Tony Award winner Heather Headley is going to be joining the cast of The Color Purple on Broadway starting on May 10. Headley will play Shug Avery, a jazz singer who is an important influence in the protagonist, Celie’s, life.
Headley will be taking the place of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, whose last performance is scheduled for May 8. Hudson had a six-month contract for The Color Purple, rather than the more common one-year contracts most performers have, because of scheduling demands.
Headley performed for the first time on Broadway in the role of Nala in the Lion King and appeared as a special guest artist in Il Divo – A Musical Affair. She won a Tony Award for her performance in Aida in 2000. Headley was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance in the Whitney Houston role in The Bodyguard in the West End and won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for Audience of One, her third album, in 2009. Headley has not had an ongoing role in a Broadway production since she won her Tony Award for Aida.
The Color Purple is based on the novel of the same name written by Alice Walker. The novel and musical tell the story of Celie, played by Cynthia Erivo, who finds love and is able to overcome adversity. Other cast members include Danielle Brooks, Kyle Scatliffe, Isaiah Johnson, and Joaquina Kalukango. The book was written by Marsha Norman. The musical has lyrics written by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. The music was composed by Russell and Willis.
The Color Purple is being performed at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre and is directed by John Doyle. Doyle introduced a revised version of the play on July 15, 2013 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. His version cut out about 30 minutes of material from the original version. It is produced by Oprah Winfrey, among others.
On Broadway sells discounted tickets for day and evening performances of many popular plays and musicals, including The Color Purple. Reserve tickets now to see Heather Headley in her new role or to see Jennifer Hudson before her run ends.