Watch Jennifer Hudson And Original Dreamgirl Sheryl Lee Ralph Do An Impromptu Performance Of That Beloved Song

Sheryl Lee Ralph on Abbott Elementary and Jennifer Hudson in Respect
(Image credit: ABC/United Artists)

The legacy of Dreamgirls runs strong amongst notable Hollywood names. Abbott Elementary’s Sheryl Lee Ralph originated the role of Deena Jones, scoring a Tony nomination n the process. Over two decades later, Jennifer Hudson went from American Idol contestant to proving she can act as Effie White in the film adaptation, which won her an Oscar. Despite having the musical in common, the two Hollywood powerhouses haven’t shared a Dreamgirls moment until recently. Watch the two Dreamgirls doing an impromptu performance of the musical's beloved song.

The dream moment happened during the second week of Hudson’s self-titled talk show. The interaction was more special as the two women celebrated Ralph’s historic Emmy win. The conversation soon turned to the Tony Award-winning musical as the two actresses connected over their common ground. The Abbott Elementary star reminisced about being intimidated by fellow Dreamgirl Lorette Devine after Hudson asked about being in the original production. She thought she had blown her audition due to her song choice until her name was called at the end of the day. Eventually, remembering her time on Broadway turned into her and the talk show host gave an impromptu performance of the title song. Watch the clip below to see the awestruck Jennifer Hudson follow Sheryl Lee Ralph’s lead.

Hudson turned into a complete fangirl trying to follow Ralph’s moves. It was funny and sweet to see the EGOT winner falling behind as the Moesha alum gave the singer dance lessons. Watching the American Idol alum melt into the Emmy winner’s arms capped off the feel-good nature of the shared moment. The hug between the two actresses was a nice cherry on top.

Seeing the two women share the stage was a nice visual considering the rocky start between the original version of Dreamgirls and the film adaptation. It appears now the original Deena Jones and the Effie White actress are now united by a lifelong musical sisterhood.

The original Dreamgirls stage production was a smash hit upon opening in December 1981. The Broadway musical ended up scoring 11 Tony nominations, with Sheryl Lee Ralph scoring a Leading Actress in a Musical nom, but losing to co-star Jennifer Holliday. The film adaptation added to the stage musical’s legacy when released in 2006. It became a critical and commercial hit. The musical film ended up being an awards season darling, with Jennifer Hudson collecting Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Academy awards for Best Supporting Actress.

Now fans get to see Sheryl Lee Ralph weekly as Barbara Howard, with Abbott Elementary’s sophomore season premiering on September 21 at 9 pm EST on ABC. Jennifer Hudson currently has high hopes for The Jennifer Hudson Show, which airs in daily syndication. That doesn’t mean Hudson put her film career to the side, as she is attached to star in the action-thriller Breathe and the female-centric collection Tell It Like a Woman. While neither actress has a film premiering in 2022, there are multiple upcoming movies still set to debut this year.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).