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Ruth Brown and Karen Mav in Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre

Friday, 13th May 2016  

Back in February it was revealed that Amber Riley would be stepping into the role of Effie White when the premiere of hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls opens at the Savoy Theatre.

This is still true, but it has now been revealed that performers Ruth Brown and Karen Mav also be alternating the part on Wednesdays, when Riley will take a weekly break from the production. Riley will continue to play the role in all seven other performances throughout the week.

Dreamgirls takes audiences back to the 1960s and forms a celebration of the contemporary R&B scene. As such we meet the band The Dreams, a female Chicago group that navigates its way through the music industry, traversing highs and lows on its journey to stardom. Musical numbers include And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going and One Night Only, amongst many others.

Many will be familiar with the story thanks to the 2006 film, which saw Jennifer Hudson portray White, herself following in the footsteps of Jennifer Holiday, who played the part back in 1981 when it was first seen on Broadway.

Both Ruth Brown and Karen Mav have previous experience of performing in front of audiences, with Brown well known for appearing on The Voice and releasing a single and Mav known for The X-Factor.

Producer Sonia Friedman commented on their casting when she said “This is fantastic news for the production.

“Casting Amber Riley is of course thrilling as she is the most extraordinary talent to star in our show, but now to be able to announce that Ruth Brown and Karen Mav will be joining the show, to cover Amber and share performances on the night that Amber will not be on is just fantastic.”

Dreamgirls is directed by Casey Nicholaw, who will also be in the spotlight this year for directing Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre, and the anticipated production begins performances at the West End’s Savoy Theatre this November, with an official opening in December 2016.

Chris Packer
Chris Packer Chris Packer has been writing about the West End for many years and wishes this knowledge would help him win some pub quizzes. When he’s not writing about the newest shows he’s probably watching films or anticipating the latest releases.

Article filed under: Theatre News | Musicals |