Former American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson is set to make her big Broadway debut this fall in a revival of the musical The Color Purple. The role will be Hudson’s first since she played Effie White in the 2006 smash hit “Dreamgirls.” The Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winner will play Shug Avery (played by Margaret Avery in the film and Elisabeth Withers-Mendes in the original Broadway production), a seductive blues singer, in the production directed and designed by John Doyle. Additional casting and an official theatre and premiere dates are expected to be announced sometime within the next couple of weeks. The New York Post initially reported that Hudson would play Celie, but theater journalist and critic Jonathan Mandell has officially confirmed the Shug Avery casting. As with the original Broadway production, Oprah Winfrey will produce the show. In 2005, the musical was produced by Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones, Harvey Weinstein and Winfrey. The show amassed 11 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theater and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (LaChanze as Celie). LaChanze won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Hudson had been searching for a Broadway role for several years, and Winfrey called her personally and extended the offer. If you find yourself in New York this fall, I highly recommend that you go and see the show!
by Farren Washington