Broadway Theatre, (12/01/2005 - 2/24/2008)

First Preview: Nov 01, 2005
Opening Date: Dec 01, 2005
Closing Date: Feb 24, 2008
Total Previews: 30
Total Performances: 910

Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Philip J. Smith: President; Robert E. Wankel: Executive Vice President)

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci, Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, David Lowy, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes, Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson

World Premiere Produced by The Alliance Theatre Company

Book by Marsha Norman; Lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; Music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; Musical Director: Linda Twine; Based on the novel by Alice Walker; Music orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick; Dance arrangements by Daryl Waters; Based on the motion picture by Warner Brothers and Amblin Entertainment Inc.; Incidental Music Arrangements: Kevin Stites; Additional Arrangements: Joseph Joubert

Directed by Gary Griffin; Choreographed by Donald Byrd; Associate Director: Nona Lloyd

Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty; Lighting Design by Brian MacDevitt; Costume Design by Paul Tazewell; Sound Design by Jon Weston; Hair Design by Charles G. LaPointe; Associate Scenic Design: Eric Renschler; Associate Costume Design: Michael McAleer; Associate Lighting Design: Mark T. Simpson and Jennifer Schriever; Associate Sound Design: Jason Strangfeld; Make-Up Design by Angelina Avallone

General Manager: Nina Lannan & Associates and Amy Beth Jacobs; Company Manager: Kimberly Kelley

Production Manager: Arthur Siccardi and Patrick Sullivan; Production Stage Manager: Kristen Harris; Stage Manager: Glynn David Turner

Musical Supervisor: Kevin Stites; Conducted by Linda Twine; Associate Conductor: Joseph Joubert; Trumpets: Barry Danielian, Brian O'Flaherty and Kamau Adilifu; Trombones: Larry Farrell and Jason Jackson; Woodwinds: Les Scott, Lawrence Feldman and Jay Brandford; Keyboards: Joseph Joubert and Shelton Becton; Drums/Percussion: Buddy Williams and Damien Bassman; Guitar: Steve Bargonetti; Bass: Ben Brown; Violins: Paul Woodiel and Mineko Yajima; Viola: David Creswell; Cello: Clay C. Ruede; Music Contractor: Seymour "Red" Press; Synthesizer Programmer: Bruce Samuels

Casting: Bernard Telsey Casting, Inc.; Press Representative: Carol R. Fineman and Barlow-Hartman Public Relations; Marketing: TMG - The Marketing Group; Dance Captain: Stephanie Guiland-Brown; Fight direction by J. Steven White; Fight Captain: James Brown III; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Joan Marcus and Paul Kolnik; Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht

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Opening Night Cast

LaChanzeCelie
(Nov 01, 2005 - Nov 05, 2006)
Brandon Victor DixonHarpo
Felicia P. FieldsSofia
Renée Elise GoldsberryNettie
Kingsley LeggsMister
(Nov 01, 2005 - Nov 05, 2006)
Krisha MarcanoSqueak
Elisabeth Withers-Mendes
Broadway Debut
Shug Avery
(Nov 01, 2005 - Jan 31, 2008)
James Brown IIIBobby
Ensemble
LaTrisa A. ColemanEnsemble
Carol DennisChurch Soloist
Ensemble
Anika EllisEnsemble
Doug EskewPreacher
Ensemble
Zipporah G. GatlingYoung Celie
Ensemble
Mister Daughter
Young Olivia
Henrietta
Charles GrayEnsemble
James HarknessEnsemble
Francesca HarperEnsemble
Kimberly Ann Harris
Broadway Debut
Church Lady / Doris
Ensemble
Chantylla Johnson
Broadway Debut
Young Nettie
Ensemble
Mister Daughter
Chief's Daughter
Grasan KingsberryOlder Adam
Ensemble
J. C. MontgomeryPa
Grady
Ensemble
Lou MyersOl' Mister
(Nov 01, 2005 - Nov 05, 2006)
Ensemble
Angela RobinsonEnsemble
Bahiyah Sayyed GainesOlder Olivia
Ensemble
Nathaniel StampleyBuster
Ensemble
Chief
Jamal Story
Broadway Debut
Ensemble
Leon G. Thomas IIIYoung Harpo
Ensemble
Young Adam
Maia Nkenge WilsonChurch Lady / Jarene
Ensemble
Daisy
Virginia Ann WoodruffChurch Lady / Darlene
Ensemble

Swings: Jeannette I. Bayardelle, Eric L. Christian, Bobby Daye, Stephanie Guiland-Brown and Corinne McFarlane

Understudies: Jeannette I. Bayardelle (Celie, Nettie), James Brown III (Harpo), Carol Dennis (Sofia), Anika Ellis (Shug Avery), Charles Gray (Mister), Francesca Harper (Squeak), Kimberly Ann Harris (Sofia), Kenita R. Miller (Celie, Nettie), J. C. Montgomery (Mister), Angela Robinson (Shug Avery) and Nathaniel Stampley (Harpo)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2006 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci, Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, David Lowy, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes, Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson

 2006 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Marsha Norman

 2006 Best Original Score [nominee] 

Lyrics by Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray and Allee Willis; Music by Allee Willis, Brenda Russell and Stephen Bray

winner 2006 Best Actress in a Musical [winner] 

LaChanze

 2006 Best Featured Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Brandon Victor Dixon

 2006 Best Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Felicia P. Fields

 2006 Best Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Elisabeth Withers-Mendes

 2006 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Donald Byrd

 2006 Best Scenic Design of a Musical [nominee] 

John Lee Beatty

 2006 Best Costume Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Paul Tazewell

 2006 Best Lighting Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Brian MacDevitt

Theatre World

winner 2007 Award [recipient] 

Fantasia Barrino

winner 2006 Award [recipient] 

Felicia P. Fields

winner 2006 Award [recipient] 

Elisabeth Withers-Mendes

Songs

ACT 1 Sung By
Huckleberry Pie
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Young Celie and Young Nettie
Mysterious Ways
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Church Soloist, Church Ladies and Company
Somebody Gonna Love You
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Celie
Our Prayer
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Nettie, Celie and Mister
Big Dog
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Mister and Field Hands
Hell No!
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Sofia and Sisters
Brown Betty
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Harpo, Men and Squeak
Shug Avery Comin' to Town
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Mister, Celie and Company
Too Beautiful for Words
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Shug Avery
Push Da Button
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Shug Avery and Company
Uh-Oh!
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Church Ladies, Sofia and Squeak
What About Love?
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Celie and Shug Avery
ACT 2 Sung By
African Homeland
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Nettie, Celie, Olivia, Adam and Villagers
The Color Purple
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Shug Avery
Mister's Song
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Mister
Miss Celie's Pants
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Celie, Shug Avery, Sofia and Women
Any Little Thing
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Harpo and Sofia
I'm Here
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Celie
The Color Purple (Reprise)
(music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray )
Celie, Nettie and Company

Reviews


AP: "'Color Purple' Stays True to Book"

At the beginning of "The Color Purple," two young girls sit in a giant, gnarled tree that dominates the stage of the vast Broadway Theatre.

It's a sweet-tempered image of sisterhood that haunts this respectful, occasionally roof-raising musical adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of female empowerment.

The show, which opened Thursday, remains surprisingly faithful to Walker's story of triumph over adversity set in rural Georgia. It is sometimes too faithful, as its adapters attempt to cram a lot of plot into this careful stage version, meticulously directed by Gary Griffin.

Walker's heartfelt novel revels in its own idiosyncratic style, written as letters, many of them by its uneducated heroine, Celie. This stage version could use a little of the adventurousness of its literary predecessor.

In many ways, "The Color Purple" is an old-fashioned musical. For example, there is an honest-to-goodness overture, a rarity these days. And It has been lavishly produced, including some rustic homespun settings by design wizard John Lee Beatty and colorful period costumes by Paul Tazewell.

The musical primarily focuses on Celie's journey from abuse to independence and self-esteem, an arduous trek that takes some four decades. from 1909 to 1949.

One problem for the show is that Celie is a difficult character to turn into a musical-theater icon. For much of the evening, she is stoic, even passive, not the kind of person who would naturally burst into song. Those musical moments are left to the people - both men and women - who surround her.

It's to the credit of LaChanze, who portrays Walker's waiflike creation, that Celie holds her own with the other, more flamboyant characters. The actress has a warm, wide grin and a touching vulnerability that enables her to command attention despite a paucity of musical numbers.

Her big moment, in fact, is more dramatic than musical when she finally has the courage to tell off her violent, ill-tempered husband, played by Kingsley Leggs. Curiously, it's spoken, not sung.

Marsha Norman, author of "'night, Mother," adapted Walker's book for the stage. She preserves ail the novel's dramatic highlights, and because of that, "The Color Purple" becomes a showcase for its female performers, including a trio of small-town biddies. The three are a Southern-fried Greek chorus who cluck and pluck over Celie's tribulations and, what is more important, help to reinforce a plot that sometimes threatens to get out of control.

Among the large distaff supporting cast, the standout is the scene-stealing Felicia P. Fields as Sofia. It's the role played in the 1985 Steven Spielberg film version of the novel by Oprah Winfrey, now one of the show's Broadway producers.

Sofia is the antithesis of Celie. She's a woman who doesn't take guff from anyone, including her compliant husband, Harpo. Fields' big anthem -a ditty called "Hell No!" - musically jump-starts the show midway through the first act. Fields growls her way through the song with comic determination.

The musical doesn't shy away from its lesbian subplot, specifically Celie's attachment to the hedonistic Shug Avery. This blues singer strikes a chord with both women and men, including Celie's husband, and the sexy Elisabeth Withers-Mendes plays her with raunchy delight.

More problematic is the role of Nettie, Celie's beatific sibling, played by the lovely Renee Elise Goldsberry. She's a saintly creature - the woman goes off to Africa to become a missionary - and thus less interesting than the show's more earthy characters. When the musical switches to that exotic locale, the production slows down, stopped by a long tribal dance segment choreographed by Donald Byrd.

The men are left with less to do, even though Leggs, as the abusive husband, gets a musical moment of redemption. And Harpo (Brandon Victor Dixon) has to share his big comedy number, a randy song called "Any Little Thing," with the formidable Sofia.

The score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, is a melting pot of melodies and lyrics. Eclectic to the extreme, it ranges from the blues to gospel to soul and more traditional Broadway sounds. There's even one pop power ballad, "What About Love?" This number, sung in the show by LaChanze and Withers-Mendes, closes the first act, and is destined for major airplay.

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.


AP
12/01/2005

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Broadway Theatre

(12/1/2005 - 2/24/2008)
Company Manager: Tony Magner; Assistant Co. Mgr: Elizabeth M. Talmadge(Jan 3, 2008 - Feb 24, 2008).

Assistant Stage Mgr: Kelly Stillwell; Production Stage Manager: Lisa Dawn Cave(Dec 9, 2006 - May 27, 2007).

Press Assistant: Leslie Baden.

Cast

Fantasia Barrino
Broadway Debut
Celie (Apr 10, 2007 - Jan 6, 2008)
Jeannette I. Bayardelle
Celie (Nov 7, 2006 - Feb 18, 2007)
Shelby Braxton-Brooks
Broadway Debut
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Darlesia Cearcy
Nettie (Jan 17, 2006 - Jan 6, 2008)
Charlotte Crossley
Church Lady / Doris (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Gavin Gregory
Buster
Chief
Ensemble
Stephanie Guiland-Brown
Broadway Debut
Ensemble
Todrick D. Hall
Bobby
Ensemble
Rosena M. Hill
Church Lady / Darlene (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Chauncey Jenkins
Ensemble
LaKisha Jones
Church Soloist (Dec 19, 2007 - ?)
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday MatineesSofia Alternate
(Jan 9, 2008 - ?)
Chaka Khan
Sofia (Jan 9, 2008 - ?)
Zonya Love
Broadway Debut
Celie (Jan 9, 2008 - Feb 24, 2008)
Larry Marshall
Ol' Mister (Nov 7, 2006 - ?)
Kenya Unique Massey
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Marla McReynolds
Broadway Debut
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Kenita R. Miller
Celie (Feb 20, 2007 - Apr 8, 2007)
Jenny Mollet
Ensemble
Henrietta
Mister Daughter
Young Olivia
Angela Robinson
Shug Avery (Feb 1, 2008 - Feb 24, 2008)
Chaz Lamar Shepherd
Broadway Debut
Harpo (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Levensky Smith
Older Adam
Ensemble (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Ricky Smith
Broadway Debut
Young Adam
Young Harpo
Daniel J. Watts
Bobby (Mar 13, 2007 - Jun 10, 2007)
Ensemble (Mar 13, 2007 - Jun 10, 2007)
Alton Fitzgerald White
Mister (Nov 7, 2006 - ?)
NaTasha Yvette Williams
Broadway Debut
Sofia (circa. Mar 2007 - ?)
Be Be Winans
Harpo (Jan 9, 2008 - ?)



Understudies: Deidra H. Brooks Broadway Debut (Shug Avery), Darlesia Cearcy (Celie), Doug Eskew (Ol' Mister), Montego Glover Broadway Debut (Celie, Nettie), Gavin Gregory (Harpo), Todrick D. Hall (Harpo), Ashley Renee Jordan (Young Adam , Young Harpo), Jenny Mollet (Young Adam , Young Harpo), Saycon Sengbloh (Celie, Nettie).


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