The Color Purple Musical Readies for Broadway with Summer Workshop

News   The Color Purple Musical Readies for Broadway with Summer Workshop The musical adaptation of The Color Purple is winding up a summer workshop with its star La Chanze before its upcoming Broadway run this season.

Production spokespersons previously confirmed (May 3) to Playbill.com what a casting notice revealed — a June 13-July 12 workshop was being held in New York City with a projected production on Broadway this fall.

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 is readying its New York debut. With a number of theatres now becoming available, an announcement regarding dates is expected shortly.

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."

For the Atlanta run, La Chanze starred as Celie in a cast that also features Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Saycon Sengbloh as Nettie, Adriane Lenox as Shug and Kingsley Leggs as Mister. No New York casting has been announced.

In Atlanta, 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 production notes. LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island, Ragtime and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin. She recently starred 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.

Donald Byrd, head of Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theater, has replaced Avenue Q hoofer Ken Roberson as the choreographer for the Broadway-bound musical. Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) serves as musical director.

The Color Purple design team in Atlanta featured John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).

The novel by Walker was adapted for the screen in 1985 under the direction of Steven Spielberg. The movie version starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Oprah Winfrey as Sofia and Danny Glover as Albert.