Jennifer Holliday, who claimed instant stardom as Effie White in the 1981 premiere of Dreamgirls, will take over the role of chanteuse Shug Avery in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple beginning October 4. The Tony and Grammy winner will replace Heather Headley, who took over from the celebrated revival’s original Shug, Jennifer Hudson (who, co-incidentally, played Effie in the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls). Headley’s final performance will be October 2.
“I was deeply moved by this truly uplifting production,” said Holliday in an announcement of the cast change. “I can’t wait to return to the Broadway stage, where I started my career over 35 years ago.”
Said Tony-winning director John Doyle: “There is a rich and significant legacy to the line of women who have been part of The Color Purple. I am very taken with Ms. Holliday’s approach to the character of Shug, and I look forward to sharing how her integrity and experience will enrich this production.”
The musical, which also stars Tony winner Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks, is running at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.