Way back in 1999, Broadway producer Scott Sanders optioned the rights to produce Alice Walker’s iconic novel, The Color Purple, which had already been translated to the big screen, as a Broadway play. It took five years for Sanders to get all the fiddly bits right, but on December 1, 2005, “The Color Purple” opened on Broadway for a wildly successful 3+-year run. Since the show hit Broadway, there has seldom been a month that it hasn’t been performed somewhere in the world. From 2007 through 2010, a series of casts took the show to Chicago, Los Angeles, North and South Carolina, Florida, Nevada and many more states and cities. In 2013, John Doyle mounted the first international production of the blockbuster play at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London to critical acclaim. Now, after 8 years away from the bright lights of Broadway, The Color Purple has come home, and the homecoming is spectacular.
The Wild Success of The Color Purple
Don’t take our word for it. The 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple, jointly produced by Scott Sanders, Roy Furman and Oprah Winfrey, opened in December at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre and the critics haven’t stopped talking about it since. The reviews from such widely diverse publications as the NY Times and Variety are packed with words like “red-hot knockout performance” and “beautiful beyond belief” and “a glory to behold.” Those aren’t just idle words and puff pieces, either. Those are reviews coming from some of the toughest, most jaded theater critics in the business.
Now Broadway Records is upping the ante by releasing the official revival cast recording of The Color Purple’s musical numbers. The new record features all of the show’s most loved performances, performed by the revival cast members, which include Jennifer Hudson as the sultry Shug Avery, and Danielle Brooks, from “Orange is the New Black,” as the strong-willed Sofia. The real showstopper, though, is the performance turned in by Cynthia Erivo as Celie, the erstwhile heroine of the tale.
Typically, when producers mount a revival of a popular show, critics are skeptical – and they take a lot of convincing to accept that the newly reimagined production is at least as good as the original show. The Menier Chocolate Factory production may have had a little boost in Broadway ticket sales when Oprah captured the excitement and whetted appetites with a primetime production of “Oprah Goes to Broadway: The Color Purple.” The show premiered December 19, and featured clips with the Broadway show’s stars, as well as an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. Actors Danny Glover, Cicely Tyson, Phylicia Rashad and Lupita Nyong’o talked about the impact that the original film had on their lives and on their careers. The special aired around the 30th anniversary of the 1985 film adaptation of The Color Purple, for which Oprah got an Oscar nomination, and just days before the show’s Broadway opening night.
Why This Show is a Must See
Whether you have fond memories of watching Oprah on the big screen or have never seen any adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize novel, the current Broadway revival production of “The Color Purple” is a must-see. The show runs daily with weekend matinees, but many shows are already sold out. Our inventory of tickets changes frequently, so be sure to check with us for The Color Purple tickets before you make your plans.
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