By McKenna Wierman, NDG Special Contributor
You may have seen the movie, but according to actor and Arlington native Clinton Greenspan, you’ve never seen Dreamgirls like this.
“In the movie, they just sort of only played the greatest hits,” he said. “In this show, the music is almost non-stop. It’s crazy.”
Greenspan, who will be playing the role of C.C. White in the Dallas Theater Center’s upcoming production of the famous Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” has been in a number of shows in the Dallas area over the past few years, including “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Sweet Charity” at the Water Tower Theater, as well as playing the role of Benvolio in “‘Romeo and Juliet” at the Dallas Theater Center earlier this year.
But in “Dreamgirls,” Greenspan was challenged to play a character who tells a different kind of story when it comes to rising to fame, one that it’s entirely fiction.
“I play C.C., he’s the writer and composer for ‘The Dreams’ music. He’s the brother of Effie White, and he goes down the journey with the girls throughout the show. He deals with it.” said Greenspan. “He’s not in the spotlight, he’s not the performer, but he’s the other story that deals with becoming famous. He goes through the same journey as the girls, but from the other side.”
Greenspan said the key to finding a connection with his character came through researching other songwriters and composers for famous artists, and digging deeper into what kind of world the Dreamgirls really would have lived in. And what he found helped him to tell the story of C.C. White.
But he isn’t alone. Greenspan said the entire Dreamgirls cast at the Dallas Theater Center has come together to create a show that everyone will enjoy.
“From the very beginning, everyone has just been a huge family,” he said. “I don’t mean that lightly–every rehearsal we have, the first thing we do is we’re hugging each other as if we haven’t seen each other for a month. It’s crazy.”
For many shows, the bond between a cast can mean the difference between success and failure. Greenspan said the welcoming and open environment he has experienced while working on “Dreamgirls” has helped the cast explore the shows darker themes, such as rivalry and betrayal.
“I will say that I think it helps to explore that heavy part of the show, having everyone being so comfortable with one another,” he said. “Everyone is welcoming of new ideas and willing to try new things and that way when it comes time to get to the heavier stuff in the show, it’s not like it has to be one way.”
But besides working together, Greenspan said everyone worked together to tackle darker scenes in Dreamgirls.
“Getting into the heavier stuff in the show, I think we’ve all done our research,” he said. “A lot of us have done research on tons of Motown groups to kind of get that vibe, to see how things have changed and how the environment was. All that has helped us with the heavier parts of the show.”
But along with some of the show’s heavier themes, Dreamgirls is a story of phenomenal music, and Greenspan promises this production will deliver.
“This show can be for anyone. We have amazing performers, amazing singers and dancers,” he said. “Anyone obsessed with killer vocals will love this show.”