Watch Sheryl Lee Ralph Sing Her Emmy Acceptance Speech

Sheryl Lee Ralph gave an acceptance speech for the ages when she won the Emmy award last night for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as the veteran kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard, hilariously stern and supremely competent, on the ABC series “Abbott Elementary.” It was a “speech” that reflects her background in Broadway musicals; she’s performed in four, including “Wicked” and “Dreamgirls,” for which she was nominated for a Tony in 1981. After that early acclaim, she moved to Los Angeles, and struggled to find good roles — which makes her Emmy win all these decades later feel so sweet.

Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine in “Dreamgirls” 1981


She sang the first verse of the song “Endangered Species,” which jazz singer Dianne Reeves introduced in 1994:

I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim’s song
I am a woman I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs

Award, song and speech begin at around the four minute mark (4:00)

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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