The Carnegie Opens 2018-19 Season with DREAMGIRLS

TC_Dreamgirls logoPlaying Weekends August 11-26, 2018

(COVINGTON, KY) – The Carnegie is kicking off its 2018-19 Theatre season with flashy costumes, Motown music, and plenty of drama. The Tony Award-winning musical DREAMGIRLS will open Saturday, August 11 and run weekends through August 26, 2018.

Based on the stories of real-life music icons, The Supremes, James Brown, and others, DREAMGIRLS offers a behind-the-scenes look at the music industry of the 60s as it tells the story of R&B group, The Dreams. Starting out as a trio of singers and friends, Effie, Deena, and Lorrell are determined to make it big in the vibrant music landscape of the 1960s. But as the band’s success grows, their relationships deteriorate. Featuring songs such as “Dreamgirls,” “And I’m Telling You,” and “One Night Only,” the musical was adapted into the 2006 motion picture starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, and Anika Noni Rose.

“DREAMGIRLS takes you behind the scenes of the music business during the Motown era. The rise of the Dreams is incredibly compelling, while also showing the isolation and struggle that comes with fame,” said Carnegie Theatre Director Maggie Perrino. “And I couldn’t be more pleased to have Torie Wiggins, a local onstage favorite, taking on the direction of this backstage drama. Her brilliant sense of storytelling will make this show really pop and connect with audiences.”

Directed by Torie Wiggins, DREAMGIRLS will feature musical direction by Mike Flohr and choreography by Darnell Pierre Benjamin. The cast will be led by Sharisse Vernelle Santos as Deena Jones, Tia Seay as Effie White, and Lormarev Jones as Lorrell Robinson.

Performances of DREAMGIRLS run weekends August 11-26, 2018, Friday & Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $30, $27 for Carnegie Members and ArtsPass Members, $23 for students. Tickets can be purchased through The Carnegie Box Office, open Tuesday-Friday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., in person or by phone at (859) 957-1940, or online at Patrons seeking group or student tickets should call to make arrangements.


DREAMGIRLS is presented by arrangement with TAMS-WHITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC. 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York, 10022. 

The Carnegie is Northern Kentucky’s largest multidisciplinary arts venue providing theatre events, educational programs and art exhibitions to the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati community. The Carnegie facility is home to The Carnegie Galleries, the Otto M. Budig Theatre, and the Eva G. Farris Education Center.  More information about The Carnegie is available at or by calling (859) 491-2030.

The Carnegie receives ongoing operating support from ArtsWave, Cincinnati International Wine Festival, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Kenton County Fiscal Courts, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr. / US Bank Foundation.



  • Deena Jones – Sharisse Vernelle Santos
  • Effie White – Tia Seay
  • Lorrell Robinson – Lormarev Jones
  • Michelle Morris/Ensemble – Ernaisja Curry
  • Curtis Taylor, Jr. – Brandon Burton
  • James Thunder Early – Dedrick Weathersby
  • Marty – Javon Cameron
  • C.C. White/Ensemble – Reginald Hemphill
  • Ensemble – Fiona Capri, LaCrea Burns, Kearston Hawkins-Johnson, Leonard Petersen, Josh Heard, Jack Johnson, John Woll, Brianna Bernard, Carrington Shropshire, Jessica Steuver


  • Director – Torie Wiggins
  • Choreographer – Darnell Pierre Benjamin
  • Music Director – Mike Flohr
  • Stage Manager – Carissa Gandenberger
  • Set Designer – Doug Stock
  • Sound Designer – Eric Bardes
  • Lighting Designer – Erik McCandless
  • Costume Designer – Helen Anneliesa Raymond Goers
  • Asst. Stage Manager – Morgan Becker


Tia Seay – Effie White
Tia is thrilled to be making her debut on The Carnegie stage. Tia is a classically trained Soprano with a special love for Jazz and The Blues. She has been seen most recently in Cincinnati Landmark Production’s ONCE ON THIS ISLAND (Asaka), Dayton Playhouse’s SISTER ACT (Deloris Van Cartier), SPAMALOT (Lady of The Lake) and RAGTIME (Sarah), ONE NIGHT ONLY: THE MUSIC OF DREAMGIRLS with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra & a variety amazing shows.

Sharisse Vernelle Santos – Deena Jones
Sharisse Vernelle Santos is happily making her return to theatrical artistry as Deena Jones in The Carnegie’s production of DREAMGIRLS. Sharisse is best known for the titular role in the world premiere production of [VAMPIRE]MEDEA that showcased at the Atlanta Fringe Festival. Santos is also known for her roles as Ofelia in ANNA IN THE TROPICS, Crystal in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and Dorothy in THE WIZ. As an accomplished vocalist, Sharisse sings with Fluidity CCCC and participated in GALA Choruses with Muse Women’s Choir. When she is not performing, Sharisse works in the box office of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and at Boys Hope Girls Hope, an educational non-profit for at-risk youth in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Lormarev Jones – Lorrell Robinson
Lormarev Jones is a local actor, educator, and director/choreographer who hails from Raleigh, NC, where she worked professionally for the past decade. She earned her B.A. in Theatre from Meredith College in Raleigh and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. Favorite roles include Bart in MISTER BURNS and Evilene in THE WIZ. You may recognize her from last summer’s THE FULL MONTY at The Carnegie or the Know Theatre’s DARKEST NIGHT AT THE GNARLY STUMP.

Ernaisja Curry –  Michelle Morris
Ernaisja Curry is very excited to be making her debut on The Carnegie’s stage. The Florida native has happily made Cincinnati her home after completing the Bruce E. Coyle Acting Internship with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Her favorite recent roles include Door in NEVERWHERE at Know Theatre, and Rhonda in THIS RANDOM WORLD at Ensemble Theatre. As well as Luciana, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Lady Percy, HENRY IV, PART I, and Bianca OTHELLO at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.

Dedrick Weathersby  – James Thunder Early
Dedrick Weathersby was recently nominated for three 2017 Broadway World Awards, in the category of Best Lead actor in a play for the MOUNTAINTOP, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Best lead actor in a musical for RAGTIME, Coalhouse Walker Jr., and Best Solo Performance for James Brown the one man concert show.

Brandon Burton – Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Brandon Burton is very excited to be making his first appearance with The Carnegie​. Recently, you may have seen Brandon in CHAMPAGNE GODS as Will Dewhurst at The Clifton Players, ​VENUS IN FUR as Thomas Novachek with New Edgecliff T​heatre, and ​on stage at T​he KNOW Theatre of Cincinnati as Sir Lenny in MARIAN: OR THE TRUE TALE OF ROBIN HOOD and ​Islington in Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE. Some favorite past roles of his are Crooks from Of MICE AND MEN, Lord Clifford from Shakespeare’s ​HENRY VI: PART 2 & 3, and Lord Ratspeaker from NEVERWHERE. 

Reginald Hemphill – C.C. White
Reginald Hemphill is a performer from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is ecstatic to be working on such a wonderful production of DREAMGIRLS. Reginald’s recent Cincinnati credits include FAILURE: A LOVE STORY and THE DANCING PRINCESSES at Ensemble Theater Cincinnati. Reginald recently graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Performance and completed an apprenticeship with Ensemble Theater Cincinnati and working with their 2017/2018 season.

Torie Wiggins – Director
Torie Wiggins has been performing and teaching professionally for over 15 years. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Dramatic Performance. She has co-adapted and performed a one woman show, YOUR NEGRO TOUR GUIDE, at various venues across the country. Her film work includes A CHRISTMAS MELODY, starring and directed by Mariah Carey; THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN with Robert Redford and Danny Glover and EXTREMELY WICKED, EVIL AND VILE, starring Zac Efron. Cincinnati credits include COLLAPES, AFGHAN WOMEN’S WRITER’S PROJECT, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, PLUTO, HARR AND THE THIEF (Know Theatre of Cincinnati); THE MOUNTAINTOP, CINDERELLA, VIOLET, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW (Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati); TWILIGHT; LOS ANGELES 1992 by Anna Deveare Smith (Diogenes Theatre Co); MAME, VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE AND CROWNS (Human Race Theatre Co.) and OLIVER TWIST, A RAISIN IN THE SUN (Cincinnati Shakespeare Co.) She appeared in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD with both Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Her directing credits include #LOVEWINS and WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENTat Miami University, a staged reading of THE SIGN IN SYDNEY BRUSTEIN’S WINDOW, and an upcoming production of GOOD KIDS at Miami University. She is thrilled to be making her directorial debut at The Carnegie!

Darnell Pierre Benjamin – Choreographer
Darnell Pierre Benjamin is feeling his 70’s fantasy with this opportunity to choreograph DREAMGIRLS. You may have seen him in the Carnegie’s 2014 production of WEST SIDE STORY. Darnell is an Associate Artist at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, where he’s performed in, choreographed, and directed some of his favorite productions over the past eight years. Favorites in the area: WHISPER HOUSE, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, KILL MOVE PARADISE, THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE, and DETROIT ’67. Darnell teaches at Xavier University.

Michael is thrilled to make his debut at the Carnegie in this season’s production of DREAMGIRLS. Over the past two decades he has been involved with one ASCAP Award Winning Musical, eight World Premiers, and fourteen Regional Premiers. He is an Ohio Arts Council Artist Project Grant Recipient, working for many fine regional professional theatres, including Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland), Actors Summit (Akron), & MetroStage (Washington, D.C.) as well as The Know Theatre across the river in Cincinnati. He has played for Tony award winner Pamela Myers and American Icon Patti Page. He was also the first musical director for OTRimprov, live scoring improvised shows from top to tail.


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