Heather Headley To Join Broadway’s ‘The Color Purple’ Production As Shug Avery

Tony and Grammy Award Winner Heather Headley will take over for Jennifer Hudson as the character Shug Avery in John Doyle’s critically acclaimed production of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple. This is Ms. Headley’s first appearance on Broadway since winning the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance in Aida.

Hudson’s role will wrap on May 8th  after a six-month run, and Headley will take over the role on May 10th.

“I was privileged to see John Doyle’s production of The Color Purple and was completely moved and bowled over by his beautiful work and this brilliant company,” said Ms. Headley.  “I am humbled to be joining this immensely talented group of actors. I can’t think of a better way to return to the Broadway stage than in this extraordinary show, helping to tell Alice Walker’s story.”

As Headley prepares to sign on, Hudson prepares her farewells: “These last six months have been nothing short of a dream come true. I have found an extended family in the cast of The Color Purple that will go far beyond my commitment on-stage,” said Hudson.  “I owe so much to the Broadway community and our audiences. My heart is full as I say to Broadway, ‘until we meet again.’”

Headley made her Broadway debut in the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning musical, The Lion King.  While still in The Lion King, Heather was asked to audition for the title role in the writing duo’s next Broadway venture together, Aida. Her portrayal of the Nubian princess Aida won her the 2000 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Heather continued her musical success on the pop charts with her 2002 debut album This Is Who I Am, and her hit single “He Is”.