Backstage on Broadway: Tony winner, Heather Headley, talks about Oprah, being a mom, and ‘The Color Purple’

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Grammy and Tony winner, Heather Headley replaced Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple.
And without missing a beat,  she took over the role of a lifetime. In tonight’s Backstage on Broadway, we talk with the actress about heading back to the stage and how this powerful show is a game changer.

Heather Headley took home the Yony for Aida in 2000.

"In that time, I did four albums and did a lot of touring," she remembered. "I got married and I had two little amazing boys, so for me it’s all been kind of consolidated to like two years."

It’s been a littler longer that, but now, she's back on Broadway and better than ever, in The Color Purple.

"I came in with my husband, a man who is not a theater man, a man who is a former athlete and I remember looking across at him at intermission and he was just wet in the eyes," she said.

"By the end of the show he was crying, I remember thinking I'm in a little bit of trouble now."

Oprah is one of the producers and was there for Headley's opening night.

"She has been very kind, she sends me notes that said some very encouraging and sweet things," Headley described. "When we were in Aida together just having that support of Elton John have your back and now to be in this show with these women and have your defense be Oprah, you’re sitting pretty."

She  stepped into the role of “Shug Avery”, replacing Jennifer Hudson.

"Shug is different than anyone I have ever played," she Headley said. "I haven’t sung with many women because that is not the kind of parts that I’ve had."

Also something else this actress hasn’t experienced,  having her kids backstage.

"It's different now being a mommy, they come to the theater, my eldest son has a room at the theater that he thinks is his dressing room," she smiled.

And, the audience response has been overwhelming.

"We had it in the Lion King, we had it in Aida and I love watching audiences moved and changed and leaving crying," Headley said. "I want you to wake up and wonder why your eyes are still hurting, I want it to awake something in you and change you. I'm being changed by it, and I want them to be changed as well."

Headley was the original Nala in the Lion King.

The Color Purple is playing at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.