London, Williams, Bayardelle, Fields Kick Off Color Purple Tour in Chicago April 17

News   London, Williams, Bayardelle, Fields Kick Off Color Purple Tour in Chicago April 17 LaToya London, Michelle Williams, Jeannette Bayardelle and Felicia P. Fields kick off the first national tour of The Color Purple April 17 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Michelle Williams and LaToya London star in The Color Purple.
Michelle Williams and LaToya London star in The Color Purple.

The Chicago run currently has tickets on sale through July 22, but there is no word yet on the final end date. The run is the first stop on a national tour that will take the show to numerous cities across the country, including Los Angeles (planned for Dec. 27, 2007-March 2, 2008), Cleveland (March 25-April 13, 2008), Cincinnati (April 14-27), Baltimore (April 29-May 25) and Philadelphia (June 17-July 13, 2008).

London, who plays the role of Nettie, competed on "American Idol" against Fantasia Barrino, who won the competition and currently stars as Celie in the Broadway company of The Color Purple.

Williams, who plays Shug Avery, starred in the title role in Aida on Broadway. Williams, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland made up the trio Destiny's Child, which sold over 40 million albums.

Bayardelle plays the lead role of Celie, which she recently played on Broadway. Fields, who received a Tony nomination for playing the feisty Sofia, reprises her role on tour. As luck would have it, Bayardelle, Williams and Fields are Chicago natives.

The touring cast also includes Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Mister; Stu James as Harpo; Stephanie St. James as Squeak; Lynette Dupree, Kimberly Ann Harris and Virginia Ann Woodruff as the Church Ladies; Bridgette Bentley as the Church Soloist; and Adam Wade as Ol’ Mister. Also in the cast are Shani Borden, Brian H. Brooks, Renee Monique Brown, Tiffany Daniels, Quentin Earl Darrington, Kellen Davis, Lesley Terrell Donald, Andre Garner, Dameka Hayes, LaTonya Holmes, Jenna Ford Jackson, Trent Armand Kendall, Grasan Kingsberry, Keith Byron Kirk, Rhett George, Corrine McFarlane, Sumayah McRae, Anthony Wayne and Mariama Whyte.

Based on the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg film, The Color Purple features a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother). Gary Griffin directed on Broadway and will also direct the tour.

The musical's main producer is Oprah Winfrey, who received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in the film version.

The Broadway production of The Color Purple began previews on Nov. 1, 2005, at the Broadway Theatre and officially opened Dec. 1, 2005. The show was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. LaChanze, who originated the lead role of Celie, earned the show's one Tony win, for Best Actress in a Musical.

The design team for both the Broadway show and the tour is John Lee Beatty (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Jon Weston (sound).

The tour is produced by Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci and Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes and Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson, in special association with AEG Live.

The Cadillac Palace Theatre is located in Chicago at 151 West Randolph Street. For tickets to the Chicago run, call Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1400, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or visit the Broadway In Chicago box offices (at 151 West Randolph Street, 24 West Randolph Street and 18 West Monroe Street) or another Ticketmaster ticket center. For groups of 20 or more, call (312) 977-1710.

For more information on the show, visit www.colorpurple.com.