sheryl-lee-ralph_web.jpgLong before Beyonce took to the big screen in the role of Deena Jones, actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph brought the role to life, starring as the original Deena in the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls alongside original cast members Jennifer Holliday and Loretta Devine.

For her portrayal, Ralph earned Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for best actress. Ralph went on to become one of TV’s most well known stepmothers on the top-rated “Moesha” with R & B singer/actress Brandy.

For her work beyond TV and the stage, Ralph will this week be honored by Florida Memorial University during its Fourth Annual President‘s Scholarship Gala, “A Night to Remember.”

Ralph’s award comes during the same week of the Miami premiere of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” which runs at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami from Oct. 19 through 24.

Ralph was selected as this year’s Community Leadership Award recipient for parlaying her entertainment passion into a campaign to generate HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through her non-profit organization, The Diva Foundation. She also spreads her message through her one-woman show called “Sometimes I Cry,” which illustrates women’s lifestyle challenges as they cope with the debilitating effects of AIDS. Ralph is also credited for creating “Divas Simply Singing,” an evening of performances that has become one of Hollywood’s most exciting new AIDS benefits.

The gala is the fourth annual installment of the University’s mission to generate proceeds benefiting the Florida Memorial University Student Scholarship Fund. The evening will include a gourmet dinner, award presentations, and a performance from popular singer Nicole Henry.

Photo: Sheryl Lee Ralph

IF YOU GO

WHAT: ‘A Night to Remember,‘ FMU’s 4th Annual President’s Scholarship Gala

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 22 at 7p.m.

WHERE: Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, 3555 South Ocean Dr., Hollywood

COST: $150 per person

FOR MORE INFO: For more information, please call Regine Beauboeuf at (305) 623-1446.