A period piece set in the 1960s and 1970s with a primarily African-American cast, Dreamgirls is adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical of the same name. The musical was loosely based on the history and evolution of American R&B music during the eras of doo-wop, soul, the Motown Sound, funk, and disco. Dreamgirls contains several allusions to the lives and careers of Motown Records act The Supremes, a connection the film version expands upon. Dreamgirls follows the lives of Effie White, Deena Jones, and Lorrell Robinson, three young women who form an R&B singing trio from Detroit, Michigan called "The Dreamettes". Thanks to manipulative agent and record executive Curtis Taylor, Jr., the Dreamettes become famous as the backing group for soul singer James "Thunder" Early. Conflict arises when Curtis transforms "The Dreamettes" into the pop-friendly "Dreams," particularly when he has Deena replace Effie as both lead singer of the group and as his romantic interest.