Dreamgirls at the Ziegfeld
Saturday night I finally saw the movie of Dreamgirls. I saw it at the Ziegfeld Theatre here in New York where it premiered in December. The Ziegfeld is an old-time movie house encased in a monstrosity of a mid-1970s facade. But still, the lobby walls feature costume pieces and photographs from the Ziegfeld Follies, playbills of stars like Marilyn Miller and photographs of Flo Ziegfeld himself as well as original promotional artwork for movies like My Fair Lady. The auditorium is the size of a football field and a screen that size hasn't been seen since they closed the last drive-in movie theatre. Heavy velvet drapes adorn the walls and the whole place has that musty old theatre smell. It feels historic--and so does Dreamgirls.
The movie going experience at the Ziegfeld that night was unique not only for the history, but also for the crowd who was there which can only be described as GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY! And of course, Jennifer Hudson is our girl!
I expected that she would get an ovation after "And I'm Telling You, I'm Not Going" but she also got entrance applause, the way you applaud for a big star in a Broadway show during her first entrance of the show. The lines leading up Ms. Hudson's screen entrance are something like "Where's Effie, anyway." The camera swings around and lands on Jennifer who says something like "I'm right here." --THUNDEROUS applause from the audience. She not only got a hand after "And I'm Telling You..." which, to me, is truly one of the most powerful moments in the history of movie musicals, but she got applause after every one of her big solos. During the end credits of the film they name the cast members along with a little film montage of each. This audience could not wait for Hudson, who was last, to be named. The music slows down to a dramatic tempo and the words "and introducing" appear across the screen. Already the audience was hooting and hollering. But when the words "Ms. Jennifer Hudson" appeared an eruption of cheering and applause took over the theatre. The queens went wild! Except for Scott who refuses to applaud at movies.
Anyway, the movie is truly spectacular. There was not a single missed opportunity in the film. It's one of those movies that if you have to go to the bathroom, you will be hard pressed to try to find a lull in the action so you can go pee. Don't order the super-size soda and make sure you go before the movie starts. It's that good.