When the Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple opened last December, its cast alone deemed it as an automatic success. Grammy award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson was cast as Shug Avery, Emmy award-winning actress Danielle Brooks got the role as Sofia, and newcomer Cynthia Erivo landed the lead as Celie.
The reviews said it all, with the Associated Press noting, “Jennifer Hudson and The Color Purple are a match made in musical heaven.” And a critic from the Los Angeles Times saying, “My spirit was profoundly moved.” But performing a roaring show every night is no easy job, especially for someone as busy as Hudson, which may be why she’s leaving the show.
As reported by The New York Times, Hudson is planning to leave the cast of The Color Purple next month, noted by the show’s producers on Thursday. But replacing her will be Tony award-winning actress, Heather Headley, who’s first show will be May 10.
Many of us know Headley from her solo singing career, but the talent actually began on Broadway. She’s played Nala in “The Lion King”, lead in “Aida”, and in a musical adaptation of “The Body Guard” to name a few— in addition to winning a 2009 Grammy Award for best contemporary R&B Gospel album.
While fans will be sad to see Hudson leave, they’re sure to get a treat with Headley taking over the job. Either way it’s one of the two all-black ensembles on Broadway, so we’re here for its success.