Withers-Mendes earned a 2006 Tony nomination and won a 2006 Theatre World Award for her portrayal of the sultry blues singer Shug Avery in Purple. She concludes her run in the Broadway production in order to record a forthcoming solo album.
The Color Purple marked the Broadway debut for Withers-Mendes, who has enjoyed a successful career in the recording industry, having penned the number-one Billboard hit "Emotions." The singer-actress has performed with artists such as Luther Vandross, Cher, Celine Dion and Henry Krieger. In 2006 she released her latest album "It Can Happen to Anyone."
Angela Robinson assumes the role of Shug beginning Feb. 1. Robinson has performed in the Broadway companies of Wonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing, and Play On! as well as in the Public Theater production of Radiant Baby. Robinson will perform the role through Feb. 24 when The Color Purple concludes its Broadway run.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker – The Color Purple – under the direction of Gary Griffin, began previews on Broadway Nov. 1, 2005, and officially opened at the Broadway Theatre Dec. 1, 2005.
The musical features a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman. The Broadway cast currently stars newcomer Zonya Love as Celie, as well as Grammy Award winners Chaka Khan as Sofia, Bebe Winans as Harpo, and "American Idol" finalist Lakisha Jones as the Church Soloist. Jones also plays the role of Sofia during matinee performances.
The Broadway company of The Color Purple also includes Montego Glover as Nettie, Fitzgerald White as Mister and Krisha Marcano as Squeak. Also featured are Leilani N. Bryant, Teresa Stanley, Yolanda Wyns, Larry Marshall, Deidra H. Brooks, Eric L. Christian, Latrisa A. Coleman, Ruby E. Crawford, Bobby Daye, Doug Eskew, Lavon Fisher-Wilson, Charles Gray, Gavin Gregory, Stephanie Guiland-Brown, James Harkness, Francesca Harper, Chauncey Jenkins, Ashley Reneé Jordan Brandi Chavonne Massey, Kenya Unique Massey, Marla McReynolds, Jenny Mollet, JC Montgomery, Angela Robinson, Levensky Smith, Ricky Smith and Jamal Story.
For tickets call (212) 239-6200, visit the Broadway Theatre box office at 1681 Broadway or visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.