- Directors: Bill Condon
- Producers: Laurence Mark
- Writers: Stage musical, Tom Eyen, Screenplay, Bill Condon
- Genres: Drama, Musical
- Actors: Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson
As in the original stage musical, Dreamgirls can be broken up into two acts: the first taking place from 1962 to 1966, and the second taking place from 1973 to 1975.
The film begins in Detroit, Michigan in 1962, as an amateur African-American girl group known as The Dreamettes enter a talent competition at the Detroit Theater. Backstage, the three girls â€” full-figured lead singer Effie White, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson â€” meet Curtis Taylor, Jr., an ambitious Cadillac dealer with plans of breaking into the music business. Placing himself as their manager, Curtis arranges for the Dreamettes to tour as backup for a regional R&B star, James “Thunder” Early. The tour takes the company – also including Effie’s songwriting brother C.C. and Jimmy’s manager Marty – across the country on the chitlin’ circuit.
Hoping to help Jimmy and the girls cross over to mainstream audiences, Curtis starts his own record label, Rainbow Records (“The Sound of Tomorrow”), out of his car dealership’s office, and makes C.C. his head songwriter. However, when Rainbow’s first single fails after a white pop group releases a cover version, Curtis and his sidekick Wayne turn to payola. By paying the right people, Curtis manages to get Jimmy and the Dreamettes to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and into a headlining gig at the Apollo Theater. Offstage, Effie is quickly becoming infatuated with the slick-talking Curtis, and Jimmy – a married man – begins an adulterous affair with Lorrell, who becomes equally as lovesick as Effie.
As a result, Deena Jones & the Dreams give a farewell performance at the Detroit Theater. At the conclusion of the concert, Effie joins Deena, Lorrell, and Michelle onstage and the reunited Dreams give one final performance of their signature song, “Dreamgirls”, with Effie singing lead. As the concert ends, Curtis notices Magic in the front row and seemingly realizes that he is the girl’s father.