Jennifer Holliday

Birth Place: Houston, TX, USA

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Jennifer Holliday BIO

From her early days as a girl singing solos with the choir at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Houston,TX to her years on the Broadway stage and beyond, the inimitable voice of Jennifer Holliday has riveted the hearts of audiences from around the world. She is a Broadway Legend in every sense of the term: her iconic portrayal of Effie “Melody” White in the 1981 smash hit Dreamgirls will forever be a template for delivering gut-wrenching, timeless performances, evidenced in Ms. Holliday garnering a Grammy® Award for her performance of the show- stopping torch ballad “And I am Telling You, I’m Not Going” and a coveted Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Effie.

Her second album, “Say You Love Me,” won her a second GRAMMY® for her rendition of Duke Ellington’s classic, “Come Sunday.” From 1985 to 1992, she had five Top 10 singles on the R&B and Dance Charts and her star continued to shine brightly with collaborations and appearances with other megastars: Barbra Streisand, Luther Vandross, David Foster, Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, Maurice White and Foreigner, with whom she performed on a special version of “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

In 2014, Ms. Holliday released her first album in two decades. “This Song Is You” stirred long-time fans and garnered a new generation of enthusiastic listeners landing Ms. Holliday back in the Top 20 R&B charts with rave reviews.

Standout television appearances include David E. Kelley’s Ally McBeal, American Idol, and So You Think You Can Dance. In 2016, Ms. Holliday returned to the stage starring alongside Cynthia Erivo in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple as sultry singer Shug Avery. She is a long-standing, dedicated supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

Jennifer Holliday Photos

Jennifer Holliday STAGE CREDITS

Broadway Revival Production, 2015
Shug Avery [Replacement]

[Los Angeles]
World Premiere, 2003
Featured Performer

Angela Lansbury Tribute Benefit, 1996

Broadway Revival, 1996
Matron "Mama" Morton [Replacement]

Broadway Revival, 1994
Teen Angel [Replacement]

Closed on the road, 1985
Mahalia Jackson

[US Tour]
1st National Tour, 1983
Effie Melody White

Original Broadway Production, 1981
Effie Melody White

Effie Melody White [Replacement]

Effie Melody White

Jennifer Holliday Movies

[1980]Below the Belt performer

[2001]The Rising Place Sadie

[2010]Change in the Wind Hattie McDaniel

[2022]The Road to Galena Florrie

Jennifer Holliday TV Shows

Ally McBeal Lisa Knowles

Jennifer Holliday Awards and Nominations

Theatre World Awards - 1982 - Performance

Jennifer Holliday, Dreamgirls

Drama Desk Awards - 1981 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Jennifer Yvette Holliday, Your Arms Too Short to Box With God

Jennifer Holliday Videos

Jennifer Holliday News

Wake Up With BroadwayWorld February 23, 2024

Rise and shine, BroadwayWorld! It is February 23, 2024 and it's time to catch up on all of the theatrical happenings you may have missed in the last 24 hours.

Exclusive: Jennifer Holliday Is Getting Sentimental at Café Carlyle

In this video, watch as  Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday gives us a sneak peek of her new show at the legendary Cafe Carlyle.

Brian J. Nash to Present SUNDAY NIGHT MUSIC CLUB at The Green Room 42 in March

THE GREEN ROOM 42 will present celebrated pianist and singer Brian J. Nash. Learn more about the show and see how to purchase tickets.

Broadway Theatre Project to Welcome Michael Orland To This Summer's 'Shaping The Artist'  Artistic Training Intensive

Broadway Theatre Project will welcome Michael Orland to this summer's artistic training program. Michael Orland will be working with the apprentices and creating an 'Open Mic Night' for them to perform. Learn about Shaping The Artist here!

Performers Jim Caruso & Matt Baker Return To The Legendary Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

PERFORMERS JIM CARUSO & MATT BAKER return to Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel on Sundays from 9pm - Midnight starting Sunday, February 11, 2024. Join them for an evening of swinging standards and special guest performances. Don't miss this legendary show!

Ava DuVernay to be Honored at Black Theatre Coalition's BUILDING THE CHANGE Gala

Black Theatre Coalition will honor Producer and Director Ava DuVernay with the first Poitier-Belafonte Award for Cultural Activism at its Inaugural “Building the Change” Gala.


DJ D-Nice discusses his friendship with Queen Latifah, virtual parties with Michelle Obama during the pandemic, and accidentally calling Jennifer Hudson the wrong name. Check out the interview video here!

Jennifer Holliday, Isaac Mizrahi & More to Perform at Café Carlyle This Spring

Café Carlyle reopens for the spring season with a lineup of spectacular performers.

Black Theatre Coalition To Host Inaugural BUILDING THE CHANGE Gala On February 12

Co-founders T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams, and Reginald “Reggie” Van Lee, along with Board Members Aaliytha Stevens and Naila McKenzie, have announced that the Black Theatre Coalition will host its Inaugural Gala on Monday, February 12, 2024 in New York City at the Rainbow Room (30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor).

The Boston Symphony Orchestra Reveals Contract Extension of Andris Nelsons, Plus More

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces the contract extension of Andris Nelsons, the appointment of Carlos Simon as Composer Chair, and the establishment of the Humanities Institute.

PEAK Performances to Present Opera-in-Concert Performances of BLIND INJUSTICE

PEAK Performances at Montclair State University is producing two opera-in-concert performances of Blind Injustice, composed by Montclair State University College of the Arts faculty member Scott Davenport Richards (A Star Across the Ocean, Charlie Crosses the Nation) with a libretto by David Cote (Three Way, The Scarlet Ibis).

Adam Pascal, Patti Murin, Colin Donnell & More Winners Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards

Winners have been announced for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards! The 2023 Cabaret Awards honor excellence in NYC's Cabaret Community for events which took place between October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023. 

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' Comes to Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse presents the first show of the new year with the roof-raising musical revue, AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', music by Thomas “Fats” Waller. Learn more about the upcoming performance here!

Tony-Winning DREAMGIRLS Star Jennifer Holliday To Perform With Denver Gay Men's Chorus In March 2024

Experience the incredible talent of Tony-winning actress Jennifer Holliday as she joins the Denver Gay Men's Chorus for a special performance of 'Neon Lights.' This tribute to Broadway is set to take place in March 2024 and promises to be a showstopper that resonates with audiences for generations.

Last Chance to Vote for the BWW Cabaret Awards; Voting Ends 12/31

It's the final week left to vote for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards! Voting ends on 12/31 at midnight. Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

2 Weeks to Vote for the BWW Cabaret Awards; Current Live Standings

There's just two weeks left to vote and we have the latest standings as of Monday, December 18th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

Meet the Cast of DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, Beginning Previews on Broadway Tonight!

Following the critically acclaimed, sold out run at Atlantic Theater Company, Days of Wine and Roses opens on Broadway on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at Studio 54. This limited 16-week engagement begins previews tonight, January 6, 2024. Meet the cast of Days of Wine and Roses here!

Photos: The Gasp Collection

After four years at Broadway World Cabaret, quite a collection of photos has been amassed. These are the gasp-worthy pics.

Feature: The Best Of 2023 And The Last Four Years

It's time to see what resonated the most with Broadway World Cabaret lead writer and Editor Stephen Mosher on the last day.


Jennifer Holliday has appeared on Broadway in 6 shows.

Jennifer Holliday has not appeared in the West End.

Jennifer Holliday has been nominated for several awards throughout her career. She was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards for her performance in "Dreamgirls." She also received a nomination for Performance at the Theatre World Awards for her role in "Dreamgirls." Additionally, Holliday was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical at the Tony Awards for her work in "Dreamgirls." Lastly, she received a nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards for her performance in "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God."

Jennifer Holliday has won several awards for her performance in the musical "Dreamgirls." She received the Outstanding Actress in a Musical award at the Drama Desk Awards, the Performance award at the Theatre World Awards, and the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical award at the Tony Awards.

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