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On Broadway there is a song known as the ‘11 o’clock number’ when a star does a show stopping number or a show stopping number makes a star. An example can be Ethel Merman as Rose in “Gypsy” singing “My Turn” but now it seems the 11 o’clock number has become a 9:30 or first act closing number such as Donna McKechnie as Cassie singing, dancing and acting “The Music and the Mirror” in “A Chorus Line” or Geoge Hearne as Zsa Zsa in “La Cage aux Folles singing “I Am What I Am” or in “Wicked” Idina Menzel belting out “Defying Gravity” and sailing up, up and away.

In December 1981, at the age of 21, Jennifer Holliday stunned the audience, and would continue to, singing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” in the musical “Dreamgirls”. She won a Tony Award as best actress in a musical and a Grammy for the song, which reached number 1 on the charts. She peaked in the 1980s and continued performing on the Theatre stage, on TV and doing a concert.

Holliday became a favorite of the LGBT crowd and was constantly appearing at events and fundraisers and was honored as Marshall of Gay Pride Parades.

She would continue to be loved for her iconic number 1 song and played in many versions of “Dreamgirls”. On July 26, 2012, she once again appeared in the role of Effie at the St. Louis Muny and said that would be the last time she would do the role.

Sadly she was not even offered a cameo in the movie version of “Dreamgirls” but Jennifer Hudson played the role and won an Oscar. In 2007 on the BET Awards both Jennifers did a duet of the song, not only stopping the show but immediately becoming a big hit on YouTube.

Jennifer Holliday is now residing in Atlanta and her night, opening “Dreamgirls”, will always be a landmark in Broadway history.
Jennifer Holliday sings ‘her’ song at the 1982 Tony Awards
The Jennifers sing ‘their’ song.


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