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Original Broadway "Dreamgirl" Joins RPO for Pops Season Opener

September 28, 2007

Grammy and Tony Award-winning Jennifer Holliday Made "Dreamgirls" Famous

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s audiences get a “dream come true” with the appearance of vocalist Jennifer Holliday – the original Grammy® and Tony® winning Broadway “Dreamgirl” – opening this season’s WPOP Series on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20, at 8 p.m. at the Eastman Theatre.


Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads the RPO in music that lived dual lives both on Broadway and on the silver screen.  The concert’s first half includes music from Gypsy, Carousel, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Light in the Piazza as well as popular tunes by George Gershwin.  After intermission, Jennifer Holliday takes the stage with her larger-than-life, gospel-infused voice, singing some of the songs she made famous from her Broadway successes, and well as other Broadway hit standards.


In 1979 at age 19, Holliday landed her first big role on Broadway in the production of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, winning her a Drama Desk nomination in 1981. That same year, Holliday helped to make the original Broadway musical Dreamgirls a smash hit.  Inspired by the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Dreamgirls featured Holliday as Effie Melody White, the girl group singer who was pushed out of the group despite her incredible talent.  (In the 2006 Dreamgirls film version, Jennifer Hudson reprised Holliday’s original role.)  Holliday’s iconic rendition of the song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was the musical showstopper.  At a mere 21 when the show opened, Holliday went on to win a Tony® Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, a Grammy® for her recorded version of the song, and Drama Desk and Theater World awards for her performance.  Holliday continued her success as a recording artist and later expanded her performing role to include television appearances on Touched By an Angel, Hang Time and Ally McBeal.


Tickets for these performances are $20-$57, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). 


The WPOP Series is sponsored by Wegmans; this concert is sponsored by Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP.  Jennifer Holliday’s appearance is made possible by Xerox.


Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 


Note: Digital photos of Ms. Holliday are available on request; interviews may be available.

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