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Hudson to star as Shug Avery in The Color Purple

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

It has now been confirmed that Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson will indeed make her Broadway debut this year in the John Doyle-helmed musical revival of Oprah Winfrey and Scott Sanders' The Color Purple at a Shubert Theatre yet to be named. The musical is scheduled to begin performances in Fall 2015.

Contrary to reports by the New York Post, Ms Hudson will be taking on the role of Shug Avery in the upcoming production and not the role of Celie, as first speculated. It is rumoured that West End star Cynthia Erivo who played Celie in the London Menier Chocolate Factor revival is in talks to reprise the role on the Great White Way.

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."

John Doyle directed a 'stripped-down' production, which 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.

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

Jennifer Hudson in 'Dreamgirls'

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