Bradenton Herald – Many of her fans knew this day would come.
Local singing sensation Syesha Mercado will be touring the nation in a revival of the award-winning hit “Dreamgirls.” The 22-year-old, who scored national attention on the seventh season of “American Idol,” will play the role of Deena Jones. It’s the same role Beyonce Knowles portrayed in the 2006 film version. This new production will be directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom.
The “Dreamgirls” tour will kick off at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre in Harlem, Nov. 7-Dec. 6, before hitting 13 other cities through June 2010.
It won’t be traveling to Florida, but that won’t stop area family members — proud of Mercado’s latest accomplishment — from seeing the performance.
“We’re ready to get our tickets,” said Mercado’s sister, Xtavia Bailey of Palmetto.
Bailey said it will be her first time seeing a large-scale New York production, and it will be extra special since her sister is involved in it.
Mercado spent her youth in the Bradenton area, attending elementary and middle school here. She is a graduate of Booker High School in Sarasota.
The aspiring singer, who couldn’t be reached for comment, has spent her post-“Idol” time in Los Angeles auditioning for theater and film roles while trying to get an album off the ground. Of the many projects she’s tried for, Bailey said two of them were “Dreamgirls” and “The Wiz.”
“Dreamgirls” is based on the rise of The Supremes during the Motown era. It follows a three-member girl group as they hit bumps along the way. The show features hits such as “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “Listen.”
Incidentally, the film version of “Dreamgrils” launched the career of former “Idol” Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for her role as Effie. And the world-famous Apollo Theatre — which is where the opening scene of the film begins — has been the place where many legends have been born, including Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill.
Could Syesha be next? Family members say they hope so.
“I most definitely do,” said mother Zelda Mercado, who is really excited about her daughter’s newest venture. “It would be a big incentive to her career.”
published June 27, 2009