Award-winning director, Robert John Connor has assembled a knockout cast for the upcoming Dreamgirls on Broadway Musical! You might be more familiar with some of his work such as Greenleaf, A Different World, and The Cosby Show! Robert John Connor is also known for having molded Film, TV, and Broadway stars such as Tony Award-winning Joaquina Kalukango and Devere Rogers. Coming to Atlanta, GA June 15th-July 2nd is Dreamgirls on Broadway the Musical and you don’t want to miss this live performance! This musical was originally staged with a mostly African-American cast starring Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Obba BabatundĂ©. The musical opened on December 20, 1981, at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. The musical was then nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical, and won six. It was later adapted into a motion picture by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures in 2006. The film starred yet another line up including Jamie Foxx, BeyoncĂ©, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, and Keith Robinson.

You are only a few days away from showtime, how do you feel?”

“Very excited,” Tony explains. Tony Hightower is a jazz vocalist and musician that is set to play Curtis Taylor Jr. “That’s the feeling for everyone. We are ready to get it on. We have been preparing and want to leave it on the stage for y’all. It’s an honor to be a part of such a great body of work.”

How were you able to choose such a unique and talented cast?

“For me, I have had people that I have dreamed about working with. I love the industry and Crawly is an incredible actress who has such personality and sass! Just like Tony Hightower, I followed him for some time. We just started having a conversation and the stars aligned and here we are.”

How does Broadway differ from what people see in the theaters?

“The dream girls with Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Hudson is a movie adaptation of the original Broadway story. In movies, you can say cut. But in theater, you come in as an audience and you get to soak in everything! You can have the 1 on 1 personal relationship with the actors on stage. It was impactful in the 80s because it featured so much great talent. It was long overdue and was very successful and powerful! Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Jennifer Holiday are the OG’s and we are doing the theatre production of Dreamgirls.”

What makes this such a must-go-see piece?

“Let’s talk about the entertainment value. Talented actors, singers, dancers, and ATLs finest talent in the room. Also, from a community angle, we have to get out and include ourselves in things outside of social media and technology. These experiences change lives but if we don’t get out of the house we will be so dimensional. Lastly, we have to support black businesses and we are worth it.”

How does it feel to be having this kind of moment in your hometown?

“Being an Atlanta native it is huge! It’s great to see how much ATL has grown and we are a hub for entertainment. Hip hop, food, and now theater. We want to make sure that this is just as important as the hip hops and raps of the community,” says Tony Hightower.

As for Robert John Connor, he attended Morehouse College so this feels like his second home. “As a black person who is trying to cultivate the art in the community, this is important. We need to pay attention to what young people are seeing and what they are doing. We should expose young people to what they think they might not be interested in.”

Did you have any fears you had to overcome with this production?

“Absolutely! A healthy amount of fear comes with the process. The God I serve is not of fear but being human you can be very anxious. Sometimes all you want to do is land the plane but you might have turbulence while trying to do so. You must continue to press toward the goal! Fear is normal and you will get the jitters, but the bigger picture is someone will be moved by this piece.”

Y’anna Crawley is an urban contemporary gospel artist and musician. She began her music career in 2009, performing on the Sunday Best on BET. Her first studio album, The Promise, was released in 2012, by Imago Dei Music Group. This album was her breakthrough release on the Billboard magazine charts. Y’anna Crawley will be starring as the unforgettable Effie White in Dreamgirls.

How does it feel to be playing Effie White?

“I believe it was the last night of rehearsal, I was getting emotional because I have lived this moment and been this person before. I was in this place, in my head, and my life. I have had someone tell me they loved me, slept with my friend, and said they wanted to be with me .. this is everything to me. This is me! Every time I had something big to do I would be right there accepting the challenge. Words can’t explain everything but it pushes me to be the artist I need to be in this play. It prepares me for what is next. It’s exciting for me but also a learning curve.”

Be sure to get your tickets and be a part of a magical night in Atlanta. The show will be from June 15th to July 2nd so get your tickets now!