Danielle Brooks of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Joins Broadway’s ‘Color Purple’

Danielle Brooks The Color Purple Broadway
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Danielle Brooks, the actress who’s turned heads in her role as Taystee in Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” will make her Broadway debut alongside Jennifer Hudson and British actress Cynthia Erivo in the musical version of “The Color Purple.”

Brooks will play the tough Sofia, the role played in the film version by Oprah Winfrey — who’s on board as a producer of the revival, just as she was for the musical’s Broadway premiere in 2005. Sofia is one of the three major female characters in the show, with Hudson on board as nightclub singer Shug and Erivo starring as protagonist Celie, a role she first played in London.

Brooks, a Julliard grad whose upcoming films include the “Angry Birds” animated movie, doesn’t yet have a lot of experience with stage musicals, but she said said she’s been singing all her life. “I grew up singing in church as a little girl,” she said.

The 2005 production of “Color Purple” was the first Broadway show Brooks ever saw, she added, and helped her realize she wanted to pursue acting. The novel, which takes the form of letters written by Celie to God, also had an influence on her: “When I write in my journal now, I always start with ‘Dear God,'” she said with a laugh.

The actress expects to be filming the fourth season of “Orange is the New Black” while she’s appearing in “Color Purple,” which starts performances in November. The third season of “Orange Is the New Black” launches June 12.

John Doyle, whose current production of “The Visit” is currently a Tony contender, directs the new production of “Color Purple.” His revival of the show first bowed in 2013 at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, where it earned raves.

Produced by Scott Sanders, Roy Furman and Winfrey — who were all on the producing team behind the original Broadway production — as well as the Menier Chocolate Factory’s David Babani and Tim Siracusa, “Color Purple” begins previews Nov. 9 ahead of a Dec. 10 opening at the Jacobs Theater.

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