Chicago Helmer Gary Griffin To Direct Developing The Color Purple Musical

News   Chicago Helmer Gary Griffin To Direct Developing The Color Purple Musical
Chicago director Gary Griffin has joined the creative team for the developing new musical version of The Color Purple, the producing company Creative Battery confirmed.

Griffin, who is known for his unique restagings of classic plays and musicals, recently remounted his production of Pacific Overtures at London's Donmar Warehouse. Other works from the seven-time Jeff Award-winning director include Sunday in the Park with George, The Herbal Bed, Beautiful Thing (which transferred to New York's Cherry Lane Theatre) and The New Moon for Encores! He serves as associate artistic director for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and is currently helming his 75-minute A Midsummer Night's Dream for the company's Short Shakespeare production, July 16-Aug. 16.

"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." Those immortal words written by novelist Alice Walker will soon be bellowed on the Broadway stage — perhaps in song as The Color Purple musical is in the works.

Playwright-actress Regina Taylor is penning the new stagework. Taylor's Crowns played Off-Broadway last season and Drowning Crow, her adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull, is scheduled for Broadway this season. Other playwriting credits include Urban Zulu Mambo, Oo-Bla-Dee and The Ties That Bind. Also known as an actress, she has appeared in such plays as Machinal, A Map of the World and Jar the Floor,

The music will comprise the works of pop songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. Matthew Warchus (Life x 3, Follies) was previously reported as the director set to helm the production, which is aiming for a 2004 Broadway opening.

The tuner will be produced by Creative Battery, a new company founded by producer Scott Sanders. The team's first Broadway credit, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, garnered a Tony Award. The story of "The Color Purple" follows a teenager who gives birth to two of her father's children and then is married off to a man who sought her sister. The man convinces the sisters' father to separate the two and makes sure they never communicate by intercepting letters between them. Abused and alone, the heroine struggles to find her identity and love.

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

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