Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Holliday: You're Gonna Love Me...Again!

Holliday: You're Gonna Love Me...Again!

Jennifer Holliday will once again reprise the theatrical role that made her a Tony-winning star. Come this July, the 46 year-old Holliday will return to Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre to portray Effie Melody White in the Theatre of the Stars' revival of Dreamgirls.

The production is in conjunction with The National Black Arts Festival; Dreamgirls is scheduled to run July 20-29.

Now, before you all go on about how she's no longer age appropriate for the role, consider this: when she last appeared in a staging of Dreamgirls at the very same venue a mere five summers ago, she triumphed in single-handedly stopping the show. She truly brought down the house.

Having missed her original Broadway performance, I made tracks to Atlanta in 2002 just to witness her as Effie. Seeing her was to see musical history. I'll forever place her performance among the best I've ever experienced. And trust me, it was an experience unlike any other.

Holliday previously pledged never to revisit the role again. With talk of a new Broadway revival starring Jennifer Hudson, the same dynamo who claimed the role of Effie in that "little" film version of "Dreamgirls," could it be that Holliday is out to prove once again that no one can ever push her to the sidelines over the role of a lifetime that she created?

Whatever the case may be, I might just find it necessary to check into flights for Atlanta once again.

Post Script (February 23, 2007): Jennifer Holliday is the subject of a feature in Friday's USA Today in which she discusses the film version of "Dreamgirls," her singing role near the Oscars and her decision to move forward with another go at Effie Melody White. I'm telling you, I am going to Atlanta!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for ticket information.
Related Stories:
Dreamgirls Revival Heading Toward Broadway? (January 26, 2007)
Living The Dreams (January 6, 2007)
Flashback: Best of 2002-03 (May 25, 2006)

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At 21 February, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

Well, I certainly hope you get to see Jennifer Holliday again. Just from reading what you've written about her performance it sounds like seeing her is an amazing, emotional, unforgettable experience.

Perhaps there is a little bit of pride involved. Maybe with all the accolades that are coming Jennifer Hudson's way, she doesn't want people to forget who made the role of Effie famous. I think it often happens that the actress who does the film version of a play or musical is the one who's remembered, just because the film is seen by so many more people. For many people, Jennifer Hudson "is" Effie. And I'm sure it's more than a little grating for the person who originated the part on stage.

But as long as she can keep doing it, good for her! Maybe someday she and Jennifer Hudson will be on stage together and we'll have dueling "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going."

One more thing about "the song." I've been listening to both versions in the car, and it struck me that "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" is a song that you really have to see. It's a song that, to a great extent, a performer must act as well as sing. I guess that's true of most songs in musicals. But this song especially derives so much of its emotional power from actually seeing the actress, what she does with her hands, the disbelief and anguish on her face.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy listening to the song while I'm driving around. But I've got that picture in my mind of Jennifer Hudson from the movie, and Jennifer Holliday from the Tony awards clip. Both give a performance in the richest, fullest, truest sense of the word.

At 21 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

To me, Jennifer Holliday will always be Effie.

At 21 February, 2007, Anonymous Eric said...

Come see us.

At 21 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Eric - I'm hoping to. Want to round up our friends to see if there's interest in going?

At 22 February, 2007, Blogger StephenMosher said...

What is that line from SUNSET BOULEVARD?

"nothing's wrong with being fifty..unless you're acting twenty."

At 22 February, 2007, Blogger StephenMosher said...

PS. STILL...I might have to go see this...

At 22 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ste, Like you, I have very mixed emotions on this one. When did producers finally tell Carol Channing she was simply too old to play Dolly Levi anymore?


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