Jennifer Hudson will star in ‘The Color Purple’ on Broadway

15 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jennifer Hudson Broadway-bound in ‘The Color Purple’.

The 33-year-old Oscar and Grammy winner will play Shug Avery in the revival of the musical, which will be co-produced by Oprah Winfrey, later this year.

Jennifer Hudson will make her Broadway debut in a revival of “The Color Purple” this fall — but instead of playing protagonist Celie, she’ll portray nightclub singer Shug Avery. Oprah Winfrey, who produced the musical in its initial outing, returns alongside fellow original producers Scott Sanders and Roy Furman for the revival. “Color Purple,” which earned mixed notices when it bowed in 2005, has been eyeing a Broadway return since it got a jolt of critical respect from a much-lauded London revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

The ‘Dreamgirls’ actress has been eager to star on Broadway for several years and recently admitted she wants to add a Tony award and an Emmy award to her collection. “I should get two more dogs. Based on Alice Walker’s novel, the musical features a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray that draw on jazz, gospel and blues. 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.

The original Broadway production received 11 Tony Award nominations, including a Best Leading Actress in a Musical win for LaChanze for her turn in the leading role of Celie. Hudson’s Broadway engagement looks, at least at first blush, like a commercial slam-dunk, given that the original production of “Color Purple” found some of its greatest sales strength when Fantasia Barrino, another well-known “American Idol” alum, stepped in the show. Under the direction of Gary Griffin, the adaptation of the Alice Walker novel played 910 regular performances on Broadway from 2005 through early 2008 with Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as the original Shug. Theater avids saw Hudson on the Tony telecast last spring, performing a song from “Finding Neverland.” She also appeared in NBC’s Broadway-centric series “Smash.” Also already told on film, the story is set in rural Georgia as it follows a different character, Celie, through a life of adversity and, ultimately, love.

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