Sheryl Lee Ralph, who originated the role of Deena Jones in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls and who recently returned to Broadway as Madame Morrible in Wicked, will host a special concert at New York City’s Metropolitan Room cabaret July 30 as a fundraiser for the AIDS awareness charity The DIVA Foundation.
The 7 PM concert, titled Sheryl Lee Ralph, A Diva Simply Singing!, will include “Broadway songs that inspired me and changed my life,” she told Playbill. These include a Dreamgirls medley, and the song “As if We Never Said Goodbye“ because, she said, “Someday I must do Sunset Boulevard!”
Fans will also hear “Welcome to the Theatre” from Applause because “I did a version of Applause that [composer] Charles Strouse attended. He told me no one could tell him that role wasn't written for me. Leslie Odom was in the chorus, shining brightly.“
Ralph said she expects special guests to take part in the concert, which will have music direction by Ted Arthur.
Ralph earned 1982 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for her Dreamgirls performance. On TV, she plays Mama Colton in the CBS MacGyver reboot and recently completed shooting the second season of the Amazon series One Mississippi. Ralph played Broadway roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) and Wicked (starting in 2016), and said she was glad to return to Broadway. “It feels fabulous! I am very happy to be onstage literally making theatre magic for the audience. When children look at me like they're seeing their Fairy Godmother, it just makes me know I’m where I should be.”
She added, “I’d love to have a crack at the kind of roles offered to Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole: new musicals with strong, complex, singing women. [And] Mame, Dolly, Gypsy! I wish diversity wasn’t always an afterthought.”
Proceeds from her July 30 concert will go to The Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware (DIVA) Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Ralph helped create in 1990 as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS and because of her concern for the threat HIV/AIDS posed to women and children.