Theater News

Heather Headley to Take Her Final Bow in The Color Purple

Jennifer Holliday will step in as Broadway’s next Shug Avery.

Heather Headley taking her first bow as Shug Avery in The Color Purple.
Heather Headley taking her first bow as Shug Avery in The Color Purple.
(© Tricia Baron)

Tony winner Heather Headley plays her final performance in The Color Purple this afternoon after beginning her run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on May 10. She assumed the role of Shug Avery from Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who originated the part in John Doyle's Tony-winning revival production.

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.

Tony winner Jennifer Holliday takes over the role of Shug beginning Tuesday, October 4. She joins a cast that features Tony winner Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Tony nominee Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Isaiah Johnson as Mister, Jennie Harney as Nettie, and Kyle Scatliffe as Harpo.

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. The production began performances at the Jacobs Theatre November 10, 2015 in advance of a December 10 opening, earning four Tony nominations and winning two for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actress (Erivo).

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