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"And I am Telling You..."

I can confirm that Dream Girls at the Savoy Theatre is not only breath-taking but actually good for you. Don’t just take my word for it, though, there’s actual scientific evidence. A new Study from University College London, University of Lancaster and Encore Tickets has examined the brain activity and heart rates of theatregoers enjoying Dream Girls. The 12 individuals, even though seated for their performance, were recorded as having an elevated heart rate of between 50-70%, for on average 28 minutes. This is comparable to 30 minutes of playing tennis.

There is no experience quite like live musical theatre; the acoustics, the emotion, the amazing vocals and dazzling costumes and sets. Dream Girls has ALL of this and more.

The story follows the journey of a young female singing group ‘The Dreams’ during a key time in American music history. Without offering too many spoilers, at the end of the first half, some members of the group have learnt the hard way that both show business and love can be cruel. Dream Girls is unique amongst current West End shows in often receiving a mid-show standing ovation for Effie’s performance of ‘And I Am Telling You’, just before the interval. This is, in part, why it was chosen for the recent study, as the peaks in heart rate are not just limited to the climax of the show.

I was fortunate enough to see Glee’s Amber Riley as Effie, and she gave the most emotional, passionate and amazing performance, the standing ovation was fully deserved. It took the whole 20-minute interval for the goosebumps to disappear – and for my heart-rate to level out.

So if the long list of Tony, Olivier and even Oscars for the film, doesn’t inspire you to take your group of budding performers to see Dreamgirls, then hopefully the scientific proof of the benefits to your health will.

Dreamgirls the Facts:

The Original Broadway Musical won 6 Tony Awards in 1982:  Best Book of a Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Performance, Best Light Design.

The DreamWorks and Paramount pictures film of Dream Girls starring, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson won 3 Golden Globes: Best Supporting Actress (J. Hudson), Best Supporting Actor (E.Murphy) and Best Picture Musical. 

And Two Oscars Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Hudson) and Best Sound Mixing

The West End production won two Olivier Awards in 2016: Best Actress in a Musical (Amber Riley), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Adam J Bernard).

By Jo Turner