Originally scheduled to end her Main Stem bow in October 2007, Barrino renewed her contract through the New Year.
Fantasia won "American Idol" in May 2004, in the show's third season, and in the final round defeated Diana DeGarmo, who subsequently appeared on Broadway in Hairspray. Fantasia has released two solo albums, "Free Yourself" in 2004 and "Fantasia" in December 2006.
Fantasia previously spoke to Playbill.com about playing the role of Celie. "If you really put yourself in her shoes," Fantasia said, "that can be very tiring. It can take a lot of energy out of you. I know when I get off the stage at night from shows, I'm exhausted. I run to my room, and I fall on the couch, and I have to take at least about ten minutes to wind down and to get my thoughts together and come out of the part of Celie."
Barrino succeeded Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze in the role of Celie. Following Barrino in the central role will be newcomer Zonya Love. Love makes her Broadway debut in Purple Jan. 9.
January 9 will also mark the arrival of Grammy winners Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans in the roles of, respectively, Sofia and Harpo. "American Idol" finalist LaKisha Jones, who joined the cast Dec. 19 in the role of the Church Soloist, will also play Sofia at matinee performances beginning Jan. 9. Based on the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg film, The Color Purple features a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother). The musical is directed by Gary Griffin.
The Broadway production of The Color Purple began previews on Nov. 1, 2005, at the Broadway Theatre and officially opened Dec. 1, 2005.
The Color Purple's lead producer is Scott Sanders; the presenting producer is Oprah Winfrey, who received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in the film version.
The rest of the Broadway producing team includes Quincy Jones, Roy Furman, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson.
For tickets call (212) 239-6200, visit the Broadway Theatre box office at 1681 Broadway or visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.