Sheryl Lee Ralph Claims She Signed A “Bad Deal” During Rehearsal For ‘Dreamgirls’

Sheryl Lee Ralph still has some feelings about her Dreamgirls days.

While promoting her new book, Diva, the Emmy-winning actress stopped by Way Up with Angela Yee and wanted to clear the air on some past notions regarding the iconic Broadway show. Rumor had it that the 66-year-old signed a “bad” deal to star in the production because she didn’t think it would become a success. However, Ralph told Yee that was completely false. “I, Sheryl Lee, always felt that ‘Dreamgirls’ was gonna be a big hit,” Ralph said. “To this day I haven’t gotten a check from the magnificence that is ‘Dreamgirls’ and it hurts me to my heart.”

The 1981 production had a four-year run on Broadway, starring Ralph as Deena Jones, singer Jennifer Holliday as Effie White, and fellow actress, Loretta Devine as Lorell Robinson. Sources reported, during an interview on Jemele Hill’s Unbothered podcast, the Abbott Elementary star claimed she and her costars were presented with contracts during rehearsal for the show. Normally, lawyers would go through the contracts for sneaky additions, but Ralph said they felt pressured to sign in order to keep their jobs. “We were young, and when you’re young and you don’t know a whole lot, back then, you do crazy things like sell away your rights for a dollar,” Ralph admitted.
Everything worked out in her favor, as the show was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning six.

The success of Dreamgirls continued years later on the big screen after the 2006 remake, starring Anika Noni Rose, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Hudson, received rave reviews. Hudson walked away with an Oscar for her portrayal of Effie. BLACK ENTERPRISE reported earlier this year how Ralph felt “hurt” about not being included. “Whatever that choice was, it hurt my feelings, because we literally created Dreamgirls,” Ralph told Jackee Harry in an interview. There were so many things they could’ve done. They could have added us, but the choice was made not to. And God and Goddess know why.”