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The Color Purple

The Color Purple is playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre located at 242 West 45th Street.  It runs two hours and thirty minutes with one intermission.  It is an open ended run.

It is based on the book written by Alice Walker in 1982.  The book won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The book was adapted into a film in 1985.  It was directed by Stephen Spielberg and starred Whoopi Goldberg (Celie) Danny Glover (Albert) and Oprah Winfrey (Sofia).  The movie was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won none.

On February 1, 2005 the musical adaptation of the novel (based on the movie) premiered at the Broadway Theatre.  It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards in 2006 and won for Best Leading Actress “LaChanze”.  The show closed on February 24, 2008.

This show opened on December 10, 2015.  Danielle Brooks and Cynthia Erivo were nominated for the 2016 Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards.  Jennifer Hudson left the show on May 8, 2026.  Heather Headley took her place.

Danielle Brooks is known for her role as “Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in Netflix’s show Orange is the New Black.

Heather Headley won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Aida in 2000. Heather was nominated for an Olivier Award for the Body Guard in 2013.

John Doyle is the director.  He won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 2005 for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  John was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the revival of The Color Purple in 2016.

Ann Hould-Ward is the costume designer. She won a Tony Award for Beauty and the Beast in 1994.

Celie (Cynthia Erivo) is about due to have her second baby.  Her sister Nettie (Joaquina Kalukango) is reading a book.  She is going to school and loves it. When Celie has the baby her baby, Pa (Kevin Morrow) takes the baby away.  She has no idea what he has done with it.  He tells her she can’t take care of the baby she has too much work to do.  Her mother is dead.   Pa keeps telling her she is ugly.

Mister (Isaiah Johnson) comes looking for a wife. He is interested in Nettie and walks around with a whip in his hand.  Pa says no if you want a wife you have to take Celie. He’s reluctant but then says okay.  Mister is not good to her; he beats her and puts her down.  He tries to rape her sister.  Celie never see her sister again.  She doesn’t hear from her and doesn’t know if she has written her and Mister has kept the letters from her.

His son Grady (Kyle Scatliffe) girlfriend Sophia (Danielle Brooks) is pregnant. They marry and she is the boss of the family.  When Grady tells his dad she won’t let him get a word in, he tells him to beat her.  Sophia won’t take it and leaves.

Grady uses his home as a bar.  Mister’s old girlfriend Shug Avery (Heather Headley) shows ups and stays at his house.  She is a well-known singer. Shug agrees to sing at Grady’s place.

Celie and Shug Avery fall in love. Shug leaves but before she does she gives Celie letters from her sister she has found.

As the story goes on things comes to light about Celie, her sister and other character in the story.  Celie finds the courage to beat the demons that are bringing her down. 

As usual I’m not telling you what happens.

This is a touching story of courageous girl, then women who finally finds the strength to overcome her bad life. 

Cynthia Erivo is brilliant in both her acting and singing.  Oh can she sing.  WOW!

Danielle Brooks and Heather Headley both do a remarkable job.

Isaiah Johnson is so convincing as the evil husband.  I wanted to take the wipe out of his hand and hit him with it.

I never saw the original show but I am sure glad I got to see this one.

 This is a must see show.

Review by Rozanna Rdakovich

Photos by Annazor.

To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos. Click on recent photos for this and other shows.

 

 

 

 

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