Yvette Cason is coming home and that makes her happy. "It'll be so nice to leave the theater and go to my house," says Cason, who has been on the road since October with the international tour of "Dreamgirls," which begins a seven-week engagement tonight at the National Theatre.
Cason, a native Washingtonian who sings and dances in about 10 of the show's numbers, auditioned for director-choreographer Michael Bennett in 1982 when he was casting the original Broadway production. She didn't get the nod that time, but Bennett was impressed and remembered her. She attributes her successful audition this time to her "big voice" and assertive personality. "I wasn't too timid," says Cason, noting that she had the moxie to ask Bennett, " 'Are you going to wait a long, long time before you call me?' "
Although Cason acknowledges that "Dreamgirls" has enabled her to add "actress" and "dancer" to her re'sume', she says her immediate future is in the recording studio. Cason, who compares her singing style to that of Whitney Houston, has already had two successful singles -- "Cash Play" and "Love Prevailed" -- and is scheduled to sing with fellow "Dreamgirls" cast member Lawrence Clayton May 19 at Tracks.
"I've never wanted to be a backup singer," says Cason. "My goal is to be a solo recording artist. I'm pretty sure it will happen."
And who can argue with a woman who was crowned Miss Black America, D.C.; has sung for President and Mrs. Reagan at the White House; toured Europe with Dee Dee Bridgewater and told Michael Bennett she doesn't like to be kept waiting by the phone?
"You have to see yourself there," says Cason. Mixed Reviews
"Social Security," which recently had its pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre, has belly-flopped with New York Times critic Frank Rich, who said writer Andrew Bergman and director Mike Nichols "are to be found at half-mast." But the ordinarily powerful Rich pan was offset by strong radio and TV reviews and didn't adversely affect the next day's box office, according to a spokesman for the production. Israeli Theater at ANT
The American National Theater will bring the Haifa Municipal Theatre and playwrights Dario Fo and Franca Rame to the Kennedy Center as part of its 1986 Major International Companies Series. The Haifa Municipal Theatre will perform Yehoshua Sobol's "Ghetto" and "The Soul of a Jew" in Hebrew with simultaneous English translation as well as Athol Fugard's "The Island" in Arabic with simultaneous English translation for a six-day engagement beginning May 13.
Fo and Rame will present their one-person productions, "Mistero Buffo" and "Tutta Cassa, Letto e Chiesa," respectively, in the Free Theater for a six-day run beginning June 9.
"The Island" and the Fo and Rame productions will be made available first to ANT members, with unclaimed seats going to nonmembers at curtain time. For information call 457-8345. Catholic U. Honoring Professor
Former and current students of the drama department at Catholic University will gather Sunday to say thanks to Joseph Lewis, who is retiring after 33 years as a professor in the department. The National Players will perform Moliere's "The School for Wives," directed by Lewis, at 8:30 p.m. in the Hartke Theatre. A reception will follow the show; call 635-5355. Odds and Ends
Next Monday's Helen Hayes Awards ceremony at the National Theatre is expected to be a sellout, according to spokesman Paul Gamble, who noted that as of last Friday only 175 of the theater's 1,676 seats were left, with mail requests still running high . . . About 45 members of Congress turned out last Wednesday for "Congressional Night" at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, where "The Miser" is being performed through May 18. Among those present was Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), who is far from being a miser when it comes to supporting the arts. Oakar, chairwoman of the Task Force on Libraries and Memorials, is the sponsor of legislation pending in the House that would award a $500,000 grant to the Shakespeare Theatre . . . "Williams and Walker," the musical drama about a vaudeville star's fight for legitimate black theater, written by Takoma Park's Vincent D. Smith, is a hit in New York and will begin an open-ended run there next month when it reopens at the American Place Theatre . . . "Big River," the musicalization of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," opens tomorrow at the Kennedy Center Opera House.