She's not going.
June 27, 2007 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Broadway's original Effie White, Jennifer Holliday, has been very open about how haunted and snubbed she felt during the production of the Dreamgirls movie. In particular she was hurt when, without permission, her own singing voice was used in a theatrical trailer to promote the production that had completely shut her out. Yesterday at the BET Awards she was finally given some overdue recognition and invited to join Jennifer Hudson onstage for a duet of the song she made famous. You may have heard the song a hundred times, but try to make it 101. 'Cuz seriously, the girls can sing. Previously.
posted by miss lynnster (46 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Featuring Jennifer Holiday, starring in a Jennifer Holiday production of "I Will Never Move On With My Life". Move on already, I'm sick of your bitching! If you can repair the damage you've done by being a huuuuuuuge diva. The world does not owe you anything.

That is a pretty good arrangement of that song, though.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:05 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

BTW, if you need a password for the first link, here you go.
Username: / Password: freddy

posted by miss lynnster at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2007

I watched this earlier this morning. Both of the women do a pretty good job, but this suffers from something common to many duets by powerful women vocalists, where each singer seems to be just trying to outdo the other. For a perfect instance of this, watch the VH1 Divas live with Aretha Franklin. Every time another woman would sing, Aretha would come in and show off. I like great singing, but I find many women tend to over-sing songs.
posted by bove at 1:10 PM on June 27, 2007

I don't get why this is an issue at all. The film was a remake? They don't normally promote remakes by trotting out the original stars. Using her voice in the trailer is strange though -- and I would think illegal with out her permission.
posted by chunking express at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2007

What ThePinkSuperhero said. Jennifer Holliday may have gotten a raw deal, but I feel like that's all I ever hear about her... not some exciting new project she's doing, or how she's trying to reinvent herself, just more and more about she misses her stellar performance in the original Dreamgirls. Maybe I'm just reading too many broadway news blogs.

I think the song seems a little out of place when it's taken out of the show (since it becomes less of a futile, defiant cry and more of a hammy, belty diva-number) but damn. Indeed, the ladies can sing.
posted by Zephyrial at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2007

Maybe I'm just reading too many broadway news blogs.

There is no such thing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:19 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great post! I'm stoked on the closure. I don't care about her diva attitude, I don't listen to Jennifer Holliday unless she singin'. I don't really listen to that other girl at all. Anyway, back to Jennifer: I got to see her as Matron Mama Morton, I wish there were more roles for her on B'way.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:20 PM on June 27, 2007

I dunno. I mean, far be it from me to take away from Jennifer Holliday's previous achievements; I consider her rendition of that song at the '82 Tony Awards to be perhaps the best staged performance ever. But she's not the singer she once was. Beyond consistently modulating the song down because she doesn't have the high notes anymore (her pre-Oscars performance is a glaring example), her once-passionate delivery now sounds forced, and her attempts to mimic the Mariah Carey-style runs at the end are a bizarre train wreck. She used to be the best singer on the planet, so it disappoints me a little to see her fading.

Of course, I search for her name at least once a week on YouTube just to find clips of her from "Ally McBeal" and other nonsense. There are occasional indications that the girl's still got it, but this ain't one of 'em.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 1:21 PM on June 27, 2007

I just want them to start making out at the climax of the song. Pleeze pleeze pleeze...
posted by hermitosis at 1:23 PM on June 27, 2007

I absolutely never understood why anyone liked this song. First time I saw Holliday perform it, I thought her face was going to snap right off her skull, it was just so rubbery and overcontorted. And it's a pretty unimaginative set of lyrics as well.
posted by WCityMike at 1:28 PM on June 27, 2007

There are occasional indications that the girl's still got it, but this ain't one of 'em.

posted by Help, I can't stop talking searching for Jennifer Hudson on YouTube!

Fixed that for you.
posted by hermitosis at 1:29 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Holliday phoned in this performance in. She could have wiped Hudson on the floor but Hudson outshined her.

If Holliday's going to be super diva, she better bring it to every performance.
posted by spec80 at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2007

Well, now everyone knows the name of my sock puppet. Thanks, hermitosis.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 1:30 PM on June 27, 2007

WCityMike: "I absolutely never understood why anyone liked this song. [snip] And it's a pretty unimaginative set of lyrics as well."

As I said earlier, I think in the context of the show, the song is fantastic. Here is a woman who has essentially been dumped by her boyfriend/manager, her brother/songwriter, and the two women who were her best friends and group-mates. They want to go mainstream, and rather than carrying her with them, they're getting rid of her. The song is her last defiant plea, which ultimately is futile because she still gets booted out of the group and ends up a struggling single mom.

So essentially, she IS going. Sigh...
posted by Zephyrial at 1:41 PM on June 27, 2007

That's why I never understood the song. "I'm Not Going, I'm Not Going, I'm Not Going".... and then she's gone. Ah well, wouldn't have been the first time a musical stuffs in a song that doesn't really fit the story just because it's a great song.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:48 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

She's in DENIAL, people. Durrrrrrr.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:55 PM on June 27, 2007

It's called a melody.
Every song has one.
Find it.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 1:57 PM on June 27, 2007

She's in DENIAL, people. Durrrrrrr.

Riiiiiiiiiight, and "River of Life" in Sweet Charity is symbolic of Charity's search for meaning in her life.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:00 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am in 100% agreement with what bove said.
posted by spock at 2:05 PM on June 27, 2007

Dammit, now I have this song stuck in my head.

AaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAaaaAAAnd I am telling yooooooouuu... iiiiIIIIIIIIIIIII'm not gooooooing....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:11 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seth Rudetsky does it better.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:28 PM on June 27, 2007

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:34 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know that he's actually ever sung it in public. I just think he should, and it would be fierce.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:38 PM on June 27, 2007

Hahahah, please tell me you actually know Seth Rudetsky, otherwise I will be forced to conclude you sit around imaging him singing this song. Which would be funny for me, but still....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:43 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

ThePinkSuperhero: AaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAaaaAAAnd I am telling yooooooouuu...

And right on cue, NorthernLite leads the crowd in whooping and screaming hysterically ...

iiiiIIIIIIIIIIIII'm not gooooooing....

Dunno if I want to watch this because nothing replaces Holliday's cast album recording for me. Although, as I may have mentioned, seeing the show back in the late 80s at Detroit's Fisher Theatre, right down the block from the Hitsville Studio, was kind of eerie.

I don't get why this is an issue at all. The film was a remake?
Not a *remake,* per se, but a film version in which another performer was taking on a role another performer had already made legendary.
In the great tradition of Audrey Hepburn/Julie Andrews. etc.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:00 PM on June 27, 2007

They peed.
posted by Jikido at 3:05 PM on June 27, 2007

TPS: I thought Charity and her boyfriend were just checking out different cults as dates (ooh fun! next meetup - scientology meeting?). River of Life is freaking awesome!
posted by spec80 at 4:00 PM on June 27, 2007

Do you mean "Rhythm of Life"?

Because if so, yeah.
posted by InnocentBystander at 4:04 PM on June 27, 2007

Yea, in the show it's basically, "Hey! Let's stop what little bit of a plot this show has and go check out this cult group!" Song, song, dance, dance, and the story continues on afterwards. They didn't even bother to make it fit into the story in any meaningful way. Still is a great song, though. And it's not like Sweet Charity is known for having a great book.....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:05 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

My favorite rendition is by 11 year old Bianca Ryan.
posted by nickyskye at 5:51 PM on June 27, 2007

I thought Jake Gyllenhall did a pretty good version on Saturday Night Live.
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:01 PM on June 27, 2007

Is it just me or does Jennifer Holliday sound a lot like Rev. Brown?
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 6:45 PM on June 27, 2007

Wow. I haven't seen that Jake Gyllenhalehelayl clip before. That was way beter than it had any right to be. Dude has balls of steel.

I think we have reached critical mass. I don't think this thread can get any gayer.
posted by hermitosis at 6:53 PM on June 27, 2007

The SNL Jake is absolutely fantabulous.

Thanks very, very much ThePinkSuperhero.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:04 PM on June 27, 2007

I found a version I liked. Go to 3:31 of this.

posted by WCityMike at 7:12 PM on June 27, 2007

[You want facial contortions, I'll GIVE you facial contortions. ;-)]
posted by WCityMike at 7:13 PM on June 27, 2007

Didn't know anything about the show when I saw the movie and this number just blew me away. I have been in a few theatres when a song or a scene stopped the show and that was what I felt watching the movie. Effie's power, range of emotions and ultimately futile attempt to keep what she wants came together in a sublime moment.

I started to watch the clip and realized it would only dilute that moment. So I stopped. Man, I loved that. Thanks for reminding me.
posted by pointilist at 8:30 PM on June 27, 2007

Yeah, I meant Rhythm. Whatever, I can SING IT! Thank you, high school winter revue!
posted by spec80 at 8:48 PM on June 27, 2007

Rhythm of Life with Sammy Davis Jr.
posted by spec80 at 9:05 PM on June 27, 2007

omg ThePinkSuperhero, that SNL clip rocks. It left me even more in love with Jake Gyllenhaal. What a dish, oh those arms! Hunkadelic. And what fun cognitive dissonance that he sings the song brilliantly. Such a surprise he could sing so well.

And surprising too that Jim Carrey did as well. Whoda thunk?
posted by nickyskye at 9:55 PM on June 27, 2007

Oh well, the duet is gone. I was curious about this performance, but don't have cable.

Maybe it's just me, but while I felt bad for Effie getting screwed over, she was acting like kind of a bitch and a diva. So while the song touched me listening to it, it didn't do so for the character. She wanted to be the star, and when she wasn't on that track anymore, she could have handled it differently, in a more dignified way instead of skipping out on sessions and being deliberately belligerent. Though the getting screwed over by her guy and brother and left to be a poor single mom were things to feel bad for her about.

So, it's a powerful song, commanding and wild, but at the same time, it just doesn't spark in the way I think it's meant to, because she partly brought this onto herself by being so darn difficult.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:05 AM on June 28, 2007

Don't forget that she's just found out she's pregnant by her manager/lover.
So cut the woman some slack - she's having a bad day and needs a good wail.

In the UK there used to be a drag queen called Regina Fong who had as one of her underlings a black drag queen called Tsarsday(pronounced sade) who was from Peckham and came in in a White fur coat. She was know as the skinny bitch and would mime to this song with the audience mimicking her actions - it was fantastic - you have to trust me on that.

One of the fongettes
posted by dprs75 at 5:18 AM on June 28, 2007

Huh. Now I've seen umpteen versions of a song that up until this post, I'd never heard or heard of before. How do these things escape me?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:36 AM on June 28, 2007

Side tidbit: a close acquaintance of mine works as an event planner and has booked Jennifer Holliday for a few different appearances. She has no agent, and thus communicates almost entirely through hand-written faxes. The woman will draw up a contract with pen and paper. He assures me that her penmanship is every bit as curvy and gorgeous as she is.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 12:22 PM on June 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

A late appendix to the thread: a rather hilarious bit involving Holliday's rendition of the song.
posted by WCityMike at 9:41 PM on June 30, 2007

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