The first North American tour of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of “The Color Purple” is performing a short run at The Paramount Theatre through the weekend.
Based on the Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the 1985 movie of the same name, this adaptation by Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, follows Celie’s (Adrianna Hicks) life of abuse, racism, separation and ultimately unification with her sister Nettie (N’Jameh Camara) over the span of 40 years in Georgia during the first half of the last century.
The stripped-down staging by John Doyle, which includes just a backdrop of broken crates and suspended chairs, forces
audiences to focus all of their senses on the music that washes over them through the powerful pipes of the cast in ways that make the show seem at times more like a Gospel revival than a theatrical performance. The show comes complete with periodic transitions by way of a four-woman Grecian chorus that provides emotional breaks as the intensely tragic and yet empowering story line plays out.
Witnessing Hicks’ portrayal of the beaten down Celie growing into a strong, empowered woman after suffering a life of struggles and pain was simply magical. Audiences openly wept during her valleys of depression and abuse, and likewise cheered when she finally stands up against her tormentors and then thrives on her own terms.
The revival first opened in London in 2013 and then went on to do a 483-show run on Broadway that ended in 2017.
Anyone interested in the musical version of the story, would be wise to view the movie or read the book beforehand to get the full backstory and side stories that are only referenced in the barebones script that focuses more on emotions than character development and nuance.
Tickets start at $35 and are available on-line at www.STGpresents.org or by calling 1-800-982-2787.