On January 24, Tony nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph appeared on the Wendy Williams Show. Having originated the role of Deena Jones in Broadway’s Dreamgirls, Ralph talked about the reunion concert that took place at Hollywood’s Ford Theatre in July.
“The reunion for me was great. I had to do it,” said Ralph. “I called up Loretta [Devine], I called up Jennifer [Holliday], and I said, ‘Nobody else is gonna remember this—the three of us must come together to do this 35th anniversary.’” The event was a sold-out success.
Williams asked Ralph about the controversy surrounding Holliday and her initial choice to perform at President Trump’s inauguration and subsequent decision to cancel the appearance. “She makes her own choices for herself,” said Ralph of Holliday. “The only thing that matters for me, when it comes to this topic, is in the end she sang the right song [singing]: “And I am tellin’ you, I’m not going/Yes and you and you and you, my LGBT and Q audience, you’re gonna love me!’”
“The best thing that she did was whatever she did for her,” continued Ralph. “Had it been Sheryl Lee that would have been one thing. Not all money is good money. That’s me. That’s Senator Vincent Hughes’ wife speaking.”
Ralph spoke of her “double-life” as a star in New York and Los Angeles and as the wife of a public servant in Pennsylvania. The actor recalled the first time she met the Obamas, towards the end of their first presidential campaign trail. Michelle Obama asked Ralph how she managed to do it all. Ralph told her, at the time, “I do it the way you’re gonna do it, with love, grace, and style.”
Now back on Broadway, Ralph is the first black woman to play Madame Morrible in Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre. She spoke of her custom makeup design and the new wig that was made to fit her complexion.
“Every time I walk across that stage,” she said, “I hit center stage and I have to thank God for bringing me right here at this time.”