Mother of All Mavens

A whole lot o' nothing. And then someā€¦

Did everyone watch Oprah today?

No, wait…I mean, did everyone PVR Oprah today?


Oh, poor souls, you missed out. You really did.

Disclaimer: I am not, by nature a daytime TV person. Never have been. When the sun goes down, that’s a different story – the remote comes out. But I have too many guilt issues with daytime telly – unless I am severely under the weather or there’s some hideous ambulance-chasing newsflash I can’t turn away from. Reruns of sitcoms, maybe Ellen, OK. But Oprah? Very, very, rarely. I did watch the cast of Friends goodbye show, but that’s about it.

See, when it comes to Ms Winfrey, I’m not a fan. In fact, she kinda bugs me. I kinda liked Fat Oprah. And Sophia-from-The-Color-Purple-Oprah. And I can appreciate and barely stomach Do-Gooder-Friend-of-Nelson-Mandela-Oprah. But thin-, marathoned-, and star-f&cking Oprah? Not for me. Too condescending. Too Benevolent Ruler of Minivan Moms in audience. Too earnest. Too annoying.

BUT I put it all aside for today. I got over my aversion to Oprah and to daytime TV for today. I really let myself go to the edge of the couch for today….For today was DREAMGIRLS day.

Yes, it’s true. DREAMGIRLS has arrived. Ish. More specifically, it’ll arrive at your local theatre on Christmas day. The lucky ones in LA and NYC will, as always, get it sooner, as will a handful of other selected spots (please please please let Toronto be one of them) (I know, it probably won’t) (if you don’t ask, you don’t get) (why am I having a paranthetical conversation with myself) (because I can)…

My Euro friends, you probably don’t even know what DREAMGIRLS is, let alone when it’s coming. So you can just read along, safe in the knowledge that a damn fine show has been turned into a supposedly damn fine film and that you can – and should – book your tix AND your seats in advance.

So there they were: Beyonce, James Foxx, Anika-something-or-other, Ed Murphy and my fave, Jennifer Hudson. Her god-fearing (and spouting) ways aside, I love her. And so did the audience. She got a longer standing O than the Mighty Murphy. More whoops than the other folks combined. Rightfully so, folks, rightfully so.

For the eight of you people who didn’t watch American Idol a couple of season back, she was one of the 3 divas. Fantasia, someotherchick, and Ms Hudson. She sang the Dreamgirls’ showstopper (do I have to spell out everything? “I am Telling You I’m Not Going”). She was the first of the best to be booted, but baby, look at her now! Word on the street (and on the web) is she’s the one to watch. As it should be. She was Effie on Idol and she’s Effie now. Jennifer Hudson? The new Jennifer Holliday.

Beyonce (and, parents, it’s pronounced Bee-yon-say, not Bee-Yawns) was, as always, a real lady. Babydoll Pajama dress aside, she was poised, stunning, and modest. A glamorama movie star ’til the end – complete with costume change. And, yes, she sang. She sang the one song that didn’t come from the original soundtrack. Y’know, the Disneyfied, lyrically-on-the-nose, lame song: the Oscar song. B’s pipes were so outstanding that she actually gave some life to a truly lame tune. Now that’s star power.

There was the other chick, the Tony award winner whose name escapes me. She plays Lorell. The one no one really gives a shit about. But she gets a solo, and a paycheck and gets to be on Oprah, so let’s not pity her.

Moving on.

Jamie Foxx. Talented? Yes. Hot? Yes. Somewhat runty? Kind of. He described himself as shiny. That says it all. Shiny good and shiny bad. And then they played some clips of him as Curtis. Clips he was proud of. Clips in which he sang all his own songs. May I remind you that he did no such thing in Ray. And maybe that’s good thing. ‘Cuz I’ve got two words for you: Weak Link. Yes, yes, yes, I’m sure his performance will be stellar. But a balladeer he ain’t.

Now, was it me, or did Funny Murphy seem kinda sad? Cliche, I know, the sad clown and all, but he did. He seemed out of sorts and kind of down. Maybe Eddie finds Oprah annoying too. Or maybe he’s just whipped by Scary Spice. Whatev – the few sound clips of him as James Thunder Early? Erm….smoking!

I first saw Dreamgirls when I’d pulled my braces off at sleepover camp so I could go home and call a boy I liked. I was that kind of girl. His number turned out to be unlisted (loo-hoo-ser), but I got to go and see Dreamgirls. And then I saw it again on Broadway. I’ve had my mother quoting it to me for years. I’ve sung every breath of every song in countless car rides. I’ve participated in (and nearly wrecked) an amateur production of the thing. I’ve cast the movie in my head and – I don’t mind bragging – pegged Beyonce and Jenny Hudson long before the producers even did. I even watched The Oprah Earnest Show to get a glimpse of the Dreamgirls Dreamteam. Along with a handful of other diehards, I’ve been waiting for this moment for 25 bloody years, so please, forgive my excitement.

And now, I pass that excitement on to you, loyal readers. Let the countdown begin:
One month, five days…


Anonymous said…


1:13 AM

Anonymous said…

“When I first saw you… I said “oh my, that’s my dream”. Not only is DREAMGIRLS THE SEMINAL 80S MUSICAL (ok– name another one, c’mon… just as I thought) and Michael Bennett’s last (notable) hurrah– it would be really easy to mess the movie up. (‘Rent’ anyone?) This is the same guy who directed ‘Gods & Monsters’ & ‘Kinsey’. Fine films, yes, but paced like the tortoise from the age-old fable. DREAMGIRLS is the definitely the Hare. In any case, it looks like they did the right thing– the movie looks stunning– and not just from a theatre-geeky, broadway-only p.o.v. I’ve been casting Dreamgirls in my head for years and while I would’ve liked to have seen it made when La Holliday was still young enough to play Effie onscreen (again, ‘Rent” anyone?), Ms. Hudson certainly fills those shoes. But I really think this film was waiting for the ascent of Ms. Knowles. She IS Deena. (And Deena, it’s only the beginning!) And hello, no slighting Lorrell (who loves Jimmy, it’s true…)– Anika’s got the most chops of the three, and for a theatre chick she even looked stylish. Besides, they had to get a bargain on someone to pay for Foxx & Murphy. By the way, Eddie Murphy, get your Oscar speech ready. I called it when they announced the casting and I’m sticking by it. Beyonce, you may have to wait your turn when they call Ms. Mirren to the podium. But everyone in the room will know who’s really the Queen! Lastly– who knew all it took was writing a letter to Oprah to get tix to the L.A. premiere. That D’Shawn guy was the highlight of the show– ultimate Dreamgirls fan, though? I, and perhaps MOAM, beg to differ!

9:17 AM

Anonymous said…

By the way, that some other chick on Idol was your pick to my Fantasia!!! How soon we forget. And Jamie Foxx did his own singing in Ray. Also as Ray in Kanye West’s Goldigger. (note to Other comment – Gods & Monsters is paced perfectly and gay enough to prove he could direct Dreamgirls! No pacing aside please.) Lorrell does love Jimmie and even though “Lorrell and Jimmie are through” – who does give a shit about Lorrell. I’m with the MOAM on that one. Can’t wait for Murphy to be getting in the “Hot tub!” He will finally make up for “My girl wants to party all the time.” I have loved him forever and think he is brilliant!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *