On Tuesday’s episode of Hudson’s popular daytime talk show, Ralph recalled her experience of working with director and choreographer Michael Bennett in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls in 1981. Ralph played the role of Deena Jones in the iconic musical that follows the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois, on their road to stardom.
Ralph, 65, said she was astonished by Bennet’s gift of storytelling and the amazing talent of her-costars Loretta Devine and Jennifer Holliday.
“These women in the room, they were not singers ― they were sangers, baby,” the actress told viewers. “The building was literally levitating off the concrete; that’s how wonderful they were.”
At one point, during her audition for the show, producers asked the Connecticut native to sing “something from church,” but she opted for “Ave Maria” instead. According to the star, the producers weren’t too thrilled with her performance.
“I think they were thinking something more in the Baptist vein,” Ralph said. “They did not know that I was a little Episcopalian girl. So I sang my little song, and I sat down.” Luckily, Ralph landed the part anyway.
Later on in the show, Hudson asked the talented actress to join her for an impromptu performance of the musical’s title song. The two stars broke out big pink boas, and Ralph gave Hudson a fun Dreamsgirls tutorial. Check out the cute moment below.
Sheryl Lee Ralph reflects on her iconic Emmy win
The sweet exchange was a full circle moment for Hudson, who starred in the 2007 adaption of the film. If you remember, Hudson won an Oscar for her stunning on-screen portrayal of Effie White in the critically acclaimed musical.
Earlier this month, Ralph celebrated a big career victory after winning her first Emmy award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy, all thanks to her role in Quinta Brunson’s hilarious sitcom Abbott Elementary. During her interview, Ralph told fans that she was in “shock” when the presenter called her name.
“I didn’t think it was me. I was there to support my cast, my cast members. I thought it was going to be somebody else – I honestly do not remember getting up out of my seat. I do not remember getting onto the stage.”
Luckily, the star had already prepared a speech just in case.
“Like many of you, I have had a speech prepared since I was five years old,” she said. “And when they called my name, all of it went out of my head.”
Watch the full episode of Sheryl Lee Ralph’s interview on The Jennifer Hudson Show below.