"As an actress who has performed in theater for over 17 years, my experience performing in The Color Purple has been a truly life-changing journey," LaChanze says of the musical. "While my first love will always be the theater, I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family and pursue opportunities in the TV, film and publishing worlds. The theater community will always remain a big part of my life and I hope to re-join the cast of The Color Purple at some point down the road."
According to a release, LaChanze has signed on to write two new children's books with Jean Fiewel at Fiewel & Friends which are slated to begin publishing in Fall 2008. The actress — who has been with the musical since its inception — will play out her contract which ends Nov. 5. No replacement has yet been named.
LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island and Ragtime. She has 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.
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."
Tickets for The Color Purple are 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.