Dillard University is pleased to present the Broadway sensation Dreamgirls performed by Dillard University students with a special guest appearance by Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday. Ms. Holliday has been proclaimed by both critics and fans alike as one of history’s greatest Broadway legends. Over 25 years ago, Miss Holliday’s show-stopping, heart-wrenching performance of the torch ballad “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” in the smash hit Broadway musical, Dreamgirls, made her a household name and introduced her big soulful voice to the world. The event will be staged in Lawless Chapel & Assembly Center at 8:00 p.m. on May 9, 2013. Individual tickets are $25.00 each.
In previous years, this annual fundraiser has featured Grammy-winning talent such as Nancy Wilson, Roberta Flack, the Four Tops, Patti LaBelle, and the Chi-Lites, as well as members of the O’Jays, the Manhattans, the Temptations, and New Edition. It has blossomed into a great family event and a staple of New Orleans’ spring entertainment calendar. Most significantly, important scholarship funds have been raised to assist deserving and highly motivated students.
The Dillard University Theater, now in its 77th season is one of the oldest HBCU theater programs in the country. The theater program provides rigorous professional training in a liberal arts context for future actors, directors, designers, managers, teachers, scholars and related theatre occupations. Committed to the aesthetics of Black theatre and creating globally aware artists, the Dillard theatre program perpetuates the highest standards possible as evidenced by its nomination and subsequent recognition during the 25th Annual Big Easy Theater Awards in New Orleans. Their production of “Two Trains Running” was the winner of a 2012 Big Easy Theater Award for Best University Production. The awards were announced by the Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education (FEDE) which provides grants to support arts and education.
Jennifer Holliday has been proclaimed by both critics and fans alike as one of history’s greatest Broadway legends. Over 25 years ago, Miss Holliday’s show-stopping, heart-wrenching performance of the torch ballad “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” in the smash hit Broadway musical, Dreamgirls, made her a household name and introduced her big soulful voice to the world. Her portrayal of Effie “Melody” White, a role which she co-created, not only brought theatergoers to their feet for 8 performances a week, but also garnered her a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and her first Grammy Award for Best R&B Female Vocalist.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Holliday went straight from the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Choir to the Broadway stage in the Big Apple. One Sunday, while singing in the church choir, she was discovered by dancer Jamie Patterson who was touring in the national company of A Chorus Line. Jamie not only set up an audition for Jennifer in New York for the show Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, but he also bought her an airline ticket and made arrangements for her to stay with his aunt. During the audition with the show’s creator and director, Vinnette Carroll, Jennifer sang her favorite hymn, “God Will Take Care Of You.” And that He did. She was hired for the show that same day.
Jennifer considers herself to be a Broadway Baby and theater continues to be a significant part of her career. Her recent theater credits include Sing Mahalia Sing: The Mahalia Jackson Story, Downhearted Blues: The Bessie Smith Story, Harlem Suite (with Aretha Franklin), Chicago (starring as “Mama Morton”), Grease (starring as “Teen Angel”) and Black Nativity (starring as the “Angel of God”). Jennifer also reprised her role as Effie to sold-out crowds and rave reviews in the 2007 Theater of the Stars production of Dreamgirls at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Jennifer’s arrangement and powerful recording of “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” remains her biggest chart-topping success to date. The song was #1 on the R&B Charts for four consecutive weeks and a Top 40 hit on the Pop Charts. From 1985 to 1992 she has enjoyed solid public support with five Top 10 singles on the R&B and Dance Charts. The millennium brought her not one, but two “Best of Jennifer Holliday” CD Collections, which have received favorable response.
Jennifer has sung all over the world and continues to perform concert dates regularly with her 14 piece band. Her current repertoire showcases new songs, jazz classics, pop standards, show tunes and much more. She is thrilled to perform live with many of America’s most distinguished symphony and philharmonic orchestras, among them: The Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart, The San Diego Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, The Rochester Philharmonic with Jeffrey Tyzik, the Philadelphia Symphony with Peter Nero, and the Cincinnati Pops with Eric Kuntzel, just to name a few!
This production is sponsored by:
BP Foundation, AT &T, Sodexo, and Pel Hughes