In 1997 Heather won the role of Nala in the original Broadway cast of the Elton John and Tim Rice's hit Tony Award-winning musical The Lion King. While still in The Lion King, Heather was asked to audition for the title role in the writing duo's next Broadway venture together, Aida. Her portrayal of the Nubian princess, Aida, won her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In 2012 Heather made a triumphant return to the stage, starring in The Bodyguard in London's West End, and in 2016 she made her return to Broadway, starring in the Tony Award winning production of The Color Purple as Shug Avery.
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