Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley will join the Broadway cast of The Color Purple on Tuesday, May 10, assuming the role of Shug Avery. Jennifer Hudson, who made her Broadway debut in the role, will play her final performance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Sunday, May 8.
"These last six months have been nothing short of a dream come true. I have found an extended family in the cast of The Color Purple that will go far beyond my commitment onstage," said Hudson in a statement. "I owe so much to the Broadway community and our audiences. My heart is full as I say to Broadway, 'Until we meet again.'"
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.
"I was privileged to see John Doyle’s production of The Color Purple and was completely moved and bowled over by his beautiful work and this brilliant company," said Headley. "I am humbled to be joining this immensely talented group of actors. I can't think of a better way to return to the Broadway stage than in this extraordinary show, helping to tell Alice Walker's story."
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 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 10, currently stars Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Hudson as Shug Avery, and Danielle Brooks as Sofia.