My Favourite Musical Songs: #19
19. And I am Telling You I’m Not Going from Dreamgirls (Version Included: 1982 Tony Awards performed by Jennifer Holliday and the 2006 movie ‘Dreamgirls’ performed by Jennifer Hudson )
Note: Feel free top watch both renditions but my favourite ends at about 4.50
The first of several female belting tracks and man alive are they not fun? ‘And I am Telling You I’m Not Going’ is one of the most OTT torch songs I have ever heard. Wonderfully dramatic and emotional, a stand out camp-fest of brutal joy in what is otherwise a mediocre score and story.
Jennifer Hudson is excellent but when you consider that the vocal is pre recorded and she had several takes it only highlights just how remarkable Jennifer Holliday’s performance is, psycho eyes and all. The first time I saw her huffing and puffing all over the stage at the Tony’s that year my mind nearly melted. I was both laughing and crying at the same time. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at. I just knew it worked for me. It is one of the most exhausting and exhilarating performances I have ever seen and I can never get enough of it. Musical Theatre should be larger than life. If I wanted to see gritty realism I would just go outside.
If I didn’t know any better I would say she really was having her heart ripped out on stage and an audience just happened to be there. The character, Effie, is in denial, processing that she has lost her job, her man and her status all in one swoop but at the same time simply not accepting that it is happening. I find it easy to relate to and I have never had a day with that much loss in one go. But I know this response to bad news. That desperate pleading coupled with outrage that he could ever think of ending it just gives me the shivers.
Back in the past when I was dealing with getting dumped I worked out my break up pain through dramatically miming to this bad boy. That’s right. Try it. Super fun. If you have ever had a sneaking suspicion that you are the STAR in your own life…I think I have found the song for you.
OTHER NOTABLE VERSIONS: Hudson, obviously. And a lot of X Factor/American Idol/Got Talent singers. Ick. Most of the ones I have seen focus on the tonsil craziness more than the emotion behind the words so I can’t stand it. Because, as much as I love this song, there has to be more to the rendition that shouting. These days even Holliday doesn’t do it justice because she doesn’t perform it in character and just screams. There is also Will Smith. It is pretty poignant when he does it.
BEST MOMENT: 2:56 onwards. The rage as he legs it (to be honest, I am not sure I blame him) but still promising him she is staying put, it is an accurate representation of how it feels to be dumped. You hate having your heart broken but damn it: YOU are NOT going to be alone. The lyrics: ‘tear down the mountains, yell, scream, and shout, you can say what you want, I’m not walking out’ howled by a women scorned is haunting. Broadway at her finest.