Tony Winner to Replace Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple

News   Tony Winner to Replace Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple
Aida star Heather Headley returns to Broadway in the musical revival.
Heather Headley
Heather Headley Russ Harrington

Heather Headley, who won the 2000 Tony as Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Aida, will make a long-awaited return to Broadway as Shug Avery in the acclaimed revival of The Color Purple.

She replaces Jennifer Hudson, who will give her last performance in the role at the May 8 matinee. Headley's first performance will be May 10. Hudson has been regularly stopping the show with her rendition of the song “Push Da Button.”

Headley made her Broadway debut as Nala in the original 1997 cast of The Lion King. Since her Tony-winning performance in Aida, Headley has appeared on Broadway only once, briefly, as a guest star in the 2013 concert show Il Divo—A Musical Affair. In additon to her 2009 album Audience of One, which earned a Grammy Award as Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album, Headley earned an Olivier Award nomination for toplining the London musical stage adaptation of the Whitney Houston film The Bodyguard.

Headley will join a cast that includes Cynthia Erivo in the lead role of Celie.

The Color Purple opened December 10, 2015, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

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