This flamboyant, gutsy singer and cabaret performer parlayed an autobiographical cabaret act called "The Diva Is Dismissed" into a buoyant career as a supporting player of in TV and film. Soon after she arrived in NYC, Jenifer Lewis began on Broadway in a small role in "Eubie" (1979), the musical based on the work of Eubie Blake. She next landed the role of Effie White in the workshop of the Michael Bennett-directed musical "Dreamgirls," but when the show moved to Broadway, Bennett chose Jennifer Holliday for the role. Undaunted, Lewis accepted a position as a Harlette, a back-up singer for Bette Midler which led to Lewis' first TV appearances on Midler's HBO specials. She also landed her first screen role as a result, appearing as one of the buxom chorines in the "Otto Titsling" production number in the Midler vehicle "Beaches" (1988). Simultaneously, Lewis was developing her nightclub act, an autobiographical comedy and music show in NYC cabarets. Word of mouth was quite good and she performed the show Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre.