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Jennifer Hudson will be singing and shimmying on Broadway this fall.
The Oscar winner and American Idol season three alum will star as juke-joint singer Shug Avery in a New York revival of The Color Purple.
A report in the New York Post on Friday stated incorrectly that Hudson would take on the lead role of Celie, which earned original star LaChanze a leading actress Tony Award. The part was later played by season three Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino, who drew rave reviews and generated a sizeable bump at the box office.
The show’s revival will be backed by Oprah Winfrey, who first came on board with lead producers Scott Sanders and Roy Furman to bring the show to Broadway in 2005. According to the Post, Winfrey reached out to Hudson personally to invite her to join the cast.
The stripped-down version, produced by London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in summer 2013, is a departure from the splashy original $10 million show, which debuted a decade ago and ran for a little over two years. Word went out soon after rave reviews broke for the London production, which was directed by John Doyle, that Sanders and Winfrey were eager to bring the revised version back to Broadway despite the relatively brief time since its premiere.
The show has a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, which combines jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The musical’s book is by playwright Marsha Norman, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the 1985 Steven Spielberg film that starred Whoopi Goldberg and Winfrey.
The role of Shug was played in the film by Margaret Avery, who received an Oscar nomination for her work, along with Goldberg and Winfrey. The character enters the story as the mistress of Celie’s abusive husband, but eventually becomes her lover and then a lifelong friend.
The Menier Chocolate Factory has spawned a number of Broadway transfers of musical revivals, including Sunday in the Park With George, La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music. David Babani and Tom Siracusa of Chocolate Factory Productions will serve as co-producers on The Color Purple‘s Broadway run.
Other Idols have starred in productions of The Color Purple, including season three alum LaToya London portraying Nettie in the national tour, and season six Idol Lakisha Jones, who appeared as a Church Soloist and stood in for Chaka Khan as Sofia late in the Broadway run.
Hudson won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Effie White in the 2005 film, Dreamgirls. Her other film credits include Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.
Exact dates, theater and complete casting for The Color Purple are to be announced.
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