More than just a “dream”: a musical, an uplifting tale of pop celebrity | Entertainment

While Curtis is ready to woo Effie, he’s also aiming for a few bigger prizes, namely the songwriting talent of Effie’s brother, CC (Graceson Todd), and the physical beauty and radio voice of Deena Jones ( Majeste Pearson), who so far has been happy to sing with Lorrell Robinson (Kubbi).

Curtis also quickly wielded his influence over James “Thunder” Early (Nash McQuarters), who struggled to hold audiences with the gospel-fueled music that raised the roof of any club he played at.

All it takes to realize Curtis’ vision of a “whole new sound” is, to put it simply, getting rid of the soul. For Curtis, that means toning down the energy of the music and those who perform it, so that the results are acceptable to white audiences. But the reality is that this plan forces artists to deny their real, authentic selves in order to make money.

The Tulsa Theater and director Kelli McLoud-Schingen have assembled a fine cast to tell this uplifting tale, led by a trio of excellent performances by the women who make up the titular trio. Pearson will occasionally channel a bit of Diana Ross’ breath, but otherwise, she appropriates Deena; she can get drawn into Curtis’ ploys, but she has the backbone to break free.

As Lorrell, Kubbi makes this “middle child” an indelible presence, from the laughing fan-girl meeting her idol to a woman fed up with a relationship that has been seven years of promises and lies.

Corina C. Butler

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