The Color Purple's second return to Broadway is a must-see for the holiday season. A stripped-down version of the 2005 version, this new incarnation of Alice Walker's novel allows the audience to soak up the powerful voices and stirring performances.
Jennifer Hudson makes her long-awaited Broadway debut, and the singer's vocal chops are a perfect fit for the central character of Shug Avery. However, the unexpected star of the show is Orange Is the New Black's Danielle Brooks as Sophia. From the voice to the acting to every movement of her body, Brooks is made for the stage — there was no hint of her character Taystee in her dynamic performance. Brooks has a long career ahead.
Cynthia Erivo had some big shoes to fill as Celie, the role which earned Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar nomination, LaChanze a Tony and was last played by Fantasia. But the British actress made Celie her own with sensitivity and strength.
Isaiah Johnson's turn as Mister was wonderfully strong as one of the most hated characters in Black cinema. Being that the Broadway musical follows Alice Walker's book more than the film adaptation, there is more perspective in the complications of Mister and Johnson perfectly delivered the character's nuance.
The one major mistake of both versions of The Color Purple on Broadway is not including the songs "God's Trying to Tell You Something" and "Miss Celie's Blues." Both songs are iconic and would've fit perfectly in the show. The strange omission is a big disappointment but, nonetheless, this is still a must-see show.
The Color Purple is currently in previews and opens December 10 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater.
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