The Color Purple

  • Date:
    December 1, 2005

    Music & Lyrics by: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.
    Book by: Adapted by Marsha Norman from Alice Walker's novel.
    Directed by: Gary Griffin
    Cast: LaChanze (Celie), Elisabeth Withers (Shug), Felicia P.Fields (Sofia), Ren�e Elise Goldsberry (Nettie), Kingsley Leggs (Mister), Brandon Victor Dixon (Harpo), Krisha Marcano (Squeak), Jeannette Bayardelle, James Brown III, Eric L. Christian, Latrisa Coleman, Bobby Daye, Carol Dennis, Anika Ellis, Doug Eskew, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Zipporah Gatling, Charles Gray, Stephanie Guiland-Brown, James Harkness, Francesca Harper, Kimberly Ann Harris, Chantylla Johnson, Grasan Kingsberry, Corinne McFarlane, Kenita R. Miller, JC Montgomery, Lou Myers, Angela Robinson, Nathaniel Stampley, Jamal Story, Leon Thomas III, Maia Nkenge Wilson and Virginia Woodruff.
    Synopsis: Family saga that tells the story of a woman, who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world.

    What the critics had to say.....

    BEN BRANTLEY of the NEW YORK TIMES says �TIME doesn't just fly in the exhaustingly eventful world of "The Color Purple, it threatens to break the sound barrier. In faithfully adapting Ms. Walker's incident-crammed 1982 Pulitzer Prizewinner about Southern black women finding their inner warriors, the show's creators have fashioned a bright, shiny and muscular storytelling machine that is above all built for speed. Watching this beat-the-clock production summons the frustrations of riding through a picturesque stretch of country in a supertrain like the TGV. Thanks to the cast's spirited way with a song, "Purple" strikes some sparks during its long and winding journey. But it takes a concentration and leisure the show lacks to fan sparks into a steady flame.�
    CLIVE BARNES of THE NEW YORK POST says "Certainly, throughout the first act, it seems Oprah's abiding faith (and that of her many co-producers) might prove justified � until the second act slowly subsides into a mess of molasses. Even then, the performances, particularly the singing, continue to pile up points. Much of it is also bleak in tone, if spunkily pink in sentiment."
    ELYSA GARDNER of the USA TODAY says "Purple is not as complex or transcendent as, say, Carousel, or Caroline for that matter. Still, it's often moving and well-served by a cast that ably sings soul, jazz, gospel and blues."
    MICHAEL FEINGOLD of THE VILLAGE VOICE says "The feelings that The Color Purple may arouse in you don't disguise the fact that they've been gotten in a comparatively crude and unimaginative manner. The disheartening lack of quality in the material dilutes the quality of feeling with which it's being put over and makes the meanings behind it look questionable as well."
    MICHAEL SOMMERS of STAR-LEDGER says "Ultimately more dutiful than truly dynamic as a serious Broadway musical, "The Color Purple" fails to click over into that higher artistic power that separates a hit from a near miss. "
    ROMA TORRE of NY1 says "As art, the show is flawed, but it's also so full of heart, the flaws don't seem to matter. �The Color Purple� sings to the soul."
    MICHAEL KUCHWARA of ASSOCIATED PRESS says "Fans of Walker's novel most likely will not be disappointed in this reverent stage retelling and will embrace it heartily as a live souvenir of the original. Others may crave a little more theatrical excitement."
    FRANK SCHECK of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER says "Emerging as a musical in far better form than might have been expected, "The Color Purple" entertains even while not fully overcoming the problems inherent in translating its sprawling story to the stage. The undeniably audience-pleasing show, while a long shot to reach major hit status, should have a decent Broadway run, thanks in no small part to Oprah Winfrey's presence as one of its producers."

    External links to full reviews from newspapers

    New York Times
    New York Post
    USA Today
    Village Voice
    Associated Press
    Hollywood Reporter