by: Lake Oswego Review, Nicole DeCosta

'We're your dream girls; we'll make you happy… We're your dream girls, dream girls will never leave you, no-no. And all you've got to do is dream, baby.'

Yes, the songs are still stuck in my head. Echoing. Taunting me in a groovy, gospel, soul-searching kind of way. It's fabulous.

'I got me a Cadillac, Cadillac, Cadillac. I got me a Cadillac car - Ooo ooo.'

It's been a few days since I saw Stumptown Stages' rendition of the Broadway hit 'Dreamgirls.' And I feel like I should go buy a party dress and learn some sassy choreography.

After recently seeing the Dreamgirls movie - starring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy - I was excited to learn that the play was being performed in Portland at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center.

So it was date night for my boyfriend and I, watching a theatrical performance about budding musicians, the curses of fame, friendships like family and dozens of hit songs.

We both loved it. We laughed at Jimmy Early's character - portrayed by the talented Eugene Blackmon. Early is a well-known smooth soulful musician, crossing over into the pop-charts within the performance. And Blackmon's vocals were outstanding and his wardrobe was outrageous. But it was the long black shiny wig that had us giggling for hours.

The three girls comprising The Dreams singing group - Lava Alapai, Joann Coleman and Julianne R. Johnson-Weiss - the pop girls making it big, were phenomenal. I saw a lot of myself within each character.

But then there's Effie, played by Johnson-Weiss - the soul sista shaking it up during the entire performance. Her sassy deliverance engulfed the true character of this young and talented woman hoping to make her song group a success.

Johnson-Weiss' convincing performance during 'And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going,' was emotional. For a moment I forgot we were sitting in an intimate theatre with a small stage. I could see her heart breaking, in front of all of us.

I'd never seen a Stumptown Stages production before, although being an artsy-person, I do hear the name of the theater company quite often.

If Stumptown's next production - opening this week - about a married couple's relationship titled 'The Last Five Years,' is delivered with the same conviction that Dreamgirls was, I'm there, boyfriend in tow and waiting to be transported to a new virtual realm.

But, can I wear my new do-whop poofy dress and beehive hair do? Forgive me in advance to whoever sits behind me. Tall hair is fun.

'Ooo ooo, yeah.'

Nicole DeCosta is a staff writer for both the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings. She is in charge of the Home section that runs in both newspapers. And she is the lead singer in her band, Macadam that performs throughout the metro area.

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