I am so pleased to announce Statesboro's Averitt Center for the Arts upcoming performance of Dreamgirls! I've been excited since I found out about it last year.
DreamGirls is loosely based on the rise and sometimes the fall of music legends like The Supremes, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and others. It mainly follows the story of young musical group of ladies from Chicago who are following their dream of being stars. We've all seen the movie but I'm sure that the Averitt will give us lots of surprises!
Join me as I steal a moments with character "Lorrell" played by Brandi Harvey who is also Program Development Director for the Averitt Center.
Tell us about your character "Lorrell" and your inspiration for playing this part.
I actually hadn’t planned on auditioning for the show at all. I had never seen the play or the movie, and, although I knew the premise and that it had been a sensation, I never felt like I’d be able to carry a part. One of the musical directors asked me to audition, and I assumed I’d get a small part or be put in the chorus. I was absolutely floored and nervous when they cast me in a principle role. I’ve got a lot of experience to draw from for this character, however, both musically and personally. I relate to Lorrell pretty easily by drawing on some of my own experiences.
What can the audience learn from "Lorrell"?
You know, I’m always reluctant to put my own spin on a character. I love to leave that sort of thing to the audience. This production is full of complex characters and storylines, and I think an audience member can draw any number of “lessons” from each character. We each bring out own stories to any performance we watch and those experiences lead us to take from each character the lessons we need to learn. I will say that Lorrell’s development seems very natural through the play. She begins young, wide-eyed, and innocent, and by the end has learned to stand up for herself. However, there is a lot more in there that audiences could learn from Lorrell and the other characters’ stories.
Do you have experience with acting?
I was in theater in high school and college both in acting and production roles, but I took several years off of acting to raise my family. Now that my kids are getting older, I’m elated to be back on stage. I actually directed our touring drama troupe when I was a junior and senior in college which gave me a much broader understanding of theater as a whole outside of strictly the tech and acting aspects of theater.
Tell me about your cast mates... Any memorable moments from rehearsals?
The cast is fantastic. There is some serious talent in our area, and I think our directors have managed to pull together some of the best. It’s been great to see how we all kind of help each other along. We all have strengths and support each other where others are weaker. Each of us has had bad days when we just couldn’t get our head into it, and there’s a sense of grace and support to help each other get through the days that are struggles. These last two weeks before the show are always the toughest because we are working so hard every night. When everyone gets that worn out, you might think tempers would be shorter and everyone would be less patient, but it’s brought everyone closer.
What surprises can we expect in the upcoming performance of Dreamgirls?
There are always surprises. Every performance of a show is a little different, even in the same company. This will be no exception. I’ve encouraged my friends not to come expecting to see the movie. Mical had a very specific idea in mind when he designed the play, and it leaves the music and story as the focus. I think I would recommend coming with fresh eyes – as though you’ve never seen DreamGirls before – to really appreciate the creativity of it.
The Averitt Center is currently in the middle of a Capital Campaign that will give us more space to house the educational programs that we offer to the community through classes in dance, theater, visual arts, chorale, and strings. The proceeds from this event and the accompanying fundraising dinner will benefit that campaign. There is a large portion of our region that is underserved in the area of the Arts and Arts Education, and it’s our goal to find new and creative ways to meet those needs. In addition to our Creative Growth Campaign, we have begun to look for other ways to offer the cultural opportunities we provide to those living in our region who haven’t had the chance to experience Theater, Visual Arts, Music, and Dance. One of those efforts is our African American Heritage Series. The Averitt Center began our January African American Heritage Series both to honor those trailblazers in the African American community such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who have had such a tremendous impact on bridging racial divides in our nation and as a way to begin to reach out to a portion of our community we had not been able to in previous years to serve. DreamGirls is the culmination of that series this year. Our director Mical Whitaker has extensive experience in theater from Broadway on down to the local level, and he speaks passionately about his view that the stage should be colorblind. He and the musical directors followed that principal in bringing together an incredibly gifted and diverse cast for the show. Cast members represent a broad spectrum of ages, races, faiths, and socio-economic backgrounds. We are excited to work together for an effort like this.
To find out more about the Averitt Center for the Arts in Statesboro, GA or for upcoming shows, you can contact them by phone
The Averitt Center Box Office at 912-212-2878 or click the pic to go directly to their website.
To snag your ticket for Dreamgirls this week, click here!
Friday, January 29, 2016 @ 7:30PM with Opening Night Supper afterwards
Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 7:30PM
Sunday, January 31, 2016 Matinee @ 2pm