The first time I saw the musical version of The Color Purple I think I was on a date. I say think because through some seating mishap I was placed on one side of a row between two strangers while my beau was all the way at the other end. In hind sight, that was a good thing. The transformative performances of the cast and the music were so powerful I remember crying uncontrollably by intermission. And those strange ladies and I were all holding hands and exchanging tissues. Not good dating etiquette. But that is the power of musicals.
The other gift of musicals is the cast album. While an amazing play can leave you gasping for air, a great musical has you singing and annoying people on the A train all the way back to Harlem. (An unfortunate true story.)
So I was more than a little jazzed to learn that the revival of The Color Purple, which premiered last week at the Bernand B. Jacobs Theatre, announced that a cast album will be recorded this week and released via Broadway Records.
This latest version of Purple brings Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson to the Broadway stage. This woman has not met a medium she can’t tackle. She takes on the complicated role of “Shug Avery.” Might I also opine that Broadway is the sweet spot for a person with that powerful a voice. “Orange is the New Black” star Danielle Brooks takes over the role as “Sophia.”
And then there is Cynthia Erivo as “Celie.” All I can suggest you do is watch her and Ms. Hudson perform the title song to the musical in this official music video for the show.
The Color Purple has gone through its own transformations first as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by author Alice Walker, to the acclaimed and controversial film directed by Steven Spielberg.
And then the film version’s Sophia, an unknown named Oprah Winfrey put her strength into pushing a Broadway production of Purple in 2005. The story is all about black women and their strength against odds and circumstances that would kill most of us dead.
The revival of Purple premiered at the Jacobs Theatre Dec 10th, 2015. To see what Broadway Black thought of the show click here. The cast album is set for a January 29th release date. But…you can pre-order the music now. And click here to order your tickets to The Color Purple now.