Production spokespersons would not confirm any numbers, but the trade mag purports that the episode airing Nov. 11 — which previewed two musical numbers and Winfrey's surprise visit to the cast during rehearsals — catapulted sales in the days that followed. Variety now has the advance for the show (which is capitalized at $10 million) at $6 million.
Based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the Steven Spielberg film of the same name, the new musical began previews at the Broadway Theatre Nov. 1 toward an official opening Dec. 1.
Spanning over 40 years, 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."
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.
Oprah Winfrey, who appeared as Sofia in the 1985 Steven Spielberg film version opposite Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and Danny Glover as Albert, is the sole above the-title producer. The Color Purple's Broadway producing team also 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.
Tickets for The Color Purple are currently on sale through (212) 239-6200, via the link below or at the Broadway Theatre Box Office at 1681 Broadway. For more information, visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.