Khan, Love and Winans Make Broadway Debuts in The Color Purple Jan. 9

By Adam Hetrick
January 9, 2008

Grammy Award-winning vocalists Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans join the New York company of The Color Purple at the Broadway Theatre Jan. 9.



Khan and Winans step into the roles of, respectively, Sofia and Harpo in the musical with a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray and a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman.

Jan. 9 also marks the first performance of newcomer Zonya Love as the beleaguered Celie who learns to love herself and others. Love is also making her Broadway debut, assuming the central role recently vacated by "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino.

Ensemble member Montego Glover officially takes over the role of Nettie Jan. 9 as well.

Matinees of The Color Purple will now feature "American Idol" finalist Lakisha Jones in the role of Sofia. Jones currently performs the role of the Church Soloist.

Khan, an eight-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist, began her career with the funk and pop band Rufus, prior to endeavoring on her own. Her string of hits during her 35-year career include "Tell Me Something Good," "Sweet Thing," "Once You Get Started," "Everlasting Love," "Do You Love What You Feel," "Ain't Nobody," "I'm Every Woman," "I Feel For You," "Through The Fire," "Clouds", "I'll Be Good To You" and "Whatcha Gonna Do for Me." Khan's previous stage credits include the 1995 London production of Mama, I Want to Sing. Khan recently released her Grammy-nominated album, "Funk This."

Winans, a gospel and R&B singer, has earned four Grammy Awards. Performing with his sister CeCe, the duo released the platinum-selling albums "Heaven" and "I'm Lost Without You," as well as the hits "Addictive Love" and "I'll Take You There." Winans made his film debut in the 2003 remake of "The Manchurian Candidate."

Zonya Love was teaching theatre and Head Start classes in New York when she got a callback for a role in The Color Purple. The singing actress has appeared in regional productions of Intimate Apparel; Wit; You're a Good Man Charlie Brown; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Children of Eden; The Boys Next Door; Kiss Me, Kate; and Smokey Joe's Café.

Based on the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg film, the Broadway production of The Color Purple began previews Nov. 1, 2005, at the Broadway Theatre and officially opened Dec. 1, 2005.

The design team comprises John Lee Beatty (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Jon Weston (sound).

The Color Purple's lead producer is Scott Sanders; the presenting producer is Oprah Winfrey, who received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in the film version.

The rest of the Broadway producing team includes Quincy Jones, Roy Furman, 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.

For tickets call (212) 239-6200, visit the Broadway Theatre box office at 1681 Broadway or visit the website at www.colorpurple.com.