UPDATE: Theater journalist/critic shared the following on Twitter moments ago, correcting the New York Post story that said Hudson has signed up to play Celie. As Mandell’s tweet states, Hudson will actually be playing Shug, which, quite frankly, makes more sense to me. Here’s Mandell’s tweet:
— Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) January 9, 2015
And here’s the original story published earlier this morning:
According to a New York Post report this morning, Jennifer Hudson will make her Broadway debut this Fall, as Celie in a revival of “The Color Purple” musical, which Oprah Winfrey will return to produce (she also produced its run in 2005). Winfrey will be backing this revival, with her theatrical business partner Scott Sanders.
Apparently, J-Hud has wanted to star in a Broadway show for a long time, and, as the Post states, Oprah called her personally and asked her to join the production.
Just as I pondered when “A Raisin in the Sun” was revived yet again, last year, with Denzel Washington starring, just 10 years after its previous run in 2004, surely there must be some unexplored, original plays, written by black playwrights that are worth exploring, instead of this continuous recycling of tried and true material. Then again, I suppose that’s the point: guaranteed box office – well, most of the time, especially with a name like Oprah’s behind it, and a well-known face in Hudson in front of it.
The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in 1985, directed by Steven Spielberg, and starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Danny Glover as Albert, and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, it won none.
A musical adaptation of the novel opened on Broadway in December 2005, a. The show was produced by Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones, Harvey Weinstein, and Oprah Winfrey, who was also an investor. It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theater, and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (LaChanze). LaChanze won the Tony Award, though the show itself won no other awards.
In April 2007, Fantasia Barrino took over the role of Celie from LaChanze, until the Broadway production ended its run in early 2008.
So, really, it’s been only about 7 years since its last run ended.
Well, the good news is that black actors will be working here, and earning some rent and food money.