Jennifer Hudson leads 'Color Purple' cast members in Prince tribute

Story highlights

  • The Broadway cast sang a rousing rendition of "Purple Rain"
  • Jennifer Hudson spoke of her friendship with Prince

(CNN)The cast of the Broadway musical "The Color Purple" honored Prince in the best way possible on Thursday.

They sang their faces off.
    Led by Prince's friend Jennifer Hudson, the cast brought the house down with a rousing rendition of his hit "Purple Rain."
    "I did not expect to have to speak tonight, but God has his way," said Hudson, who plays Shug Avery in the musical. "As we all know, today we lost a legend. Jesus, we lost a legend who was a good friend of mine, Prince, who was dear to all of us."
    Hudson said Prince had invited her to one his events and insisted that she bring her cast members along. "We were honored to be in his presence one last time and we got to have that moment," she said.
    "He said his music will live on and he will live through his music, so we want to keep him alive today with this song," Hudson added before the show's star, Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie, kicked off the performance.
    In 2012, Hudson honored Whitney Houston at the 54th Grammy Awards by singing "I Will Always Love You" the day after Houston's death.
    The cast of Hamilton also remembered Prince with an exuberant, dance party performance of "Let's Go Crazy."