For the past few years, I’ve been volunteering with Portland Center Stage theater, ferrying actors, playwrights and lighting technicians to and from the airport as they come and go for various shows. It’s a great way to meet interesting people and I also get free theater tickets, plus an extra ticket for half price.
I’m bad about actually using my tickets, but I got a reminder that the run of Dreamgirls was ending so I found a date who was not my wife (she hates musicals) and reserved tickets for the Wednesday before the show ended.
I hadn’t seen a production of Dreamgirls before and had only a vague recollection of the movie starring Jennifer Hudson. But I’d heard great things about the Portland cast, and they did not disappoint.
Here’s what I sent to actress Nattalyee Randall (Effie) at the end of the first act:
.@Nattalyee You just killed everybody dead with that performance and it’s only intermission. #dreamgirls
— Kronda (@kronda) October 30, 2014
I wasn’t sure where they could possibly go after her stunning rendition of “(And I’m Telling You) I’m Not Going,” the emotional climax of the first act. It was worth sticking around for the final reunion at the end. You can read some fun facts about the production here.
Sadly, it’s too late for you to see the Portland show, but please enjoy this video of original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holiday and movie Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson, singing the most bad ass duet that’s ever been sung at the 2007 BET Awards.
When trying to explain the show to Jess later, I told her that no one should even attempt to sing that pivotal song unless they are a fantastic singer. Jennifer Hudson certainly qualifies, but when Holliday comes out, she makes Hudson look like just a very good singer.
Today I learned that I should go to the theater more often.
I agree wholeheartedly. Jennifer Holliday sings circles around Jennifer Hudson. I have a DVD of Holliday singing “And I’m Telling You” and everytime I watch it I get chills. The nuances in her voice- breathtaking. I could go on and on. Sigh!