Entertainment | Theatre | Broadway |

Dreamgirls

Tokyo, South Africa and US National Tour | | 2009

Dreamgirls first opened on Broadway in 1981. Full of large-scale onstage production numbers and riveting backstage drama, the story follows the lives of an up-and-coming 1960's girls singing group and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. The original production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won six.

What It Was

Dreamgirls first opened on Broadway in 1981. Full of large-scale onstage production numbers and riveting backstage drama, the story follows the lives of an up-and-coming 1960's girls singing group and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. The original production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won six. The new production of Dreamgirls is directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom. This 21st-century revival features over 500 lavish costumes by William Ivey Long, an innovative set from the award-winning designer of the original production, Robin Wagner, breathtaking lighting by Ken Billington, and two new songs from composer Henry Krieger. This production began its life at the Charlotte Theatre in Seoul, Korea in 2009 and opened the US National Tour at the famed Apollo Theatre, the setting of the play's first and final scenes, on November 22, 2009. For more information, link to www.dreamgirlsonstage.com

What We Did

Lightswitch participated in a tight-knit collaboration with the rest of the creative team to establish and adhere to a comprehensive narrative arc for the show. Before a single image was generated, over 100 plates of storyboards were drawn and discussed with the team to give us a roadmap for the rest of the process to come. The set consists traveling LED panels that can reconfigure to seamlessly move the action from scene to scene. Lightswitch created all of the media for this stage-wide canvas making it come to life - at times amplifying the money-and-power-driven world of the 1960's and 70's American music industry, and in other moments diminishing to the background, allowing the stage to focus on intimate scenes of family, friendship, love, and heartbreak that occur in the wake on the Dreams' fame.

Why It Worked

Recent designs for shows have used projection and LED technology to varying degrees of success. The design for Dreamgirls makes use of this technology to modernize the story and to create the fluid rise to fame of The Dreams. With the close and complete integration of the other design elements, the set, and the production as a whole takes on an almost cinematic quality - moving the show from scene to scene, onstage and backstage, without skipping a beat, following the Dreams' rise to fame all the way through super-stardom, and taking the audience along for a piece of the action.