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Jennifer Hudson Talks The Color Purple Debut, Playing Sexy Shug & Oprah’s Special Touch


ABC/Craig Sjodin

If you’re around in New York City for the holidays, you may want to check out Jennifer Hudson starring in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. J-Hud tells ABC Radio that she was very nervous about her debut on stage, but that she was overwhelmed by the audience’s reaction.

“It feels so good. It’s such a great experience and it’s something that I waited for a long time [to do], because I wanted it to be the right timing for it,” Hudson says, before adding that she couldn’t get over the audience reaction during preview performances. “It was shocking, because once I stepped off that stage after that first act, I was like, ‘I think I’m in shock!’ Because you never really know and no one can explain it to you until you experience it,” she says.  “They always say, ‘Oh, it’s something you will never forget, it’s nothing like it.’ They were not lying honey.”

Hudson spilled that she was actually surprised to be portraying Shug Avery, a sexy mistress in the production. “I was like, ‘Me as Shug?’ But I guess that comes all in like my new self, like, my whole weight loss,” says Hudson, who has shed more than 80 ponds since 2011 and kept it off.

She continues, “When you go through a journey like that you don’t really realize how changing it can be for you in your life and in a way it’s like a new start.  Whether you welcome it or not, you are seen in a different way, and so now the roles are changing, because when I was heavy I don’t think I would have been Shug, you know what I mean? I think it is a celebration and it’s something that I welcome, but it will take some getting used to that’s for sure.”

Overall, Hudson is just happy the stars have aligned for the production, which also features Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks, who plays Sofia. J-Hud says the experience is even more exciting since Oprah Winfrey is among the producers.

“[Its] so special. You, like, feel the specialness in it, the magic in it and it’s extra beautiful to all of us ladies because it’s such a empowering thing for women and to know it’s led by one of the most powerful woman in the world,” Jen says.  “And to see like Danielle play to role of Sophia, which Oprah originated, it’s just too many things that gels it together that makes it that much more valuable, and special and memorable, all of those things.” 

You can still score tickets, ranging from $144 to $225, via — and yes, there are even tickets available for Christmas night. The show is held at New York City’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

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