to help her daughter pack when she left Curtis.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Jimmy. It isn't explicitly stated, but his overdose occurs immediately after his comeback single was rejected by Curtis, and Curtis himself even states that he "did it to himself".]]
* DrunkWithPower: Curtis apparently turns into being this when the fame and money goes to his head.
* DudeNotFunny: An InUniverse example. In the film, when Jimmy drops his pants on national television, he expects others to find it funny. The others then criticize him for making a fool out of himself instead.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler: In the 2006 movie at least for Effie. Her song "One Night Only" goes back on the charts and she becomes a star.]]
* 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: Several. In addition to the leads, there's also the Jackson Five and the Music/SlyAndTheFamilyStone expies at the Rainbow Records concert, as well as groups and artists modeled after the likes of B.B. King and The Shirelles.
* ExtremeDoormat: Deena shows shades of this when she doesn't stand up to Effie and Curtis when they criticize her. She does eventually grow out of this.
* 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.
* GreenEyedMonster: Effie becomes this to Deena in the middle of the movie.
* HesBack: Subverted with Jimmy's performance during the fundraiser [=/=] Rainbow Records anniversary special.
* HonestJohnsDealership: Curtis is a high-flying, smooth-talking manager for the likes of the Dreams and Jimmy Early, but it turns out he's gotten involved in various borderline-illegal schemes to grow his label—including payola schemes to radio stations, accepting dirty money from the Mob, and even [[spoiler:the theft of Effie's single "One Night Only" for re-recording by Deena]]. It doesn't help that he was actually also a car salesman in the beginning; he sold Jimmy his Cadillac. (Ironically enough Jimmy's car doesn't actually cause him any problems, and Curtis is rather more successful as a salesman than the average Honest John, it just takes much longer for his underhandedness to be found out).
* HopeSpot: It seems like Jimmy's [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMOA]] until the pants come off...
%%* TheIngenue: Lorrell and Deena in the first act.
%%* InspiredBy: See the opening paragraph.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Effie, at first. This is due to her arrogance and the fact that she felt entitled to attention due to her being the best singer in the group.
* {{Jerkass}}: Curtis is revealed to be this in the climax of the movie.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Although he was being a prick about it, Curtis was right about how Effie's attitude was always bringing the group down and about her selfishness. Even Deena comes to agree with him.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Effie. She starts out as selfish and arrogant, but she eventually mellows out after getting kicked out of the group.
* 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.
** Also, Curtis using payola to force audio stations to play a disco cover of "One Night Only" by Deena Jones & the Dreams instead, stealing Effie's song. Even the other characters call him out on this.
** In-universe, the last straw for Deena was when Curtis pulled the plug on the gritty film project she wanted to undertake, forcing her into his Cleopatra movie that she was never interested in.
*** Which was an expy of the ''Magnolia'' movie that Diana Ross starred in.
* 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.
%%* ManipulativeBastard: Curtis.
* MeaningfulName: Sort of. If you consider Jimmy Early suddenly rapping on stage in the late 1960s / early 1970s, at least a decade before the commonly acknowledged beginnings of hip hop music in the late 1970s, that makes him an ''early'' rapper.
* TheMoralSubstitute: The rock'n'roll tune "Cadillac Car" gets a defanged reprise in the very next scene!
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} Motor City]]: 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".
* {{Narcissist}}: Effie shows traits of this, such as thinking that everything should always go her way just because she has a good voice. She does grow out of it later in the film.
* NeverMyFault: Curtis strongly runs on this, namely with his lack of responsibility after [[spoiler: Jimmy's overdose.]] Effie also has shades of this, which delayed her comeback for several years. Marty even calls her out on this.
* NeverTrustATrailer: The very first teaser for the Dreamgirls movie had three stand-ins posing and even used the original Broadway version of 'And I Am Telling You'. Jennifer Holliday, 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.
* ReCut: An "Extended Director's Cut", released in 2017[[note]]The same year in which another musical directed by Bill Condon, ''Film/{{Beauty and the Beast| 2017}}'', became the highest-grossing live-action movie musical, not adjusting for inflation[[/note]], adds 10 minutes' worth of additional footage, including the songs "Jimmy Don't Crawl" and "Effie, Sing My Song".
* 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.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere:
** Effie gets a moment when she decides to walk out of the recording session of the video "Heavy" on national television. Her facial expression helps.
** When Effie sings "And I Am Telling You," and tries to reason with Curtis, and he walks away.
** When Jimmy starts smoking in a room, and Michelle, Lorrell, and CC leave the room.
* SevenDeadlySins:
---> {{Greed}}: Curtis\\
[[GreenEyedMonster Envy]]: Lorrell, for Jimmy's marriage. Also, Effie for Curtis' growing attraction to Deena and the attention Deena was getting as the lead singer.\\
{{Pride}}[=/=]Wrath: 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.
%%* TheSeventies
* 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.
%%* 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".
* StylisticSuck: The "whitened up" version of "Cadillac Car."
* 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.
* TriumphantReprise: "Dreamgirls (Finale)" has Effie move up from the background, to lead vocals.
* TruckDriversGearChange: A few songs, including "I Am Changing".
%%* TwoActStructure
* TheUnfairSex: Lorrell has an affair with Jimmy Early, who's married. Throughout the entire play/movie, he is made out to be a total sleaze for treating her badly and sleeping with two (possibly more) women at the same time. However, Lorrell is shown in a strictly sympathetic light, despite the fact that she's knowingly and willfully engaging in a long-term affair with a married man.
* [[{{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.]]
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Try having the girls sit in the studio, recording a song for hours, while a riot is taking place just outside the studio. You can literally hear helicopters and sirens during Deena/Curtis/Effie's dialogue. Of course, early on there's a television in the control booth televising the riot, but Curtis literally pays it no mind. Instead, he looks onwards with his cigarette in hand.
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: Not stated in the show, but honestly, Curtis becomes [[AmbitionIsEvil overly ambitious]], and after Effie falls in love with him he jilts her in favor of her friend Deena, while also cultivating her into a marketable product. And after all this Effie still states "You're the best man I'll ever know" and swears up and down that they're perfect for each other. However, she may have been overly emotional due to the fact that [[spoiler: she was carrying his child.]]
* YourCheatingHeart: This happens to Effie when Curtis turns his affections to Deena.