Effie, in the original Broadway cast of Dreamgirls, Jennifer Holliday, performs for The National MS Society Mid America Chapter in Kansas City on Thurs., Jan. 30 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
The two-time Grammy winner and Tony Awarded for best Actress in a Musical performs with her show stopping voice and captivating story as an individual living with MS as the keynote speaker for the MS Society's On the Move Luncheon at The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Holliday, a legend in music and musical theater, explains her professional journey and experience of living with MS through inspirational song and motivational sessions during the On The Move Luncheon, a spokesman for the local MS Society said.
"The National MS Society is thrilled to bring Jennifer Holliday to Kansas City for this event," said Kay Julian, Mid America Chapter President. "To be able to listen to Ms. Holliday's inspiring story as an individual living with MS and her tremendous talent as a Broadway actress and singer in the iconic Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, will be a truly fantastic experience."
In an effort to learn about multiple sclerosis, and raise funds to help end MS, the On the Move Luncheon offers an education and fundraising luncheon that creates an inspiring, motivational and empowering environment for likeminded individuals to learn about multiple sclerosis. Tickets for On The Move are $75 and are available at www.msmidamerica.org or by calling 913-432-3926.
According to information provided by the MS Society, “Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and over 2.1 million worldwide.”
Notice and accolades came to Holliday in December 1981 when Dreamgirls opened on Broadway, leading to Holliday’s success as Effie, one of a trio of entertainers whose story closely mirrors the success of The Supremes, (later Diana Ross and the Supremes). Effie’s character closely mirrors the life and struggles of Florence Ballard. Ballard’s struggle was well documented in media and plays out in Dreamgirls. After more than three decades since she starred in the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls, Holliday, whose heart wrenching rendition of the show stopping torch- song ballad, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," is a woman with a voice that has evolved into what is arguably one of the greatest female voices of the rhythm and blues of the 20th centur, her biography states. It continues, she is a vocal powerhouse whose hardy, passionate, throaty and soulful voice touches hearts and leaves her audience flooded with emotions running deep and their spirits soaring high.
“Holliday, a two-time Grammy Award winner, has recorded five chart-making CD's for Arista, Geffen and Intersound Records. She also has several chart-topping singles. Her signature spine-tingling hit song ‘And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going’ charted at 1 on the R&B charts and was top 40 Pop charter as well. Holliday won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance and she was awarded a second Grammy for Best Inspirational Vocal Performance for her soul-stirring rendition of Duke Ellington's 'Come Sunday,’ a tribute to the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. The Best of Jennifer Holliday: Millennium Collection on Universal Records is her most recent release,” her bio states.
Other artists she has collaborated with include: Barbara Streisand, Foreigner, Qunicy Jones, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Michael McDonald, Maurice White, Peabo Bryson, Lorretta Lynn, the Cincinnati Pops Symphony and many CD compilations featured with other artist, including soundtracks for The Five Heartbeats, The Woo-Woo Kid, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, In The Moo" and The Rising Place
Holliday made her Broadway debut in the musical Your Arms Too Short To Box With God.
While in that show, Holliday said she captured the attention of the famous Broadway director-choreographer, Michael Bennett (A Chorus Line). Bennett cast Jennifer in the starring role of Effie "Melody" White in his production of Dreamgirls, which garnered Jennifer a Tony Award for best Actress In A Musical.
Her other Broadway musical credits include Chicago, Grease, Down-Hearted Blues: the Story of Bessie Smith, Sing Mahalia, Sing: the Story of Mahalia Jackson and Harlem Suite