Jennifer Hudson is set to make her Broadway debut in a revival of The Color Purple, producers Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, and Oprah Winfrey announced today. The Oscar winner will play the role of Shug Avery, played by Margaret Avery in the film and Elisabeth Withers-Mendes in the original Broadway production.
The new production comes from London where it ran at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013. Director John Doyle, whose productions of Sweeney Todd and Company had actors playing instruments, made cuts to The Color Purple for the London production, making it more intimate. “John Doyle has made an honest musical out of ‘The Color Purple,’” Ben Brantley wrote in the New York Times. A source says that the production is exploring bringing Cynthia Erivo, who won critical praise playing Celie in London, to reprise her role.
The musical written by Marsha Norman with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray first opened on Broadway in 2005.