Heather Headley to join the cast of The Color Purple

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley will join the company of the Broadway revival of The Color Purple on 10 May 2016, assuming the role of Shug Avery from Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson. Ms Hudson will play her final performance on 8 May 2016 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Jennifer Hudson released the following statement:

"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 on-stage. I owe so much to the Broadway community and our audiences. My heart is full as I say to Broadway, 'until we meet again.'"
Heather Headley added:
"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. 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."
The cast for the revival currently includes Cynthia Erivo (Celie), Jennifer Hudson (Shug Avery), Danielle Brooks (Sofia), Kyle Scatliffe (Harpo), Isaiah Johnson (Mister), and Joaquina Kalukango (Nettie), with 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 began previews on 10 November 2015, and officially opened on 10 December 2015, and is currently booking through to 2 October 2016.

The production, which premiered at London's Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013, is directed by Tony winner John Doyle, and 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 features scenic design by John Doyle, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jane Cox, sound design by Gregory Clarke, hair & wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, music supervision by Catherine Jayes and music direction by Jason Michael Webb.

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.

Heather Headley won a Tony Award in 2000 for her performance in the title role of 'Aida.' She also originated the role of Nala in Disney's 'The Lion King' on Broadway and the role of Rachel Marron in the West End premiere of 'The Bodyguard,' earning an Olivier Award nomination for the latter. She starred off-Broadway in the Encores! production of 'Do Re Mi.' As a recording artist, she has released four studio albums, winning a Grammy Award in 2010, and a further three Grammy nominations along the way.

- by Tom Millward

Heather Headley

Originally published on

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive New York theatre updates!

  • Get early access to Broadway's newest shows
  • Access to exclusive deals and promotions
  • Stay in the know about top shows and news on Broadway
  • Get updates on shows that are important to you

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy