Celebrity Jennifer Hudson: 'The Color Purple' 'Holds a Special Place in My Heart' (VIDEO) Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks star in the new Broadway production By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis Sheila Cosgrove Baylis Sheila Baylis is an Editor for PEOPLE's Health vertical; she contributes to print features and directs the digital Health team on stories ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to body image and women's health. She has a Master's Degree in Gender Studies. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 24, 2015 10:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Matthew Murphy Jennifer Hudson is making her Broadway debut in The Color Purple and says the story is especially meaningful for her. “I’ve read the book, I’ve seen the film and I loved the original production on Broadway!” Hudson tells PEOPLE and EW exclusively. Hudson, 33, who plays Shug Avery, says Alice Walker’s story is “a timeless piece of American culture. The story holds a special place in my heart because, in part, it’s so honest. All of the characters are true to who they are. Each individual is an integral part of the message and it brings a complex emotion that sticks with the audience.” Hudson has said she is "very nervous" about taking the Broadway stage for the first time, but says she has a strategy for dealing with the anxiety. “I try to feel the butterflies before any big performance as much as I can,” the actress says. “That sensation makes me feel alive and it keeps me on my toes. For me, nerves have always been a good thing, they make the experience exciting.” The new show, directed by John Doyle, is a stripped-down production with a minimal set, allowing the actors and the music to be the primary focus. “John is a brilliant director and interpreter. He has an incredible talent for shifting the focus to the emotion of the story. I think that is what’s most exciting about working with him,” Hudson says. The new production also features Orange Is the New Black‘s Danielle Brooks as Sofia. In this exclusive music video (above), Hudson and costar Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie, sing the title song, “The Color Purple.” The clip features the pair in the recording studio, as well as clips from the new production. Previews for the The Color Purple revival begin Nov. 10 and opening night is set for Dec. 10 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.