Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Original London Cast Recording


Music: Henry Krieger
Book & Lyrics: Tom Eyen
Performed by: Amber Riley, Liisi LaFontaine and Ibinabo Jack
Label: Masterworks Broadway
Release Date: 12 May 2017

I don’t think I can remember there been such an excitement around the release of a cast recording for a long time, as there has been for the release by Masterworks Broadway of the Original London Cast of Dreamgirls.

Recorded live in its entirety at the Savoy Theatre in London’s West End, the album captures the on-stage exhilaration of the original cast, the 14-piece band and audience. Dreamgirls’ legendary score features the unforgettable songs 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going', 'I Am Changing', 'Listen' and 'One Night Only'. The Dreamgirls Original London Cast Recording is produced by composer Henry Krieger and mixed by Andy Bradfield. The cast recording features Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson - making up the soulful singing trio ‘The Dreams’; JoeAaron Reid as Curtis Taylor Jr, Adam J. Bernard as Jimmy Early, Tyrone Huntley as C.C. White, Nicholas Bailey as Marty and Lily Frazer as Michelle Morris. The ensemble includes Michael Afemaré, Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Siân Nathaniel-James, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards, Noel Samuels, Durone Stokes and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

The long-awaited UK premiere of Dreamgirls opened at the Savoy Theatre in December 2016 to widespread critical acclaim, 35 years after originally opening on Broadway. It is directed and choreographed by Olivier and Tony Award-winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Disney’s Aladdin and Something Rotten!), with set design by Tim Hatley, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Richard Brooker and hair design by Josh Marquette. The musical supervisor is Nick Finlow, the orchestrator is Harold Wheeler, with additional material by Willie Reale.

Dreamgirls transports you to a revolutionary time in American music history. It charts the tumultuous journey of a young female singing trio from Chicago called ‘The Dreams’, as they learn the hard lesson that show business is as tough as it is fabulous.

With book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened in 1981 and subsequently won six Tony Awards. The original cast recording won two Grammy Awards for Best Musical Theater Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going'. In 2006 it was adapted into an Oscar winning motion picture starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

This is a brilliant, if not perfect cast recording. The live nature of the recording certainly catches the excitement in the performance, not only from the cast, but also from the audience, and the superb live band. The lack of clarity at times is a worthwhile tradeoff I think - and it certainly beats the Broadway Cast recording, and also the Concert Cast recording of 2001 - although this is the most complete version available. The new recording is pretty complete, although Act 2 does suffer a little by what’s not there.

But the real star of this recording is Amber Riley - for some, THE Effie White. I’m not sure she is better than Jennifer Holiday, but her rendition of 'I Am Telling You' is the highlight of this recording, and is probably the definitive version. Her Olivier award was well-deserved. Other performances from Lilsi Fontaine and Adam J Bernard are also stunning, and worthy of being alongside Riley. It’s a tight sound, and a well produced album.


Ian Gude

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Digital album
iTunes GB
Digital album
Digital album