The new musical based on the well-known Alice Walker novel (which inspired the better-known film) made its world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in fall 2004 and was expected to reach New York this fall.
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. The production warns that it "contains adult situations."
Chicago director Gary Griffin staged the work featuring a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother) based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Music is by pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The show blends "dance with the sounds and rhythms of blues, gospel, jazz, swing, rural roots and African music," according to a release.
LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island, Ragtime and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. She is currently starring in Lincoln Center Theater's production of the new Ahrens-Flaherty musical, Dessa Rose. The world premiere of The Color Purple was produced by Alliance Theatre by special arrangement with Creative Battery and Scott Sanders Productions.
Ken Roberson (Avenue Q) choreographed and Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) served as musical director. The Color Purple design team featured John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).