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Friday, September 7, 2012

Dream Girls!

For a summer night it was uncommonly hot. The room was full and the audience was ready to groove. If you closed your eyes, you'd be transported back to 1960s Detroit. Swaying to the new sound coming from 2648 W. Grand Boulevard,  "Hitsville U.S.A." more commonly known as Motown. Except tonight, the unmistakable Motown sound is coming from the Dream Girls production at Spirit of Newfoundland in St. John's.

The lights dim, band leader Bill Brennan recreates the famous Motown driving bass lines. The black music that gave America something to dance to. The Dream Girls take the stage and their voices brilliantly fill in that familiar soul music with the gospel undertones. Everyone in the audience is dancing in their chairs. They know every word and they sing along to every tune.
How could three white girls from Newfoundland pay tribute to three black girls from Motown so perfectly?  Kelly-Ann Evans, Janet Cull and Dana Parsons became The Supremes. From their perfect melodies to their sequined gowns. They take you through the history of how women changed the face of music.

From Martha and the Vandellas to Diana Ross and the Supremes, they bring you the music, the glitz and the glamour. It's still a Spirit of Newfoundland production so it is not without its sense of humour. The only thing missing is a dance floor because many a time throughout the show I wanted to get up and shake my groove-thing.
Kelly-Ann Evans is a performing dynamo! She's well known  in the Canadian music, theatre and entertainment industry as a force to be reckoned with. She brings a tremendous amount of energy to the show. She performs a solo of a Whitney Houston song that brought they entire audience to applause several times and to its feet at the end. It's a performance that leaves you saying "Wow!"

Kelly-Ann is the new owner of Rock City School  where she mentors and inspires young people to entertain. My twelve year old daughter is a student of Kelly-Ann's. I was sitting in my car waiting for her to finish a rehearsal for the final show last year. My daughter came out and plopped herself in the passenger side of my car. Her hair was covered in sweat and her face was beet-red. I asked, "Kelly-Ann wore you out?" She responded with, "Mom, she makes me believe I am better than I think I am. She makes believe I can do this."  Enough said.
Janet Cull is a star in her own right. She was awarded the Music NL Educator of the Year in 2010. She has also won Music NL Group of the Year, Music NL Jazz recording of the Year and Music NL CBC Galaxie Rising Star for the Janet Cull Band. Whether she is singing backup or lead Janet brings the audience to its feet. Her own solo of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a song she dedicates to her son, will send shivers down your spine.

Dana Parsons is a graduate of Toronto's Sheridan Musical Theatre program. She is an award winning performer and singer with a list of accomplishments including a 2007 East Coast Music Award Nominee for Pop Recording of the Year.  Her debut album "It's You Not me!" garnered five Music Industry Award nominations  and a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award for new artist. Her new album "Within The Dark" is online at You'll easily recognize Dana's voice and face from Nunsense and other Spirit of NL shows. She's so much fun and can leave the audience in stitches with the smallest of facial expressions.
Unlike The Supremes, it would be hard to pick the star of Dream Girls. They all do such a fabulous job. This is the first show I've seen that had several standing ovations. From the dazzling gowns, to the finely coiffed hair, these sisters of soul capture the sound of Motown. I was still singing along a week later. Berry Gordy himself would have been the first to his feet to lead the final standing ovation.

Simply put, you'll love this show. It's a great night out. The food is delicious, the service is five star and the entertainment is phenomenal. It's the best ticket in town.