Alice Walker Novel Sings as The Color Purple Musical Starts World Premiere, Sept. 9

News   Alice Walker Novel Sings as The Color Purple Musical Starts World Premiere, Sept. 9
LaChanze stars in the world premiere musical adaptation of The Color Purple as the Broadway-bound show begins at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta Sept. 9.

The new musical based on the well-known Alice Walker novel (which inspired the better-known film) will open Sept. 17 for a run at the Georgia stage through Oct. 17 before a fall 2005 berth on Broadway.

La Chanze stars as Celie in the show which also features Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Saycon Sengbloh as Nettie, Adriane Lenox as Shug and Kingsley Leggs as Mister.

Chicago director Gary Griffin stages 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 will blend "dance with the sounds and rhythms of blues, gospel, jazz, swing, rural roots and African music," according to a release.

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."

The cast includes Barry Anbinder, Philip Michael Baskerville, Khadijah Davis, Brandon Victor Dixon, Anika Ellis , Shannon Eubanks, James Harkness, Kimberly Harris, Krisha A. Marcano, Tatiana McConnico, Don Mayo, JC Montgomery, Darell Grande Moultrie, Desi Raines, Stacey Sargeant, Debra M. Walton, Marah Elizabeth Williams, Kenny Redell Williams, Maia Nkenge Wilson, Virginia Ann Woodruff, B.J. Myers, Romie Williams. LaChanze is a veteran of such musicals as Once on This Island and Ragtime. The actress, who appeared in a recent Manhattan reading of the work with Jesse L. Martin and Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose (Caroline, or Change), has also been seen on the stage in The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and The Vagina Monologues.

Chicago actress Fields has performed in Once on This Island , Ain't Misbehavin', Showboat, Carousel, Big River, Dreamgirls , The Rose Tattoo and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Recent Aida standby Sengbloh has performed in the national tours of Aida and Rent as well as regionally in Jar the Floor, Dinah Was and Chess. Lenox, who was the standby for the title role of the Broadway run of Caroline, or Change, appeared Off-Broadway as The Moon in the show. Her other Broadway credits include Kiss Me, Kate, Ain't Misbehavin', Dreamgirls and How to Succeed... Recent It Ain't Nothing But The Blues (Seattle Rep) star Leggs has also appeared in Almost Heaven: Songs and Stories of John Denver (Denver Center), Ragtime and Dreamgirls (both earning him Los Angeles Ovation nominations).

Ken Roberson (Avenue Q) choreographs and Linda Twine (Caroline, or Change) serves as musical director. The Color Purple design team features John Lee Beatty (scenic), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Paul Tazewell (costume) and Jon Weston (sound).

The world premiere of the new musical will be produced by Alliance Theatre by special arrangement with Creative Battery and Scott Sanders Productions.

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.

Tickets to The Color Purple at the Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA are available by calling (404) 733-5000. For more information, visit them on the web at

Promotional art for <i>The Color Purple</i>
Promotional art for The Color Purple
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