Aida Tony Winner Heather Headley Takes Her First Bow in Broadway's Color Purple
Heather Headley joined the Broadway cast of The Color Purple last night, May 10, assuming the role of Shug Avery. Jennifer Hudson, who made her Broadway debut in the role, played her final performance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on May 8.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Alice Walker, The Color Purple features a book by Marsha Norman with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. Doyle's production, which opened on December 10, also stars Cynthia Erivo as Celie and Danielle Brooks as Sofia.
Headley made her Broadway debut in the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King. She went on to star in Elton John and Tim Rice's next collaboration, Aida, winning the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. She released her debut album, This Is Who I Am, in 2002 and earned a Grammy for her 2009 album, Audience of One. In 2012, she made her London stage debut in the West End production of The Bodyguard, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.
In addition to Erivo, Brooks, and Headley, the company of The Color Purple also includes Isaiah Johnson as Mister, Joaquina Kalukango as Nettie, and Kyle Scatliffe as Harpo. The production's ensemble is made up of Phoenix Best, Dwayne Clark, Lawrence Clayton, Carrie Compere, Patrice Covington, Adrianna Hicks, Bre Jackson, Grasan Kingsberry, Kevyn Morrow, Ken Robinson, Antoine L. Smith, Carla R. Stewart, Akron Watson, and Rema Webb.
The Color Purple is currently nominated for six 2016 Drama Desk Awards and four Tony Awards. Erivo is the recent winner of an Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance as Celie.