“Dreamgirls” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 23, Saturday the 24th and Monday the 26th with a matinée at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25 at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., Geneva.
The film, which won two Academy Awards including Jennifer Hudson's Best Supporting Actress, has been described as a “rare movie musical with real rapture in it.”
Director Bill Condon (“Kinsey”) has adapted the famously glittering 1981 Broadway musical and hooks the audience into a mood of swirling, infectious freedom — and doesn't let go. “Dreamgirls,” a candy-striped roman à clef, is a thinly veiled version of the rise of the Supremes and Berry Gordy's Motown. The slightly sinful jaunt of the music is the sound of a revolutionary new optimism — of a desire to break out and rise up, to set the world on fire with joy.
Dreamettes' lead vocalist Effie (played by Hudson) sings the same way a lion roars — blasting the roof off with her full-throated gospel vibrations. She's as churchy and volcanic as the young Aretha Franklin.
Backstage, Curtis Taylor Jr. (played by Jamie Foxx), a snake-eyed hustler of astonishingly nimble charm, sweet-talks the group into letting him be their manager. He sets them up as backup singers for James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy), a fading, salacious funk-blues belter who instantly teaches them a song, line by line, as the camera rotates into a concert performance.
Stymied by the music industry's racism, Taylor pays off radio stations, a necessary evil captured in the furious, low-down “Steppin' to the Bad Side.” He then spins the Dreamettes into a group of their own, which is when he makes his real deal with the devil: although Effie is his paramour, he replaces her — as lead singer and in the bedroom, — with the more svelte, doll-featured, light-skinned backup singer Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles).
What makes “Dreamgirls” a blast is Condon's obvious love for the show's heart-on-its-sleeve theatricality. Beyoncé buttons down her natural exuberance to play Deena, the demure but ambitious diva. Anika Noni Rose more than holds her own as the third Dreamgirl, Lorrell, and Keith Robinson quietly shines as Effie's songwriting brother.
Rated PG-13, “Dreamgirls” has a running time of 2:05; tickets are $5 general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens and are avalable at the door. Tickets are also available by visiting The Smith.