And I am telling you: Park Slope production of ‘Dreamgirls’ is dream come true

Supreme talent: Aisha Curtiss, Tunisia Renee, and Charnette Batey play the Dreamettes — later the Dreams — in the Gallery Players production of the musical “Dreamgirls,” based on the careers of classic Motown girl groups.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A girl’s got to dream.

Clinton Hill native Aisha Curtiss is living out her fantasy by starring in the smashing, soulful musical hit “Dreamgirls.”

Curtiss said she has been acting since age five and singing since she was nine, so her role in the Gallery Players’ production as Lorell Robinson — one third of the fictional female vocal trio the Dreams — is a perfect fit.

“I’d been looking for productions that incorporated everything, all aspects of what I do,” Curtiss said.

And, as the daughter of a musician, Curtiss said she grew up listening to classic ’60s Motown girl groups like the Shirelles and the Supremes, whose tunes and internal tensions inspired the songs and story arc of “Dreamgirls.”

The play’s plot follows Robinson and her band mates, Effie White and Deena Jones — depicted in this production by Charnette Batey and Tunisia Renee — in their struggles to gain commercial success and pull through complicated romantic entanglements.

Personal and professional rivalries threaten to split the group apart, but friendship ultimately prevails.

“I definitely connect with their trials and tribulations about getting into the business,” Curtiss said.

“And when I researched the character of Lorell, I saw she’s kind of similar to me. We’re both really happy, really jolly. She’s so optimistic, really uplifting.”

And even though Curtiss only met Batey and Renee in the past few weeks, the three have already achieved the sort of personal harmony their characters built as lifelong friends, which shows in their performances.

“We all get along, we all have great chemistry on the stage,” Curtiss said.

“You would never know that we just met each other.”

“Dreamgirls” at The Gallery Players [199 14th Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 832–0617,]. Now through May 19.

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