The Color Purple Star to Miss Performance on Eve of Opening Night

News   The Color Purple Star to Miss Performance on Eve of Opening Night
 
LaChanze will not appear in The Color Purple Nov. 30, on the eve of the new musical's Broadway opening, due to illness, Playbill.com has learned.

Understudy Kenita Miller will replace the actress for the evening's performance according to production spokespersons. The surnameless star is expected to return for the musical's Dec. 1 debut.

Gary Griffin directs The Color Purple which began previews Nov. 1 at the Broadway Theatre. The work features a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman ('night, Mother) and music by pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

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."

LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island and Ragtime. She recently appeared in Off-Broadway's Dessa Rose opposite her "Lucy" CBS TV movie co-star Rachel York. Other stage credits include The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and The Vagina Monologues.

The actress 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. 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 presenting producer. The Color Purple's Broadway production 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.

Angel Records will release the upcoming cast album for the new Broadway musical The Color Purple Jan. 24. The CD will feature a bonus version of the song "What About Love?" as sung by Patti LaBelle and Jill Scott.

Tickets for The Color Purple are currently on sale through (212) 239-6200 or at the Broadway Theatre Box Office, at 1681 Broadway. For more information, visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.

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