Expecting Color Purple Star to Leave Broadway Musical After Opening

News   Expecting Color Purple Star to Leave Broadway Musical After Opening Renée Elise Goldsberry — who is slated to appear in the upcoming musical The Color Purple — will leave the production shortly after its Dec. 1 opening due to her pregnancy.

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A production spokesperson confirmed the actress' departure from the production, but could not give an exact date. No word on a replacement has yet been annnounced. Goldsberry will perform the role of Nettie for the Broadway run, Saycon Sengbloh originally played the sister of Celie for the world premiere Atlanta run.

Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the Steven Spielberg film of the same name, the new musical begins previews at the Broadway Theatre Nov. 1 toward an official opening Dec. 1.

Goldsberry — who made her Broadway debut in The Lion King as Nala — curently stars on on ABC soap "One Life to Live" as Evangeline Williamson. Other credits include Dreamgirls, Paper Moon, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on stage, "All About You," "Final Breakdown" in film and appearances on TV"s "Ally McBeal," "Enterprise," "Providence."

Gary Griffin stages The Color Purple featuring a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother). Music is by pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The Color Purple is "an inspiring family saga that tells the unforgettable story of a woman, who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world," as a release states. The show's score blends "gospel, jazz, ragtime and the blues." Presenting producer Oprah Winfrey appeared as Sofia in the 1985 Spielberg film version opposite Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and Danny Glover as Albert. Walker adapted her novel for the screen.

Winfrey, the sole above-the-title producer, joins The Color Purple Broadway team which includes Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson.

Surnameless star LaChanze (Once on This Island, Ragtime, Company) reprises her turn as the story's central character Celie from the world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in fall 2004. Broadway newcomer Elisabeth Withers appears as Shug with Renée Elise Goldsberry (The Lion King) featured as Nettie, joining original Atlanta stars Felicia P. Fields as Sofia and Kingsley Leggs as Mister.

The cast also features Brandon Victor Dixon as Harpo, Krisha Marcano as Squeak and includes Jeannette Bayardelle, James Brown III, Eric L. Christian, Latrisa Coleman, Bobby Daye, Carol Dennis, Anika Ellis, Doug Eskew, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Zipporah Gatling, Charles Gray, Stephanie Guiland-Brown, James Harkness, Francesca Harper, Kimberly Ann Harris, Chantylla Johnson, Grasan Kingsberry, Corinne McFarlane, Kenita R. Miller, JC Montgomery, Lou Myers, Angela Robinson, Nathaniel Stampley, Jamal Story, Leon Thomas III, Maia Nkenge Wilson and Virginia Woodruff.

Donald Byrd choreographs for the musical. Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick, Kevin Stites is music supervisor and Linda Twine serves as musical director. The Color Purple design team features John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).

Tickets for The Color Purple are currently on sale through (212) 239-6200, at the Broadway Theatre Box Office, at 1681 Broadway, or via the link below.

For more information and exclusive clips of songs provided by Playbill.com, visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.

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