On the Scene: Jennifer Hudson on Broadway!

101135__jhud_lWhen Jennifer Hudson was announced as a performer in last night’s Actors’ Fund Best Little Whorehouse in Texas benefit concert, well, we were almost as excited as an Aggie boy after a big win over the Longhorns. And I know I wasn’t the only one at the August Wilson Theatre counting the days till Dreamgirls (66 to go!).

Broadway fans adore the Actors’ Fund concerts: They’re stacked with stage stars, fully choreographed and costumed, and nearly every number brings down the house (their 2001 Dreamgirls is legendary). And this wasn’t J.Hud’s first — she tore it up in 2004’s Hair (preserved on CD, fortunately). As for Whorehouse, it was, appropriately, as rowdy as Miss Mona’s on payday: Emily Skinner (a cult fave for her turn as a Siamese twin in 1997’s Side Show) played the proprietor of the “chicken ranch”; Terrence Mann, the original Inspector Javert in Les Miz, was foul-mouthed sheriff Ed Earl; and Hudson, as Jewel, turned in a sparkling rendition of “Twenty Four Hours of Lovin’,” a.k.a. “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Hanging Around Here With You Hos ’Cause I’m Meeting My Man.” Sure, Hudson (pictured backstage with three stars of Jersey Boys) wasn’t wearing anything remotely Texan (or hookerish), she couldn’t really remember her lines, and she had those deer-in-the-headlights eyes, but she brought down the house just by prancing across the stage with a shotgun. In fact, the only thing to get a bigger ovation? The towel-clad, beyond-buff dancing football players. (Idol castoff Constantine Maroulis, however, was completely clothed as a lackadaisical locker-room attendant.)

addCredit(“Jennifer Hudson Photograph by Bruce Glikas”)

Other highlights: The intro from Texas gal Liz Smith (years ago, on NBC’s Live at 5, she had to call the show “The Best Little Who-house in Texas”); Denis’ Jones spank-and-shimmy choreography; Richard Kind as a sex-fiend senator; and, of course, the sensational score by Carol Hall (I’m still singing “Hard Candy Christmas”) and hilarious script (co-written by Peter Masterson, whose wife, Carlin Glynn, was the original Miss Mona).

And here’s a sign of just how dedicated actors are to the Actors’ Fund: Tony winner Christian Hoff (my personal favorite Jersey Boy) has a new baby girl, yet donned a cowboy hat for charity on his evening off. As Hoff — in character as his JB alter ego Tommy DeVito — said, “It was the nicest f—in’ whorehouse you ever saw.” 

Comments (14 total) Add your comment
  • Dave

    That guy in the middle is really cute!

  • cj

    The Hair Concert was in 2005…Jhud would have been like 14 in 2000.

  • Stephanie

    Too bad the Aggie boys haven’t had a win over the Texas Longhorns in a looooooong time.

  • Gary

    Is “Hard-Candied Christmas” really a Christmas song? Discuss.

  • Stephanie

    Gary, I think that Hard Candied Christmas and I will Always Love You were added to the movie version just like Hopelessly Devoted was to Grease the movie.
    This musical needs to be revived!

  • bud

    Hard Candy Christmas is part of the original show. This was one of my favorite shows growing up. I still have the ALBUM!

  • Marnie

    Be very glad that Constantine was fully clothed. Unless you like guys who blow dry their chest hair to fluff it up and are pasty white and doughy.

  • Stephanie

    Constantine is a wussie. Sebastian Bach could kick his butt any time.

  • Donna

    Constantine makes fun of his fans and calls them fat 40+ fan girlys. These are the same people who will (or won’t) be buying his album. Constantine officially has more ex fans than fans. What a train wreck!

  • Michelle

    The show last night was fantastic!!! Constantine hit the ball out of the park with his solo performance….the last note was AMAZING….his voice is just so beautiful and powerful !!!

  • Stacy

    Clearly we watched 2 different shows! American Idol loser Hudson was spectacular. But the biggest and nicest surprise was Constantine! He is the one to watch. Who knew he could belt with the best of Broadway? Awesome voices added to Andrea McArdle and Emily Skinner and breathed life into this musical gem. Indeed, “It was the nicest f—in’ whorehouse you ever saw.”

  • Mike

    Hey who is that guy in the middle. yummm

  • Dow

    Uh! Jennifer is also an American Idol cast off.

  • Nancy Walker

    Go Jennifer! As far as Constantine goes, he is a total cheese ball. He has an ego the size of the Andes Mountains. He needs a reality check. He made it on Idol because he has the “look”. His voice leaves much to be desired.
    Go back to sorry Betty.

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