Jennifer Holliday Headshot

Jennifer Holliday

Date of Birth: October 19, 1960 (62)

Birth Place: Houston, TX, USA

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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

Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Skylar Astin Join Sondheim Celebration At Hollywood Bowl

Broadway stars Skylar Astin, Norm Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell will complete the glittering cast of Broadway luminaries for Everybody Rise! A Sondheim Celebration on Sunday, July 30, 2023, at the Hollywood Bowl. They are joined by previously announced three-time Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone, Sierra Boggess and Sutton Foster for this unforgettable concert program curated by Robert Longbottom and Kevin Stites and conducted by Stites.

Rashad McPherson Comes to 54 Below

54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents Rashad McPherson in Songs for the Summer, a night of feel-good tunes curated for the season on Tuesday, May 30 at 9:30 p.m. He will be joined by talented special guests, including Tony Award nominee NaTasha Yvette Williams, Grammy nominee J. Hoard, and Stomp star Aaron Marcellus.

Sondheim & Shevelove's THE FROGS & More to be Featured in MasterVoices' 2023-24 Season

MasterVoices has announced details of the celebrated chorus’ 82nd season, celebrating the power of the human voice to unite, inspire and connect since 1941.

Kerry Butler and Eden Espinosa to Join Robert Bannon for THE BROADWAY LECTURE SERIES

Tony-Nominated funny lady Kerry Butler and Wicked-alum Eden Espinosa will join host Robert Bannon at StageWorks in Pompton Lakes, NJ, as a part of the theater company’s Broadway Lecture Series.

Matt Baker's A RHAPSODY OF GERSHWIN to be Presented at Chelsea Table + Stage

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE will present Matt Baker’s “A Rhapsody of Gershwin” on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:00 PM.

Yazbeck & Della Penna's DEAD OUTLAW, LANGSTON IN HARLEM, and More to Play 54 Below in May

Next month, 54 BELOW, Broadway's Supper Club & Private Event Destination, presents some of the brightest stars from Broadway, cabaret, jazz, and beyond. A recipient of the 2022 Tony Awards Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, 54 Below is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve and expand the art of the cabaret, honor the music of Broadway, and provide an unparalleled experience to diverse communities.

Chelsea Table + Stage To Present PRIDE ANTHEMS with Natalie Joy Johnson, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, and Jon-Michael Reese

New York's newest hotspot for intimate dining and extraordinary music – will celebrate Pride Month with the new show “Pride Anthems,” a journey through the past 50 years of LGBTQ+ music, on Wednesday, May 24, with two shows on 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM. From Donna Summer and Queen to George Michael, Erasure, Madonna, Lady Gaga and much more, these essential songs take us from disco to the present day.

Wake Up With BWW 4/24: PRIMA FACIE Reviews and Photos, Plus a Message From Mike Birbiglia!

Top stories: Read the reviews and check out all new photos from Prima Facie, plus watch an exclusive video message from Mike Birbiglia in honor of BroadwayWorld's 20th anniversary!

Photos: Reba McEntire, Sam Hunt, Sara Bareilles, & Jennifer Holliday Visit SHUCKED on Broadway

Reba McEntire, Sam Hunt, Sara Bareilles, and Jennifer Holliday visited Shucked on Broadway this week. Check out our photos here!

54 Below to Transition to Nonprofit Status

54 Below, the celebrated Times Square cabaret venue has transitioned to nonprofit status.

Wake Up With BWW 4/14: CAMELOT Reviews, Plus a Message From Jennifer Holliday!

Top stories: Read the reviews for Camelot on Broadway, check out all new clips and photos from the upcoming The Little Mermaid film, plus watch an exclusive video message from Jennifer Holliday!

Jennifer Holiday Comes To New Jersey For One Night Only

Tony & Grammy Winning Legend Jennifer Holliday Comes To 'The Broadway Lecture Series' in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

Jennifer Holliday To Headline Goodspeed's 60th Anniversary Gala

Come celebrate with Goodspeed Musicals at their 60th Anniversary Gala & Auction on Monday, June 12, featuring a special concert by Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday.

Jim Caruso & Matt Baker: One Night Only Comes to The New Lounge At The Wallace Hotel

For one night only, singer Jim Caruso and pianist/singer Matt Baker will croon the night away at the new Lounge at The Wallace Hotel on the Upper West Side in New York City. 

Christine Ebersole, Santino Fontana, Jason Danieley & More to Star in IOLANTHE Concert at Carnegie Hall

MasterVoices will conclude its 2022-23 season on May 3 at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium with a concert staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Iolanthe, directed and conducted by Ted Sperling.

Video: Jennifer Holliday Performs 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' From DREAMGIRLS on TAMRON HALL

Jennifer Holliday, the Tony and Grammy Award-winning original star of Dreamgirls, appeared on Tamron Hall for a special performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.' Holliday won a Grammy Award for the performance of the show-stopping Dreamgirls song and her Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for playing Effie White. Watch the video!

Broadway Stars Come To THE BROADWAY LECTURE SERIES In Pompton Lakes

They say “All The World Is A Stage.” Well, for Host & Creator Robert Bannon that is true. Robert, a Jersey based performer, came up with “The Broadway Lecture Series” while watching an episode of “Inside The Actor's Studio.” 

Jim Caruso and Matt Baker To Begin Bemelmans Bar Residency At The Carlyle Hotel


Photos: Jennifer Holliday Shines During her Diamond Series Concerts at 54 Below

See photos from Broadway icon Jennifer Holliday's return to 54 Below as part of the venue's Diamond Series concerts!

Jennifer Holliday, Kerry Butler, Eden Espinosa & Jelani Remy to Join THE BROADWAY LECTURE SERIES

They say 'All The World Is A Stage.' Well, for Host & Creator Robert Bannon that is true. Robert, a Jersey based performer, came up with 'The Broadway Lecture Series' while watching an episode of 'Inside The Actor's Studio.'


Jennifer Holliday has appeared on Broadway in 6 shows.

Jennifer Holliday has not appeared in the West End

Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Drama Desk Awards) for Dreamgirls , Performance (Theatre World Awards) for Dreamgirls Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Tony Awards) for Dreamgirls and Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Drama Desk Awards) for Your Arms Too Short to Box With God .

Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Drama Desk Awards) for Dreamgirls Performance (Theatre World Awards) for Dreamgirlsand Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Tony Awards) for Dreamgirls.

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