15 April 2018

I saw Jennifer Holliday

play Effie in "Dreamgirls" on Broadway 36 years ago. it was electrifying.

last nite I saw her on stage again. she looks different (200 lbs lighter) & speaks more quietly & deliberately. when I first heard her do her signature song it was so raw it hit you in the gut. because of the life she's had what she sang last nite is still powerful but deeper.

not all performers can use the patter between songs to dole out anything meaningful. but as Holliday tells some of her story the audience is totally with her & quite literally cheers her on. here's a woman who's taken the considerable shit that's come her way & produced a beautiful life. she continues to grow as person & performer. when I stood for her at the Imperial all those years ago it was for a dynamite performance. when I stood for her last nite it was for both her performance & her life.

this is the only photo I got of her at the Tony ball in 1984. it's much better of her mentor/tormentor Michael Bennett. but all these years later it teases. her fabled weight is hidden as was her depression. it's a quick moment from a troubled life that turnd out to be a powerful example of positivity.

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