Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dreamgirls: From the stage to the silverscreen

      One night, a chartered bus picked us up and drove to Century City, where a special surprise awaited us. As we pulled up in front of the Shubert Theatre, exclamations of “No way . . . No way!” rocketed through the bus. The marquee read: Dreamgirls. And it starred the original Broadway cast. As my eyes bugged and my mouth fell open, Jose asked me, “What’s Dreamgirls?” But even he got swept up in the excitement, quickly realizing that this was a very big deal. All the young Negroes on the bus, including some of the most old-moneyed, nose-in-the-air/stick-up-the-ass ninjas ever born, were jumping up and down in their seats.
      It was the summer of 1983. I was between my junior and senior years in high school (Cass Tech, in Detroit; alumnae include the O.G. dreamgirl herself, Diana Ross) and was chosen to be part of a program to expose supposedly gifted minority students (read: black and Latino) to the world of business through college courses. The hope was that at least some of us would consider a business major once we went on to college. I was assigned to UCLA, and given a dorm at Rieber Hall and a roommate from Texas named Jose; he was so gifted he was already taking premed courses. By day, droning professors did their best to prove how unsexy and uninteresting the business major would be. When we didn’t have classes, we did the tourist thing: sightseeing in Chinatown, cavorting on Venice Beach, going to museums, eating in amazing restaurants. Corporate sponsors footed the entire bill.

For the full article, click here

No comments: