We all love The Color Purple, right? Be it Alice Walker's 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel or the 1985 Oscar nominated film, it's a story that touches our heart and make us think long and hard about the concepts of self-discovery, forgiveness and love.
In 2005, the show was adapted into a musical, with Oprah Winfrey, the film's star, as a lead producer. Following a few bloated national tours, the show, which features a solid book and an epic score, has been scaled down to fit the Mercury Theater's intimate space. And the result is simply thriling.
A fiercely committed cast bring this galvanizing and gut-wrenching story to life. As Celie (the role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1985 film — or, one could argue, the role that made Whoopi famous), Trisha Jeffrey brings great vulnerability and grit, as well as a piercing cry of a singing voice. Adrienne Walker makes for a sassy yet sincere Shug Avery, who helps Celie come out of her shell in more ways than one. As the proud and defiant Sofia, Celie’s sister-in-law, Jasondra Johnson has the powerhouse voice and the presence that makes you sit up and take notice. But the real stars here are the church lady greek chorus (Sydney Charles, Carrie Louise Abernathy and Brittany L. Bradshaw) who serve up tight vocal harmony (deft musical direction by Eugene Dizon) and attitude for days.
On opening night, the audience was on its feet the moment the curtain call started -- and rightly so. This is a do-not-miss production, playing through October 27 at Mercury Theater. More info here>
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