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Taraji P. Henson to Play Shug Avery in The Color Purple Movie Musical

The Annie Live star will take the role of the sultry juke joint singer.

Taraji P. Henson will play Shug Avery in the upcoming movie-musical adaptation of The Color Purple.
(© Tristan Fuge)

Fresh off her turn as Miss Hannigan in Annie Live, Taraji P. Henson will star as Shug Avery in the movie-musical adaptation of The Color Purple. This is according to Variety, which broke the story.

Henson received a 2009 Oscar nomination for her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She has also received three primetime Emmy nominations, including two for her performance as Cookie Lyon on Empire.

in The Color Purple, Henson will play the role of Shug Avery, a juke joint singer and arguably one of the romantic leads of the story.

Based on the novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a young Black woman living in rural Georgia who becomes estranged from her beloved sister, is forcibly wed to an older widower, and becomes smitten with Shug Avery — all in the first act.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005 and features a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. It was revived on Broadway in 2015, earning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. It was also the Broadway debut of Cynthia Erivo, who earned a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Celie.

The property was first adapted for the screen in 1985 under the direction of Steven Spielberg. He produces this musical remake, alongside Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones. Marcus Gardley has penned the screenplay and Blitz Bazawule will direct.

As previously reported, Corey Hawkins will play the role of Harpo. Casting of the lead role of Celie has not yet been announced.

The Color Purple is set to hit cinemas on Dec. 20, 2023.

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