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Jennifer Hudson + ‘Color Purple’ Cast Honor Prince With ‘Purple Rain’ Cover

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The late Prince got an earth-shaking eulogy last night (April 21) thanks to Jennifer Hudson and the Broadway cast of The Color Purple. 

To honor the music icon, who died yesterday at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, Hudson and her fellow cast mates took “Purple Rain” and turned it into a soul-saturated superstorm worthy of a spot in Brenda Russell’s revered songbook.

“He said his music will live on, and he will live through his music,” Hudson introduces the 1984 classic in the clip above. “So we want to keep him alive today with a song — but I want y’all to help us out.”

It goes without saying: Help isn’t needed. Though Hudson has to reference lyrics once or twice on a card, the real power comes when she loses the paper, tears of a small jacket and belts powerfully enough to send shock waves through the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Hudson, who identified Prince as a “good friend,” began performing as Purple‘s Shug Avery, a singer who’s fallen on hard times, in the current Broadway revival in December 2015. Michelle Williams previously played the role during a 2007 United States tour.

Authorities responded to an emergency call yesterday morning before confirming Prince’s death. Just a week before, he was rushed to the hospital after his plane performed an emergency landing in Illinois. He was 57.

Watch The Color Purple‘s unforgettable cover above.

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