American actress Amber Riley has been cast as Effie White in West End’s production of Dreamgirls.
Dreamgirls’ producer, Sonia Friedman, required the rights to the musical over a year ago. A reason why it hasn’t premiered yet was the difficulty of finding someone to play Effie. Hundreds of women auditioned for the part in London, but none of them seemed quite right for the role. Luckily, they found the perfect match in Amber Riley.
Riley, who is known for playing Mercedes Jones on Glee, auditioned for Dreamgirls‘ director, Casey Nicholaw, in New York late last year. She also met with Friedman, in London, where she had to perform the iconic showstopper, And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, from the musical. Friedman said, “I was crying because I was overwhelmed by the emotion and passion she put into the number.”
Riley performed two of Effie’s songs during her time on Glee, and now she will become West End’ first Effie White. About her casting in the show, Riley said,
“I am so honoured and excited to not only be playing such an iconic role, but also to be working with Sonia Friedman and Casey Nicholaw. Working on the West End is now a dream realised, I just feel like this is going to be something special.”
West End’s Dreamgirls is set to start previews at the Savoy Theatre in November. The first official performances will begin in December. The dates will be announced in March.
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Watch Riley perform And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going: