Long before "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson proved Simon Cowell wrong by baring her soul through song in "Dreamgirls," a different Jennifer won audiences' hearts while originating the same role in the Motown-inspired musical on Broadway.

Long before "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson proved Simon Cowell wrong by baring her soul through song in "Dreamgirls," a different Jennifer won audiences' hearts while originating the same role in the Motown-inspired musical on Broadway.

Jennifer Holliday - who became famous for her portrayal of Effie White when the musical opened on Broadway in 1981 - will sing Saturday at the closing block party for the 2010 Gay Softball World Series.

When she was only 19, Holliday got her start on Broadway in "Your Arm's Too Short to Box with God." Afterward, she performed for four years in "Dreamgirls" - doing awe-inspiring, heartfelt vocal work on songs such as "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."

During her long career in show business, Holliday has guest-starred on TV shows, won two Grammys and performed in a number of other musicals.

More recently, she has been working on two recording projects. She plans to release an album of love songs - R&B as well as jazz standards - in time for Valentine's Day. She also has been singing with the choir at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. was once a pastor. That group's album should be released early next year.

But she'll always be most recognized for her role in "Dreamgirls."

"It was a good one, and it was the first of its kind from the '80s," Holliday said of the show. "The music really stood out over the years."

This won't be Holliday's first visit to Columbus. She previously made a stop here in the 1990s while performing in a play. But it'll be her first time singing at something like this.

"It'll be fun," Holliday said of the block party. "It'll be the first time that I've done anything like it."