Audra McDonald is currently on Broadway playing Billie Holiday. I'll get there soon. But first, I'm going to a much older show: Dreamgirls.
Dreamgirls is a Broadway musical, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen. Based upon the show business aspirations and successes of R&B acts such as The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and others, the musical follows the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called "The Dreams", who become music superstars. The musical opened on December 20, 1981 at the Imperial Theatre, and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical, and won six.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Tonight's clips are culled from the 20th anniversary Dreamgirls show, staged as a concert, and featuring Audra McDonald and Billy Porter.
Dreamgirls premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on December 20, 1981 and closed on August 11, 1985, after 1,521 performances. The production was directed by Michael Bennett, produced by Bennett, Bob Avian, Geffen Records, and The Shubert Organization, and choreographed by Bennett and Michael Peters. It starred Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deena Jones, Jennifer Holliday as Effie White, Loretta Devine as Lorrell Robinson, Ben Harney as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Cleavant Derricks as James "Thunder" Early, and Obba Babatundé as C. C. White. Dreamgirls proved to be a star-making vehicle for several of its performers, particularly Holliday, whose performance as Effie received significant praise.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Holliday's recording of Effie's solo "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" was a #1 single on the Billboard R&B charts in 1982. For the Dreamgirls original cast recording, the producers decided to present the complex musical sequences as individual songs, cutting approximately half of the score. The cast recording won two Grammy awards, Best Musical Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".
And as Billie Holiday (priceless):
A montage, but it begins with Audra ending Billie's "Strange Fruit" and as such, is worth watching. I tried but couldn't find a complete clip of Audra-as-Billie singing the whole thing: