Color Purple to Play Broadway Theatre; Previews Begin in October

News   Color Purple to Play Broadway Theatre; Previews Begin in October Now that The Mambo Kings has canceled its New York engagement at the Broadway Theatre, that theatre will be used to house the upcoming new musical The Color Purple.

La Chanze in the Alliance Theatre production of The Color Purple
La Chanze in the Alliance Theatre production of The Color Purple

The musical, based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the Steven Spielberg film of the same name, will begin previews at the Broadway Theatre Oct. 25. The official opening is scheduled for Dec. 1.

The new musical made its world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in fall 2004. The Color Purple centers on Celie, a woman who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love.

For the Atlanta run, La Chanze starred as Celie in a cast that also featured Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Saycon Sengbloh as Nettie, Adriane Lenox as Shug and Kingsley Leggs as Mister. No New York casting has been announced.

In Atlanta, Chicago director Gary Griffin staged the work featuring a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother). Music is by pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The show blends "dance with the sounds and rhythms of blues, gospel, jazz, swing, rural roots and African music," according to production notes.

Donald Byrd, head of Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theater, was choreographer for the Broadway-bound musical. Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) served as musical director. The Color Purple design team in Atlanta featured John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).

The novel by Walker was adapted for the screen in 1985 under the direction of Steven Spielberg. The movie version starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Oprah Winfrey as Sofia and Danny Glover as Albert.

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