Tony- and Grammy Award-winning performer Jennifer Holliday will assume the role of Shug Avery in John Doyle's Tony Award-winning production of The Color Purple on October 4.
The boozing juke-joint singer who brings love and light into the life of The Color Purple's downtrodden protagonist, Celie, Shug was first played in the current revival by another star previously associated with the role of Effie - Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for the part in Bill Condon's 2006 screen version of Dreamgirls. Headley took over from Jennifer Hudson at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
Yet since her career-making turn in the series, Holliday has been mostly absent from Broadway.
"Nothing compares to performing before a Broadway audience and I can't wait to return to the Broadway stage, where I started my career over 35 years ago", Holliday added.
Holliday last starred on Broadway back in 2001 in Chicago; she appeared in a three-city-tour of The Color Purple as Sofia in 2014.
The Color Purple, which opened December 10, 2015, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, also stars Tony nominee Danielle Brooks in her Broadway debut as the ferocious, strong-willed Sofia, Kyle Scatliffe (Harpo), Isaiah Johnson (Mister), Joaquina Kalukango (Nettie) and Cynthia Erivo (Celie). "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 of THE COLOR PURPLE".
At the 70th Anniversary of the Tony Awards, the production picked up the Tonys for "Best Revival of a Musical" and "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical" (for Cynthia Erivo).
She won a Grammy in 1983 for best female performance, R&B, for her signature Dreamgirls ballad, and again in 1985 for inspirational performance, gospel, for "Come Sunday".
The production stars Tony Award victor CYNTHIA ERIVO in "a performance big enough to play in the Grand Canyon" (Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal) and the "powerhouse" (Linda Winer, Newsday) Tony-nominated DANIELLE BROOKS, who "shakes the house in a thrilling Broadway debut" (Marilyn Stasio, Variety). The production also received nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Danielle Brooks), and Best Direction of a Musical (John Doyle). Adapted from the novel of the same name by Alice Walker, The Color Purple features a book by Marsha Norman with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.