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Jennifer Holliday in Dover for DSU's President's Scholarship Ball

Jennifer Holliday performs at DSU's President's Scholarship Ball in Dover Saturday

Long before American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award for her star making turn in the movie “Dreamgirls,” another singer named Jennifer captivated audiences on Broadway.

Jennifer Holliday originated the role of Effie “Melody” White in “Dreamgirls” and was instrumental in developing the character.

Best known for her rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” in the Broadway production of the iconic show, Holliday’s career includes numerous other theatrical productions.

The singer grew up singing in church in her native Houston but says one of her bigger influences was Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

“As a young girl I just loved the way she spoke," says Holliday. "So when I became an entertainer I thought that diction was very important as well as important on Broadway. Did you feel the story of the song? Did I do that for you; not just being able to go high and low and growl and all of this other kind of stuff.”

Jennifer Holliday makes a stop in Delaware this week.  She performs Saturday at Delaware State University’s President's Scholarship Ball at Dover Downs.  Net proceeds benefit scholarships for DSU students.

This piece is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.