As Cincinnati Black Theatre Company approaches their 20th season, they are gearing up for one of their most impressive performances yet: "Dreamgirls." CBTC's adaptation of the widely popular musical is one that will blow you away. In order to give a unique insight into the show, we spoke with LaCrea Burns, who stars as Effie White.
Burns was ecstatic to share how Director Don Sherman puts his own touches on the show “Don is a do-it-all kind of Director, and he knows how to get the emotions out of his actors.” She recalls a rehearsal in which she and her understudy were directed to sing to one another, while standing within feet of each other, and convince the other person of the lyrics they were singing. This is just one tool Don uses to bond his cast and prepare them for showtime. Burns also mentioned that the cast was encouraged to do a pre-practice workout together to build endurance and unity.
When it comes to the performance, I asked who stood out to her as a cast member who would blow the audience away. Without hesitation, she brought up a young man by the name of Jovan Cameron. Cameron plays Curtis Taylor, Jr. in the play, and Burns praised him for his “exceptional range." The character is unique because he can be seen as both seen hero and the villain throughout the play, and Jovan is able to deliver on both roles.
When speaking of her own role, Burns was excited for the opportunity to play a character with so many parallels to her own life. In "Dreamgirls," Effie White is generally seen as the most talented vocalist, but she doesn’t have the “look” to be the face of the group. Burns sees that struggle in her own professional career. The notes that she can hit will make you think she is the next big thing, but from her perspective, that isn’t a focus for her, because just like Effie, she doesn’t want to conform to a pop culture stereotype in order to make her voice heard. This powerful message is one she believes will resonate with the audience. I can tell you from firsthand experience, LeCrea Burns’s consistent excellence on stage will drive you to emotions you weren’t expecting.
This run of "Dreamgirls" won’t be long, so act fast! The show runs from March 15 through March 24. For more information, call 513.241.6060 or visit CincinnatiBlackTheatre.org.