Jennifer Hudson’s Broadway Debut ‘The Color Purple’ Gets Crowds to Their Feet

The Color Purple Broadway opening
Stephen Lovekin/REX Shutterstock

The opening night audience for Broadway’s “The Color Purple” didn’t wait for the curtain call to give the show a standing ovation. They rose to their feet during the second act, after a climactic number performed by star Cynthia Erivo.

That’s nothing, says Danielle Brooks, the “Orange is the New Black” actress making her Broadway debut in the show. (She plays Sophia, the part Oprah played in the movie.) “Sometimes audiences are even crazier,” Brooks said. “One time we got three standing ovations.”

Brooks had just wrapped her work on the fourth season of “Orange” the day before the Dec. 10 opening of “Purple.” While she did both, she had to make it through several challenging weeks of late nights and 4 a.m. mornings.

Her pre-show ritual to keep herself sane?  “I color!” she said. “I have a coloring book, and I color my a— off to calm my nerves. “

Like Brooks and Erivo, Jennifer Hudson is making her Broadway debut in “Purple” too. “The pace of it is so quick!” she said of doing the show each night. “The first night of previews, by the end of the first act I was just like, ‘Whoa, y’all, I think I’m in shock.’ I felt like I just hopped in some oncoming traffic.”

British actress Erivo is starring in “Purple” on Broadway after she played protagonist Celie in London. While she’s Stateside she’s living in hipster central, Willamsburg, and loves Bedford Avenue. But she still has a few tourist destinations she has to get to. “I haven’t been the Central Park yet!” she said.