Amber Riley is taking her leading role in the West End adaptation of Dreamgirls very seriously.
The American actress is best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on TV series Glee, with her performance garnering a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Now the 30-year-old is about to take on a new challenge, and has signed on to star as Effie White in London’s first production of the dazzling 1981 Broadway musical, which is loosely based on the rise of girl groups such as The Supremes and The Shirelles. And Amber can’t wait to prove her vocal chops in the stage show.
“I love when people underestimate me because I love it when you get to prove your own greatness,” she smiled to Gay Times magazine. “I love hearing the expectations that others have of me as I’m gonna surprise them all. Yes, it makes me nervous, but I’m taking the responsibility very seriously.”
Amber also reveals that she’s been praised by Jennifer Holliday, who starred in the original show, and Jennifer Hudson, who took on the role of Effie in the 2006 film adaptation. The star finds their approval very encouraging, especially as the show contains so many big songs, including I Am Changing and One Night Only.
“To get that recognition from the original ladies and for them to be so excited and not worried is so special. It’s also comforting and encouraging, but terrifying, because those ladies... big shoes! They’re big shoes and it takes a lot to do Effie justice,” she shared.
Amber further added she is honored to be in London and is thankful for the opportunity to get involved in the theater scene. She especially feels privileged to be working alongside such a skilled cast, as well as director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw.
“Theater is appreciated differently here in London and the caliber of actors that do plays and musicals here is an honor,” she smiled. “I just feel like it’s another league, so it’s an honor to be asked to the West End.”
Dreamgirls previews at the Savoy Theater and opens to audiences later this month (Nov16).