The producer of the West End version of “Dreamgirls” has been looking to explain the reasons behind a 35 year wait for the story of a 1960s Motown style singing trio to hit the London stage. Sonia Friedman has been discussing the issues those producers looking to stage the show in London since it debuted on Broadway in 1981 have faced in finding a pool of talent large enough to bring the story largely involving African-American characters to the stage with the BBC; Friedman explained the diversity now found on the London stage is the main reason the musical has finally transferred to the West End a decade after the Oscar winning movie of the show was released.
During the interview the producer explained her belief that the singing trio of African-American characters would have been too difficult to find in terms of talented actresses in the UK and those who could sing in the correct style. The movie version of “Dreamgirls” starred Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson in an Oscar winning role, which has been taken on the West End by former Glee actress Effie White who has been praised by critics attending the opening night as being the top performer in an impressive cast.
Sonia Freidman also looked to a range of shows that appeared on the London stage in recent years as providing the first steps in adding higher levels of diversity to a West End community that now includes a large number of women of color. The show is also said to be taking advantage of the many opportunities for actors from a variety of minority groups to find their way to the London stage, which has been undergoing many changes in terms of its diversity from the 1990s onward. The opening night of “Dreamgirls” saw a number of celebrities attending the premier who were joined by campaigners for diversity who have been working to provide openings on the stage for professionals from all backgrounds.