On September 20, Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph appeared on The Jennifer Hudson Show to talk about her illustrious career and to inadvertently give a master class on being a Broadway showgirl.
The 65-year-old theater veteran and Jennifer Hudson discussed how Ralph secured her role as Deena in the original 1981 Broadway production of Dreamgirls.
Ralph, sitting with Hudson, recalled the intense audition process, saying she walked in behind theater heavyweight Loretta Devine. The Abbott Elementary star recounted the impressive amount of talent in the theater and said that the singers sang down in their fight for the coveted roles.
Describing the vocalists, she said, "The building was literally levitating off of the concrete. That's how wonderful they were. And then there was me."
When Ralph went up for her turn to audition, she was told to sing something from church.
"So, I sang 'Ave Maria' -- they were very quiet," she recalled, laughing. "I think they were thinking something more in the Baptist vein, and they did not know that I was a little Episcopalian girl."
Ralph expressed to Hudson that she didn't think that she got the role because she hadn’t squalled. But when show producers announced her name after Devine's– she admitted that she was floored.
A giddy Hudson had to collect herself, saying, "I'm really having a moment because I wish I'd have been able to see that. I was born the year that came out."
The obvious full-circle moment for the 41-year-old former American Idol contestant happened when a production assistant brought out fluffy fuchsia feather boas for a mini Dreamgirls revival.
Ralph joked, "Girl, now this is not any cheap boa, so you know I'm keeping it."
"I can't believe I get to do this," Hudson gushed, following the stunning theater veteran's lead as she talked the host through the steps.
As the piano played the play's unforgettable theme song, Hudson sang while Ralph directed her on how to move her body.
"Oh my god, I can't believe I just got to have that moment with you. That was a dream. She's a dream," Hudson told the audience.
The 41-year-old host starred as Effie White (Jenifer Holiday's role) in the 2006 big-screen adaptation of Dreamgirls. Beyonce portrayed Deena. Hudson scored her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.