In the original 1981 production of "Dreamgirls," Jennifer Holliday sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" -- the ultimate anathema for stamina and survival.
Yet since her career-making turn in the series, Holliday has been mostly absent from Broadway. She's appeared only in featured roles and limited runs, as the Teen Angel in 1994's "Grease" and Matron "Mama" Morton (in 2001) in the long-running revival of "Chicago."
It's been over 15 years since Holliday last held a role in a Broadway production. But all of that will change on Oct. 4, when the Tony winner will take on the role of Shug Avery in the acclaimed revival of "The Color Purple."
Holliday will take over the role from Heather Headley, who will depart the production Oct. 2. Headley had replaced Jennifer Hudson who originated Shug Avery in the revival. Hudson -- in a bit of irony -- won an Oscar for taking on Holliday's role of Effie White in the film version of "Dreamgirls."
"I was deeply moved by this truly uplifting production of 'The Color Purple' and I am highly honored and absolutely thrilled to be joining this extraordinary cast," said Holliday. "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."
"The Color Purple" -- now playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre -- stars Tony winner Cynthia Erivo at Celie, a woman who overcomes unimaginable tragedies on her journey to self-worth. The musical, direct by John Doyle, is an adaptation of Alice Walker's 1982 novel and subsequent 1985 film.
For tickets and more information, visit colorpurple.com.