McIver-Collins’ «I Dreamed a Dreamgirl»: «Simply us at our most fan lady and campy» 

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It’s no stretch to say that performers Blake McIver and Emerson Collins have spent a big chunk of their lives in present enterprise. When he was 6 years outdated, McIver grew to become the junior vocal champion on Star Search and later reached the plenty as Derek in Full Home, amongst quite a few different gigs. A producer, director and author, Collins has appeared within the regional theater premiere of Purchaser & Cellar and in movies comparable to Southern Baptist Sissies and A Very Sordid Wedding ceremony.  In 2019, he starred as Steve in Fox’s Hire: Reside.

After 4 years of co-hosting Bravo’s The Individuals’s Sofa, the 2 — romantic companions of eight years — are actually touring of their first joint stage present, which got here collectively in the course of the Covid lockdown. I Dreamed a Dreamgirl, making its Atlanta debut at Out Entrance Theatre Firm on Saturday at 8 p.m., is their child. 

McIver and Collins promise a night of present tunes, tales, Britney Spears songs and extra, highlighting their distinct types. Collins claims he sings so much like “eating regimen Josh Groban,” whereas McIver, who grew up within the gospel recording world, calls the muses from Disney’s Hercules a few of his earlier inspirations. ArtsATL caught up with the 2 not too long ago to speak concerning the new gig, not lengthy after the manufacturing kicked off in Palm Springs. 

ArtsATL: How did the tour take form?

McIver: This present began as a joke eight and a half years in the past. We had by no means sung collectively and had been joking about our disparate musical types and tastes and vocal manufacturing. We thought, what might a present be known as if we ever did (one) collectively? The title got here out and we have now been laughing about it ever since. I’m a Dreamgirls and he’s a “I Dreamed a Dream” — and so we have now a present.  

Collins: Early on within the lockdowns at first of the (Covid) pandemic, the Public Theater of San Antonio reached out to us and stated, ‘Have you ever ever finished a present collectively? Would you be prepared to do a livestream present for our subscribers?’ We had been speaking very early within the course of when folks had been simply beginning to try this. I stated we haven’t and we’d like to — and we have now nothing however time. We sat down and the joke got here again up about that title and we (puzzled) if we might make it work that manner, the place I sing the title tune from Les Misérables whereas Blake sings Dreamgirls. The mixture of cabin fever and lunacy led us to that. It’s the opening quantity. We did that present after which some for different theaters and it grew to become a coping mechanism. It gave us a approach to do one thing productive within the afternoons. We started doing different livestreams, a Halloween present and a Christmas present, doing medleys and mashups, creating harmonies. 

McIver: Because the world began opening up once more, we had all this materials and that is the best hits from all these lockdown reveals.

ArtsATL: What units this aside from different comparable reveals?

McIver: We inform tales and anecdotes from our careers, individually and collectively. 

Collins: It’s unvarnished. There may be a number of presentational elements to a cabaret or one-person present and this isn’t that. That is us saying, ‘Let’s have time. Let’s have pleasure collectively.’ The world is terrible. We’re preventing on so many fronts and points. Having some issues we are able to do to re-feel with one another is necessary. This isn’t meant to create deep perspective-changing theater — it’s a raucously foolish and good time. In 90 minutes, we sing all or a part of 49 completely different songs. We’ve discovered methods to do music that pertains to (our previous initiatives) that’s enjoyable for us. We’ve additionally taken 16 theme songs and turned them right into a six-minute medley of nonsense. That is simply us at our most unabashedly fan lady and campy. 

ArtsATL: As skilled and private companions, what’s the trick to efficiently working collectively? 

McIver: What’s nice about this present and tour is that we divide and conquer after which come collectively for the performances. I made it my job to do all of the music and modifying, get the audio information collectively, create and craft the medleys we do. I’ve stayed in my lane. 

Collins: As a producer, I take care of all of the ticketing and advertising, contracts and journey and publicity. Working collectively generally is a problem however as a result of we had been working in the course of the lockdown, it didn’t have the frustration it might need had. That is one thing we might do apart from binge-watch 9 episodes of Outlander. 

ArtsATL: Blake, how have you ever needed to adapt through the years?

McIver: I began working in 1990. My peer group that began TV in the identical period are a lot older than me and I’ve at all times tried to study from folks which might be extra seasoned and extra proficient. I at all times wish to be the least clever and proficient particular person within the room; that retains me studying and pivoting and rising and altering. My profession has taken me from TV and movie to theater to voice-over, directing and producing, personal vocal teaching. A fortunate few can keep of their lane and do their factor, however most of us must study new issues. 

ArtsATL: Emerson, whereas Blake has by no means labored in Atlanta, you will have many instances. Why is that this metropolis so particular to you?

Collins: It’s at all times so thrilling to come back right here. [Del Shores and I] shot (2012’s) Blues for Willadean with Beth Grant, Octavia Spencer and Dale Dickey there. We lived in Buckhead and shot in a trailer park down south. I grew up in Texas, however the one place I really feel comfy exterior of there’s Atlanta. Now we have labored there and shot there and been there for a lot of different occasions, and the folks and the spirit simply converse to my soul. 


Jim Farmer covers theater and movie for ArtsATL. A graduate of the College of Georgia, he has written concerning the arts for 30-plus years. Jim is the competition director of Out on Movie, Atlanta’s LGBTQ movie competition. He lives in Avondale Estates along with his husband, Craig, and canine Douglas.


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