Donna Reed National Scholarship WinnerThe forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, will include Tony Award winner Saycon Sengbloh who was a 2001 Donna Reed Foundation national scholarship winner in Acting and Musical Theatre.
The biopic will follow the singer’s rise to superstardom, from her childhood singing gospel in her father’s church to her emergence as one of the most powerful and influential voices in soul and R&B. The movie will also examine Franklin’s impact on civil rights and women’s movements.
Sengbloh has starred in a number of Broadway musicals. Her breakthrough came in 2015, when she was cast in Eclipsed, a play about five Liberian women and their tale of survival near the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. It became the first play with an all-black and female creative cast and team to premiere on Broadway. Her performance received positive reviews from critics. She won Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for original Off-Broadway production, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play nomination for Broadway production.