PCS Blog

Fun “Dreamgirls” Facts from our Production Manager

Posted by Allyson Walters | 14 October 2014

49 IKEA mixing bowls, 125 costume looks, 406 pairs of fake eye lashes, 550 lighting units ...
and 1,000 condoms!?!?!

That's right! We'll stop at nothing to bring you a FABULOUS production of Dreamgirls.

Here are some fun facts about the extensive work that went into creating this production, 
brought to you by our awesome Production Manager Christopher Brislin:

The cast of Dreamgirls in rehearsal.

During rehearsal, it can take a full hour to rehearse just one minute of the script.

By opening night, the piano accompanist had played over 270 hours in rehearsal with the cast.


To create a dramatic light wall, the scene shop purchased 48 IKEA mixing bowls, drilled out the bottom, and wired lights inside to look like old 1960s lighting instruments.


The lighting department wired 550 individual lighting units into the set.
They also hung, cabled and focused another 300 lighting instruments.


L-R: Lexi Rhoades (Lorrell), Antoinette Comer (Michelle)
and Mary Patton (Deena). Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
This is the largest costume design build our costume shop has undertaken at the Armory.
Each of the iconic beaded gowns worn by the Dreams took a full week to construct.


Front: Lexi Rhoades (Lorrell) and David Jennings (Jimmy) and the
cast of Dreamgirls. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.

For the 16 cast members on stage, the show will have roughly 125 different costume looks.
There’s a costume change happening nearly every minute of the show. 


Mary Patton getting makeup applied for a photoshoot.
There are 7 pairs of fake eyelashes used in each show. The fake eyelashes have to be replaced every four shows.
All told, we’ll use 406 pairs of lashes during the run.



There are 31 wigs in the show.
Some performers will have a microphone pack built into the hair of their wigs.


Dreamgirls: the trailer from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

The set features a 20 foot turntable.
To make sure the show deck is perfectly flush and safe for the dancers, 
the carpenters used over 700 wooden shims to even out the Main Stage. 

Watch the turntable in action in this video



706 wooden panels were cut, painted, and installed by the carpenters to create the set.


The sound department will use over 1,000 non-lubricated condoms to protect the sensitive microphone packs worn by the cast. Watch Scott Thorson's demonstation here.


The sound department needs to program the wireless frequencies to make sure the ones we use for the wireless mics won't interfere with cell phone towers, police scanners and fire department radios. 
We wouldn't want our show to be inturrepted by an ambulence dispatch!


Rick Lewis conducts the show from a score uploaded in an iPad.


The cast and crew of Dreamgirls during the sitzprob.

The orchestra features ten players and a conductor. To fit everyone in our space, the orchestra is split in two. Half of the musicians are in the orchestra pit, and the other half play live backstage. Special cameras, head phones, and monitors keep the orchestra playing together.


The cast of Dreamgirls. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.

It all comes together to create one "dazzling, rip-roaring" production that "looks and sounds terrific!"



Dreamgirls runs now through Nov. 2


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