West End Star Joe Aaron Reid speaks about Dreamgirls and its importance
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The sensational Olivier Award and Tony Award-winning Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre has been a massive success since it’s opening on the West End; continuously playing to a sold-out theatre and being given standing ovations every night. West End and Broadway star Joe Aaron Reid plays opposite Amber Riley’s Effie as the musical’s main antagonist, Curtis Taylor Jr. “Dreamgirls is a show I’d always wanted to be a part of,” Joe says. “I originally auditioned for the role of C.C [White] in the movie, which was a long time ago. "For the show, they wanted to see me for Jimmy Early and I thought ‘I’m not really a Jimmy…I’m more of a Curtis’. And the more I thought about the idea of playing Curtis, the more I convinced myself that I’m absolutely a Curtis. I thought this would work out and then it did in my favour and I’m really excited that I got this role.” Curtis Taylor Jr is the record producer that is going to bring The Dreams into the popular market and abuses the power he holds over the three girls. On the topic of getting into character, Joe says: “I watched the movie. I watched the little bit of YouTube clips that I could find. I did a little bit of research into the Motown era, a little bit on Barry Gordy.” Barry Gordy, infamous Motown music producer, was the inspiration for the character of Curtis Taylor Jr, and whilst the reality was used as inspiration, it wasn’t the be all and end of Joe’s approach to Curtis: “I tried not to limit myself to anything that was like ‘this is what actually happened’ and in facts. Because it’s fictionalised, you really get to immerse yourself and let the story take you to wherever it takes you.” Dreamgirls isn’t the only show that Joe Aaron Reid has been a part of, it’s only the most recent – and, he confides, it'd the hardest production he’s worked on so far. “It is unlike any other show I’ve been a part of,” Joe says. “In other shows, there is a lot of ebbing and flowing in terms of energy and what’s going on in the story, in characters, in what’s happening onstage. Dreamgirls is two and a half hours of non-stop energy, drama and intensity. I mean, there’s not one scene that I have where I’m not yelling at somebody, confronting someone about something. For me, why I’m exhausted at the end of the show is just the sheer intensity of it.”
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