"La Chanze will be Celie," choreographer Ken Roberson (Avenue Q) revealed to Playbill On-Line. Other casting is still ongoing according to the hoofer who mentioned the show is preparing for a June reading in New York before its Atlanta debut.
"It's going to be a difficult show," said Roberson about the challenge of the work's weighty story, "but the music is just beautiful."
The world premiere of the new musical will be produced by and at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, (September 9-October 17 prior to its Broadway berth) by special arrangement with Creative Battery and Scott Sanders Productions.
LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island and Ragtime. The actress, who appeared in a recent NYC reading of the work with Jesse L. Martin and Anika Noni Rose, has also been seen on the stage in The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and The Vagina Monologues.
Chicago director Gary Griffin stages the work featuring a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman ('Night Mother) based on the Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Music is by pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The show will blend "dance with the sounds and rhythms of blues, gospel, jazz, swing, rural roots and African music," according to a release. Ken Roberson (Avenue Q) choreographs and Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) serves as musical director.
The story of "The Color Purple" centers on Celie, a teenager who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love. Walker's characters convey a tale of hope, inspiration and personal triumph.
Tickets to The Color Purple at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA will be available by subscription only in March. For more information, call (404) 733-4600. Visit them on the web at www.alliancetheatre.org.