The TV titan earned an Oscar nomination for her acting debut in the 1985 movie version and she serves as a producer of the new stage musical, which will star Jennifer Hudson.

Winfrey made an unannounced appearance last month (Oct15) as she stopped by to meet the cast and her presence left some actors fighting back tears.

"She walked in when they were in the middle of singing," a source tells the New York Post's Page Six column. "She finished the song with them. People were actually crying."

Winfrey further stunned the group the following day by reportedly sending them some Champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks will play the part of Miss Sofia, the role Winfrey tackled in the Steven Spielberg adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

The Color Purple musical begins previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on 10 November (15), ahead of a 3 December (15) opening.