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Jennifer Holliday to join cast of The Color Purple

By Michael Paulson,

Jennifer Holliday, the actress who won a Tony Award for her blistering performance as Effie White in the original production of “Dreamgirls,” is joining the cast of “The Color Purple.”

The casting has a bit of cosmic poetry. In the current revival of “The Color Purple,” Ms. Holliday will play Shug Avery, a role first played in this production by Jennifer Hudson. Ms. Hudson portrayed Effie, a role originated by Ms. Holliday, in the film version of “Dreamgirls” (and won an Oscar for her work).

Shug Avery is a nightclub singer in “The Color Purple,” a musical adapted from the Alice Walker novel of the same name. Ms. Holliday will step into the role on Oct. 4, succeeding Heather Headley, who has been playing Shug Avery since May 10; her final performance will be Oct. 2.

Ms. Holliday has a history with “The Color Purple” — in 2014, she appeared in a “mini-tour” of the show, playing Sofia.

Ms. Holliday won her Tony in 1982; she most recently appeared on Broadway in 2001, as the matron in “Chicago.” Her performance at the 1982 Tonys is often described as one of the best in history.

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