At “Hamilton” — currently the hottest ticket on Broadway, and the show expected to dominate the Tony Awards this year — the cast, led by creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, paid their respects to the departed legend, who was found dead April 21, with Prince’s 1984 tune “Let’s Go Crazy.” Miranda did the spoken intro to the song, and capped it off with the words “Rest in peace, Prince,” before the show’s band cut loose and the cast bopped and danced in tribute.
The other show to honor the Purple One on the evening he died was, appropriately, “The Color Purple.” During the curtain call, Jennifer Hudson, who stars in the show with Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks, stepped forward and addressed the crowd. “We lost a legend who was a good friend of mine, Prince,” she said. “Who was dear to all of us.” And then, with the backing of the production’s orchestra, the whole cast sang “Purple Rain,” with Erivo and then Hudson taking showstopping turns in the spotlight.
On Broadway, these kinds of tributes and performances can happen spontaneously, and often at the prompting of cast members or creators. Earlier in the day, Miranda had previously tweeted about his sadness over Prince’s death, and later added that “Hamilton” musical director Alex Lacamoire spent the day orchestrating “Let’s Go Crazy” for the production’s orchestra.
At “Color Purple,” Hudson and Erivo had the idea for that show’s tribute and then got cast members and stage management on board with the idea, according to a source. The band also was happy to participate, and everybody winged it.