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Robert Fontenot

American Idol's Jennifer Hudson as the Supremes' Florence Ballard?

By November 17, 2005

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American Idol 3 fans incensed over the fact that Jennifer Hudson never made it to the end can get out their "I told you so"s now: the film production of the latter-day Broadway standard Dreamgirls has announced that Hudson will be cast in the starring role of Effie, the character that made Jennifer Holliday a household word in the original stage version.

The story of a girl group named the Dreamettes, who cast off Effie as they rocket to stardom, Dreamgirls has, ever since its 1981 debut, been seen by many as a thinly-veiled bio of the Supremes, Motown's quintessential girl group, who some believe bounced singer Florence Ballard because she supposedly had a better voice -- but not as much glamour -- as Diana Ross. Indeed, Ross has been very vocal over the years about her anger at the musical, and fellow Supreme Mary Wilson, who loved the show, even went so far as to name her 1986 autobiography Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme.

Regardless, the part is a perfect vocal match for Hudson; her six-octave range is two more than Holliday's, and she's similarly trained in gospel. Which is good, because the musical's centerpiece, the showstopper-of-showstoppers "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," requires just such a voice. Beyoncé Knowles has already been cast in the Diana-like role of Deena Jones, while Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover, and Eddie Murphy have been cast in other roles. Filming is scheduled to begin in January.

Comments

September 10, 2007 at 7:14 pm
(1) Xicluna says:

What a great article, Mr. Fontenot. Thank you very much. R.I.P. Florence Ballard

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