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DREAMGIRLS

Singing And Dancing In "Dreamgirls"
"When I first saw you I said ‘Oh my. Oh my, that's my dream, that's my dream.' I needed a dream to make me strong. You were the only reason I had to go on.”

Despite the enormous effect the original Broadway production had on Condon, for the film, he wanted to both honor the R&B sound of the '60s and '70s while infusing the music itself with contemporary flavor. "Bill utilizes the drama of the piece as a catalyst for the music and singing,” says Jamie Foxx. "There's a reason to it all, because the emotional truth of the piece takes you in that direction. Right after ‘It's All Over,' BOOM, you're hit with Effie's ‘And I Am Telling You.' It's not just singing for singing's sake. It's storytelling at its most raw and emotional.”

In the film, as in the play before it, there are book songs and performance numbers. Though performances may often express commentary on story points or the emotions of the characters, book songs move the story forward. Music is ingrained in the characters' souls and is a powerful mode of expression for all of them. "The characters in this story relate to and through music,” says Condon.  Mark says, "Because of the nature of the story, almost every number is sung either in performance or on or near a stage.”

Though Condon already had a trove of powerful songs to utilize, he nonetheless sought to create new songs for the film. He turned to Henry Krieger, who wrote the original music for the Broadway musical (which yielded him a Tony nomination for Best Score and a Grammy Award for Best Broadway album). 

Krieger collaborated on four new songs for the "Dreamgirls” soundtrack:

• "Love You I Do” – Effie's breezy love song to Curtis (performed by Jennifer Hudson);

• "Listen” – a passionate song sung by Deena, who transforms from Curtis's product into an independent woman as she sings it (performed by Beyonce Knowles);

• "Patience” – a song C.C. writes for James "Thunder” Early to signal his budding awareness of social change, (performed by Eddie Murphy, Keith Robinson and Anika Noni Rose); and

• "Perfect World” – an upbeat confection from Teddy Campbell, a child musical sensation rising alongside The Dreams.

"Twenty-five years later, I'm getting to relive the dream,” says Krieger. "The show has been very faithfully kept intact and yet given its own vibration, for which I give all credit to Bill Condon's amazing screenwriting and direction, along with the collaborators who worked with the orchestrations from the original show by Harold Wheeler. It all comes out as being very organic to the piece. I love it.”

Krieger co-wrote "Listen” with Knowles and other talented lyricists. The song expresses for the first time Deena's inner journey. "It's an actor's dream to have a moment in a movie like that – to have a song like that to act,” says Knowles. "It says everything that Deena needs to say, words and emotions that any woman can relate to. It was amazing working with Henry—20 years after the original, to still write something so wonderful is incredible. I hope 20 years from now, I can still write songs like ‘Listen.'”

Condon brought in music supervisors Randy Spendlove & Matt Sullivan, along with cutting edge R&B producers The Underdogs (aka Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas). Says Sullivan, "We stayed faithful to the original score as much as we could while updating it. Every note that Henry took down in that score was for a reason. Every chord strikes an emotion, and he knows what that emotion is. Musically, we tried to stay true to his original intent.”

This unique group of collaborators spans various industries, movements and sounds, but all came together to aid Condon and the cast in creating the film's unique sound. They worked with the cast for roughly four weeks of rehearsal, which was followed by four weeks of pre-recordi

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