The whole production seemed to have been shifted so as to center on the Effie character. You were aware of her story from the beginning and she got the final bow. But the real star of the tour is Chester Gregory as James Early. He is a charismatic performer who can sing like James Brown, on whom the character is based, and do some amazing dance moves that leave the audience cheering.
William Ivey Long provides more than 400 costumes. Robert Longbottom directs. The main change is in the scenic and lighting designs by Robin Wagner and Ken Billington. Because all the action is backdropped by ever changing light panels, the emotion tends to get lost and you are left with a Vegas-like Dreamgirls, a lot of glitz and not much real emotion. The evening is thrilling but exhausting. Dreamgirls plays at the Ahmanson Theatre until April 4th.