Syesha Mercado wants audiences to laugh and have a good time when they come see her play Deena Jones in “Dreamgirls.”
“Audiences can expect to have a good time and hear some great music,” said Mercado. who hails from Bridgeport, Conn.
And that’s exactly what they got.
The audience was on its feet screaming and clapping in their praise for Mercado and the rest of the cast.
Mercado, who gained fame during the seventh season of “American Idol” as a second runner-up, played the coveted role of Deena Jones.
Set in 1962, “Dreamgirls” tells the story of The Dreamettes, an aspiring all-girl group from Chicago with dreams of becoming big stars. The group consists of best friends plus-sized musical powerhouse Effie White, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson.
The girls travel to the historical Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y., for a talent show competition and end up becoming back-up singers for soul singer James “Thunder” Early.
Things get complicated when Lorrell begins dating a married Jimmy and Effie begins dating Curtis, a used car salesman who became the Dreamettes’ manager.
Effie is replaced in the group by Michelle Morris. Effie spends several years trying unsuccessfully to get back into the music business. Her big chance comes when her brother, C.C. pens “One Night Only.”
Although this tour of “Dreamgirls” had a lot to live up to following Bill Condon’s 2006 blockbuster movie of the same name, which made a superstar out of “American Idol” alum, Jennifer Hudson, the show and actors were able to hold their own despite several technical difficulties.
The show had dazzling costumes and seamless clothes changes that had the audience chatting about the glitz and glamour.
The finale when the Dreamettes, now called The Dreams, perform their farewell concert wearing beautiful white-sequined gowns. Effie looked amazing in a gorgeous brown-beaded ensemble.
Not only did the clothing make the audience sit up and take notice, but the God-given talent of several cast members made the play a must-see.
Chester Gregory played the role of Jimmy “Thunder” Early to perfection. His beautiful falsetto voice and natural charisma made him the perfect choice for the role. Songs like “Fake Your Way to the Top” and “I Want You Baby” allowed Gregory to show off his talent and made the audience stand up and cheer.
Moya Angela played Effie White. Although she had a case of nerves during “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” she regained her composure during the hopeful “I Am Changing “ and her comeback hit “One Night Only.”
Mercado’s microphone cut out during some pivotal moments in the play especially when the Dreams performed “Dreamgirls.” That setback robbed the audience of the opportunity of hearing her stunning voice.
But ever the consummate professional, Mercado kept singing and performing during the mishaps. A true diva knows that the show must go on no matter what.
“Listen,” which was an original song penned by Beyonce Knowles, Scott Cutler and Anne Preven for the 2006 movie, was rewritten by Willie Reale and was performed by Effie and Deena. Through the song, the audience learns that Curtis made both Deena and Effie lose their soul.
Although the show had a few technical difficulties, it was dazzling with a few subtle differences from the movie that made the production a must-see for all.