As first reported by Playbill On-Line, La Chanze will star as Celie in the show, which is set for a Sept. 9-Oct. 17 world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta before a fall 2005 berth on Broadway.
Chicago director Gary Griffin stages the work, featuring a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother) based on the Alice Walker 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.
The story of "The Color Purple" centers on Celie, a woman who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love.
Chicago actress Fields has performed in Once on This Island , Ain't Misbehavin', Showboat, Carousel, Big River, Dreamgirls , The Rose Tattoo and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Current Aida standby Sengbloh has performed in the national tours of Aida and Rent as well as regionally in Jar the Floor, Dinah Was and Chess. Current Caroline, or Change title standby Lenox appeared Off-Broadway as The Moon in the show. Her other Broadway credits include Kiss Me, Kate, Ain't Misbehavin', Dreamgirls and How to Succeed... Recent It Ain't Nothing But The Blues (Seattle Rep) star Leggs has also appeared in Almost Heaven: Songs and Stories of John Denver (Denver Center), Ragtime and Dreamgirls (both earning him Los Angeles Ovation nominations). LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island and Ragtime. The actress, who appeared in a recent Manhattan reading of the work with Jesse L. Martin and Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change), has also been seen on the stage in The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and The Vagina Monologues. She will star in a cast of 24, backed by 12 musicians, confirmed a production spokesperson.
Ken Roberson (Avenue Q) choreographs and Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) serves as musical director. The Color Purple design team features John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).
The world premiere of the new musical will be produced by Alliance Theatre by special arrangement with Creative Battery and Scott Sanders Productions.
Tickets to The Color Purple at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA are currently available by subscription and group sales only. For more information, call (404) 733 4600. Visit them on the web at www.alliancetheatre.org.