Jennifer Holliday poses for a picture with NewsChannel 5 reporters Sharon Stevens and Kelly Jackson.
By Heidi Glaus
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - You know a performer is special when the crowd starts clapping before she's even opened her mouth and that's certainly the case with Jennifer Holliday.
"Listen, Missouri is the Show Me State, and St. Louis showed up and showed out," Holliday says.
Oddly enough, stepping onto the Broadway stage wasn't her childhood dream.
"My dream was to be a Supreme Court judge one day," Holliday says.
But destiny stepped in the way.
"I grew up singing in the Baptist church choir and that's where I got discovered," Holliday says.
Broadway came calling.
"They gave me a call and said, 'A young man saw you and said you might be good for this, would you mind if we flew you up to New York and audition for it?' I auditioned that day and never went back to Houston," Holliday says.
Of course, it was the role of Effie White in 'Dreamgirls' more than 30 years ago that won her a Tony Award and her first Grammy for best R&B female vocalist for her amazing rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." There's a little extra pressure to sing it.
"It is a pressure in a sense of, 'okay they've been waiting for this.' Each night is a different audience so you have to create the magic each night, you can't say, 'oh, I wish you were here last night, because I was really good,' you know," Holliday says.
She's bringing her best every night this week. This could also be the last time she ever performs the role that made her so famous.
"You never say never in this business or in life really, but I am well over fifty years old now and I don't know if they told you but I have multiple sclerosis and I wanted to do it while I had the energy," Holliday says.
So these next few nights are special for a number of reasons, both for the audience and the woman they are there to see.
You can see 'Dreamgirls' at The Muny through Sunday.