Question: There is a movie called "Dream Girls" that's either supposed to come out in theaters or air on TV — I can't remember when. The cast includes Eddie Murphy, Beyoncé Knowles and some girl from American Idol. Can you please let me know the 411? Thanks.


Answer: Dreamgirls is a feature-film adaptation of the late theater director Michael Bennett's 1981 Broadway musical chronicling the rise of the Dreamettes (later simply the Dreams), a 1960s singing trio who bear no small resemblance to the real-life Supremes. The original cast included Jennifer Holliday (the show's breakout star) as Effie, the full-figured belter who gets squeezed out in the group's bid for crossover success; Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deena, the Diana Ross-like star who ruthlessly steals the spotlight; Loretta Devine as Lorrell, the third original Dreamette; future Cosby Show costar Phylicia Rashad; and director-to-be Vondie Curtis-Hall. It spawned the hits "One Night Only" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" — Holliday's wrenching first-act closer — and was nominated for three Tony Awards (including best musical), winning one.

Bill Condon, who adapted Chicago (2002) for Rob Marshall, cowrote and is directing the new version, which stars  Beyoncé Knowles and American Idol's Jennifer Hudson as Deena and Effie — although Hudson's voice and curves make her a natural for Effie, early speculation had it that the part would go to fellow Idol Fantasia — with Broadway veteran Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell. Early rumors also suggested that former Fugee Lauren Hill might play Deena, but Knowles is definitely attached. Jamie Foxx plays their ambitious manager and Eddie Murphy is R&B superstar James "Thunder" Early — the Dreamgirls get their first break singing backup for him. The Paramount/DreamWorks coproduction started shooting in January 2006 and is scheduled for release right before Christmas.