The original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday, belted out And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going and nearly burned the house down Sunday night at the Tony Awards.
Theater legends graced the stage throughout the evening to announce that Broadway was back, in number after number, but the Dreamgirl smashed it.
Holliday won a Tony in ’82 for her portrayal of Effie White in Dreamgirls and took the stage midway through the ceremony as part of a tribute to the groundbreaking musical’s 40th anniversary.
Holliday’s performance was so mind-blowing that host Audra McDonald said she needed some time to recover before she introduced the next segment.
Winners went on to to thank Holliday in their own speeches long after she left the stage, with Mary-Louise Parker saying she was “still crying” from the performance some time later.
I saw the original production and cast on Broadway and as powerful as the video is, it cannot compare with seeing her live. I was sitting in nosebleed seats, but as the song builds and she hit the finals notes, I swear I felt her voice go through my chest. There’s nothing subtle about it, it’s like being punched in the face with a song. My goosebumps had goosebumps!