The Color Purple: Musical Review

Alexis Nomorosa

“The Color Purple” was revived in late 2015 and closed in early 2017. The story follows Celie, an African-American woman in the American South struggling to survive living with her abusive father. Her sister, Nettie, is in Africa doing missionary work, while Celie is worrying for her well-being.  

The original show ran from 2005-2008, and earned ten Tony nominations in 2006. The show closed after thirty previews and 910 regular performances. By this time, the show had already grossed 103 million dollars. The cast featured LaChanze as Celie, Brandon Victor Dixon as Harpo, Renee Elise Goldsberry as Nettie, and Elisabeth Withers as Shug Avery.bark

Both musicals are based off of the book written in 1982 by Alice Walker. The book follows a similar plot to both musicals, where Celie struggles to survive while anxiously awaiting to hear from her sister Nettie.

The revival cast includes Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery, Kyle Scatliffe as Harpo, and Joaquina Kalukango as Nettie. This cast received four Tony nominations and won for Best Musical Revival.

Ervio also won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, and she certainly did not disappoint. Ervio performed her show-stopping number “I’m Here” during the 2016 Tony Awards. The audience was brought to tears due to the moving lyrics and her powerful voice.

She said during an interview with, “I wasn’t sure how people would feel about this new Celie, or me.” She has proven herself and her talent on the Broadway stage with incredible passion and emotion.

However, she was not the only actress that stood out in the revival. Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson performed on a Broadway stage for the first time. She reported to “Broadway is something that has been a dream of mine for a long time.” Considering it was her first time performing for a Broadway audience, she was committed to her role and left her heart on the stage.

The original cast had an excellent run for its time. With the amount of Tony nominations and the national tour, it was outstanding to say the least. However, with Broadway gaining more popularity, the revival left a more definitive mark on audiences.

The music in the revival contains the same songs as the original, with songs like: Huckleberry Pie/Mysterious Ways, What About Love?, Celie’s Curse, and I’m Here. The revival and the original cast soundtrack are both very powerful and soulful; qualities that have stood out on Broadway. Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell, and Allee Willis composed the music and lyrics for the show. The music is incredibly emotional and powerful; the soundtrack goes from upbeat soul music to powerful and moving ballads.

From the music to the acting. the musical has proven to be a classic in all aspects. The revival cast has certainly proven that “The Color Purple” is a timeless production. Unfortunately, the show closed in January, but clips of the show are available on YouTube. I believed the show was emotional and powerful and incredibly moving. The revival cast definitely did a fantastic job performing this timeless musical.