Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Jennifer Holliday still packs a powerful vocal punch, as displayed on stage at the 2021 Tony Awards. New Yorkers can see her up close as she performs in a series of intimate shows at 54 Below in New York City.
Holliday, who is best known for her award-winning performance in the iconic musical Dreamgirls, not only showcased her vocal range and talent Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the opening of her six-night stint at the Manhattan venue, but she shared very personal stories as well.
Without a doubt, the biggest non-spoiler of the night was that “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was the finale of the night. But Holliday also performed the powerful “I Am Changing” from the musical that she starred in alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, Obba Babatunde, and Vondie Curtis-Hall over four decades ago.
Holliday also performed songs by songwriters Cole Porter, Billie Holiday, and the duo of Ashford and Simpson. Broadway musicals were well represented, as the 62-year-old diva performed numbers from The Color Purple, A Chorus Line and, after sharing what she learned from Barbra Streisand and their relationship, she even belted out a tune from Yentl.
Holliday, who wore a shimmering emerald green and black ensemble, was joined on stage by a percussionist, a guitarist, a bassist and bass guitarist, a three-man horn section, and a pianist who also serves as musical director.
As singers age, oftentimes, you hear a decline in their vocal abilities, especially with singers who have powerful voices. That is certainly not the case with Holliday. I am telling you, run, not walk to get tickets to see an award-winning showstopper in an intimate, fine-dining setting before her six-night run ends.