Cynthia Erivo to make Broadway debut in The Color Purple

Producers of the upcoming Broadway transfer of The Color Purple, which premiered at London's Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013, have announced that West End star Cynthia Erivo will be reprising her role of Celie and making her Broadway debut in the production. She joins previously announced Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, who will also be making her Broadway debut in the John Doyle-helmed musical revival.

A theatre and opening night have now also been confirmed. The Color Purple will begin previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on 9 November 2015, before an official opening on 3 December 2015.

The Color Purple features music by Brenda Russell and Allee Willis, lyrics by Russell, Willias and Stephen Bray and a book by Marsha Norman. Based on the novel by Alice Walker, the musical tells "the story of Celie, a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discovers her voice in the world."

The Color Purple is produced on Broadway by Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, and Oprah Winfrey, with David Babani and Tom Siracusa for Chocolate Factory Productions.

John Doyle's 'stripped-down' production opened at London's Menier Chocolate Factory on 15 July 2013, cutting approximately 30 minutes of material from the original production, which played at the Broadway Theatre from 1 November 2005 until 24 February 2008. The Broadway production was directed by Gary Griffin and starred Brandon Victor Dixon, Renee Elise Goldsberry and LaChanze, who won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Celie.

Cynthia Erivo's London theatre credits include 'The Color Purple' at Menier Chocolate Factory, an all-female production of 'Henry IV' at Donmar Warehouse, 'I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical' at London Palladium, 'Dessa Rose' at Trafalgar Studios and 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' at Gielgud Theatre. She also played Deloris Van Cartier in the UK Tour of 'Sister Act.'

Jennifer Hudson shot to fame as a finalist on 'American Idol' in 2002 and went on to win an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for 'Dreamgirls' in 2007. She also picked up a Golden Globe and BAFTA award the same year. Other credits include 'Sex and the City' (the Movie), 'Fragments,' 'The Secret Life of Bees,' 'Winnie Mandela,' 'The Three Stooges,' 'Black Nativity,' 'Lullaby,' and NBC's 'Smash.' As a recording artist, she won a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best R&B Album and has earned several further nominations. She has released three studio albums: 'Jennifer Hudson' (2008), 'I Remember Me' (2011) and 'JHUD' (2014).

- by Tom Millward

Cynthia Erivo