An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie, an African-American woman living in the South who survives incredible abuse and bigotry.
It’s hard to imagine that 35 years has gone by since Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple” and Warner Brothers’ 1985 motion picture adaptation took the world by storm and captivated legions of people who were oblivious to the lives of people of color who not only had to deal with intolerable race-related conditions of the times but also had internal turmoil amongst their own families. The heart-wrenching story which focused on the lifelong journey of Celie (Adrianna Hicks) and the relationship with her beloved sister Nettie (N’Jameh Camara), and their reprehensible father Alphonso, brought to light a vivid picture of the transgressions that forever altered the lives of Celie, Harpo (J. Daughtry), Sophia (Carrie Compere), Shug Avery (Carla R. Stewart) and the seemingly unconscionable Mr. Albert Johnson (Gavin Gregory).
While Alphonso was busying raping and torturing Celie, as well as giving away the two children she bore as a result, her sister was adamant that she was going to live the life of her dreams far away from the purple-flowered fields of the South. When their father was propositioned by Mister to make Nettie his wife, Alphonso offered Celie’s hand in marriage and a cow instead. When he wasn’t able to abuse Nettie as he had done Celie, he banned her from the childhood home and cut off all communication with her sister. As the storyline progresses, several characters are introduced which include Harpo and his wife Sofia and the legendary singer, Shug Avery who the Mr. always had a soft spot for. Sofia, who had always been loud and outspoken, was ostracized from the local community and Harpo was consistently criticized for not being man enough to keep a good job and keep Sophia in her place. The tide finally begins to turn for Celie when Shug comes for a visit after being on tour. After a drunken season of introspection, she develops a deeply personal relationship with Celie and Shug become unlikely friends and secret lovers, both saving each other from the wrath of Albert’s unscrupulous ways. After doubting that God is in her favor, Celie’s struggle seems to make sense when Shug discovers that all Celie’s letters from Nettie have been blocked by Mr. and that she is alive and well and living in Africa with the family that Celie’s two children were given to. In the end, Celie’s redemption comes full circle as she is reunited with her sister and her children, is able to rescue Sophia, and begins to restructure her priorities while working through her life’s pain in order to find her true purpose.
The entire cast of this 2016 Broadway revival is outstanding in their highly emotional roles and their outstanding vocals make for an exciting night of true talent in its rarest form. Director and scene designer John Doyle has given his best in making this adaptation worthy of all its acclaim and its redeeming qualities are truly enjoyable for all ages. Kudos as well to Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray, and Marsha Normal for bringing quality, value and sheer joy to the stage.
Now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park January 23 – February 4