Jennifer Holliday not only played the role of Effie Melody White in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls — she was Effie. The musical was created with the now legendary performer in mind, down to her signature song, And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. “The song came out of a play and I still have the emotion of Effie when I do the song,” she told Pride Source in 2014. “I think that’s why I’ve been able to sing it and sing it well – because I’ve never tried to make it all about Jennifer Holliday. I’ve always tried to stay true to the character.”
The singer will perform An Intimate Evening with Jennifer Holliday at the McGlohon Theater this Saturday, August 20 , which will hopefully include that 1981 hit from the show. She also plans to sing songs from her most recent album, The Song Is You, a set of jazzy standards. Her voice is all her own on this effort, with a hint of Effie to remind you of the role that made her a star.
Holliday was born on October 19, 1960 in Houston, TX and went on to earn her Doctor of Music Degree from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of her smash success in Dreamgirls, Holliday earned a Tony Award and Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards and a Grammy for And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.
In the ‘90s, Holliday began a personal transformation, talking about her battles with clinical depression. She also lost a substantial amount of weight and had gastric bypass surgery. She’s talked openly about her issues. “Twenty years ago when I was in Dreamgirls, I was always a joke because I was huge,” she said. “I went out once to a birthday gathering for me, and the New York Post wrote that I had broken the chair because I was so big. Well, I didn’t break the chair; it was just really wobbly. But the humiliation was terrible.”
Holliday is bringing that raw honesty and voice to the stage this weekend. The show is sponsored by Different Roads Home, an organization that supports programs for local people who are living with HIV or AIDS that provide them food, transportation and health information. Your ticket supports these programs and are still available here.
Special limited time offer: Receive free balcony tickets when you enter the promo code FREE at checkout for any balcony seat and you can see the Original Dreamgirl live for free. Get your tickets here.