Jennifer Holliday Supports Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe with a Special Visit

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Jennifer Holliday shared stories of her career highs and lows with WBTT Founder/Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs. Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

It was a dreamy night as fans and supporters gathered for "An Intimate Evening with Jennifer Holliday" at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) on Monday, March 11.

Founder and Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs first took the stage to share stories of the theater’s history and the work involved in keeping its legacy alive through fundraising efforts. He then introduced longtime friend and colleague, Jennifer Holliday, who spoke openly with Jacobs about her humble beginnings singing with the choir at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, her first Broadway performance in Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, her iconic role as Effie in Dreamgirls and the struggles that she’s endured over the past several years in an industry where it's often hard to maintain success.

Accompanied by WBTT's resident music director and pianist extraordinaire, Matthew McKinnon, Holliday delighted the audience with her opening musical number, I Feel Good, reflecting on her current state of well-being. After a few more songs, she sat down with Jacobs for a second time, giving the audience the opportunity to learn more about her legendary life and career. For young artists just trying to make it, Holliday shared some advice: “No matter how hard it gets, just stay ready–have your audition piece ready, because when preparation meets opportunity, that’s when the magic happens,” she said.

Holliday later wowed the audience with favorites from Dreamgirls, including I am Changing, her own special medley of the title number from Dreamgirls with Corner of the Sky from Pippin, followed by her show-stopping performance of One Night Only. She ended the evening with a standing ovation after a very powerful rendition of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.

The special evening included lite bites and beverages from Rosemary and Thyme and a meet and greet with Holliday, along with photo opportunities. With this fundraising event, WBTT achieved their main goal–to provide intimate access to an artist of Holliday's stature, not only to their supporters but also their artists, who were thrilled to have the opportunity to see a legend up close and learn so much about the industry from hearing her stories. 

Pictured: Jennifer Holliday shared stories of her career highs and lows with WBTT Founder/Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs. Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

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