Entertainment News

‘Dreamgirls’ Sold Out for the Weekend

YOUNGSTOWN – The success of the Youngstown Playhouse’s production of “Dreamgirls” is more than James McClellan dreamed was even possible.

McClellan, operations manager of the theater, said “Dreamgirls” has sold a total of 3,119 tickets, and grossed $41,000. The musical has sold out all seven performances and now sits as the second-highest selling show in recent history at the Playhouse.

Only the December 2018 production of “Mamma Mia!” is ahead of it, with a ticket sales total of 3,461.

The comparisons aren’t parallel; “Mamma Mia!” was performed eight times, and “Dreamgirls” seven. But the balcony was opened for “Dreamgirls,” making available at least 100 more seats per show.

“’Dreamgirls’ completely kept pace with ‘Mamma Mia!,’ ” said McClellan. “If we would have added an eighth show, we might have bested it. We opened the balcony for ‘Dreamgirls,’ which is unheard of for us, for the first weekend, and we might have to do it again this weekend if we get a significant walk-up.”

The seventh show was added after the first weekend, but due to prior bookings, an eighth performance cannot be added.

McClellan did say that a reprisal of “Dreamgirls” will be discussed, just as “Mamma Mia!” was brought back this summer for a second run.

The Playhouse has not sold tickets in its small balcony for decades, but it might become standard practice in the future for high-demand shows, said McClellan.

With houses topping out at 600 for “Dreamgirls,” it was discovered that the parking lot wasn’t big enough for shows with the balcony open. “We had some happy problems last weekend,” said McClellan.

The success of “Dreamgirls” took McClellan by surprise.

“When we first put it on the schedule, I wasn’t sure how it would do,” he said. “It’s a nearly 40 year old title, whereas ‘Mamma Mia!’ was a new title and we knew that would do well.

“The African-American community was extremely excited for ‘Dreamgirls,’ ” noted McLellan. “Plus, it had been 30 years since the Playhouse last did it. [The public] was craving this show, and it surprised me. I didn’t think we’d have another ‘Mamma Mia!’ for a long time.”

Rounding out the top-five selling shows in recent memory at the Playhouse are, in order, “Cats” (2015), “Hairspray” (2017) and “Mary Poppins” (2015).

Pictured: “Dreamgirls” stars Jennifer Zamis, Sharleen Riley and Arielle Green as The Dreams.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.