×

Heather Headley to Take Over for Jennifer Hudson in Broadway’s ‘The Color Purple’

Heather Headley, the theater-fan favorite who hasn’t had an ongoing Broadway role since she won a 2000 Tony Award for “Aida,” will take over for Jennifer Hudson in “The Color Purple,” which Hudson departs in May.

Hudson’s six-month contract in “Color Purple” is up May 8. Although it’s more common for performers to sign onto ongoing Broadway musicals for a year, Hudson’s contract was half that, owing to the demands of the Oscar winner’s schedule. (The exit date seems poised to throw a wrench into any potential Tony Awards campaign for Hudson; all the nominators will have seen her performance in advance of the nominations announcement on May 3, but many of the awards’ out-of-town voters may not see the show until later in the month.)

Headley, who seems like she could also be a good fit to play the musical’s protagonist Celie, will play the featured role of Shug Avery, the jazz singer who has a profound effect on Celie’s life.

Headley made her Broadway debut as Nala in the original cast of “The Lion King,” and went on to play the title character in the next Disney musical, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida.” After her Tony win in that show, she launched a recording career, and in 2012 played the Whitney Houston role in the musical adaptation of “The Bodyguard” on the West End. In 2013, she appeared in a brief Broadway run of a concert by classical vocal quartet Il Divo.

Headley joins “The Color Purple” May 10, appearing alongside a cast that includes Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks (“Orange Is the New Black”). Since opening in December, the production has mostly sold solidly, if not spectacularly; whether the departure of Hudson will have any effect on the box office remains to be seen.

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]

  • MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOWby

    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content