Susie Woz‘s USA Today article on Dreamgirls costar Jennifer Hudson‘s singing of the anthemic “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (published 12.22) is far, far more interesting when you read it alongside Armond White‘s disparagement of same in the New York Press (published a week or so ago).
Woz sample: “Just about every Broadway musical worth its bugle beads has that one signature tune. The one that brings down the house. The one that eventually drones in doctors’ offices. The one that you know the name of, or the words to, even if you don’t know what show it came from. Then there is And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) from Dreamgirls.
“Much as when musical whiz kid Michael Bennett staged the Act 1 closer on Broadway back in 1981, the movie version of the glitzy showbiz opera about a ’60s girl group has its seminal spellbinding moment. The volcanic Effie, dismissed by her soul sisters and Curtis, the man she adores, pleads and wails in protest before she ultimately faces the audience alone and dares them not to love her.
“Love her, they do. Even movie audiences regularly break into applause.”
White sample: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going — realistically understood as “The Stalker’s Anthem’ — is the show-stopping number from Dreamgirls in which a woman begs and threatens a man to love her.
“Despite its ostentatious build-up, And I Am Telling You has not entered the Broadway canon: It’s a number white actresses don’t/won’t attempt because it’s culturally stigmatized. The song is so wildly humiliating that it can only be rationalized as a cartoonish black stereotype — the anguish of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin thoughtlessly jumbled and coarsened into a hebephrenic climax.”