City Springs Theatre Company presents The Color Purple, directed by Kamilah Long, based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment film. The musical about love will run May 6-22, 2022 at the Byers Theater at the Sandy Springs Center for the Performing Arts. THE COLOR PURPLE was adapted for stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Martha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy Award winners Brenda Russell, Ellie Willis and Stephen Bray.
This story is about Celie, an unwavering story that takes us on an epic journey through 40 years of her life. As she overcomes her darkest adversities, she finds strength to continue through love and camaraderie that only her position and women of this age can understand. The score features blues, jazz, ragtime, gospel and African music as Celie evolves from an abused innocent girl to a smart and attractive woman who improves everyone she meets life.
The cast of THE COLOR PURPLE at City Springs Theatre Company is simply exquisite. Their team chemistry is undeniable and dynamic, as explosive as they are soothing. At the center is the tech-savvy Emmy winner and Grammy nominee Felicia Boswell as Celie. Their portrayal of the Walker legend is a once-in-a-lifetime performance experience. At various points in their execution of racking their brains and purifying their souls, they gestured and pointed to the sky, as if calling upon God to deliver messages, gifts through their own bodies and their own voices. Boswell’s first and last notes as Celie were extraordinary, eliciting a standing ovation during the performance.
Broadway’s Gavin Gregory plays Mister and carries real oppression. Their villain performances are creepy, cringe-worthy, and luxuriously glamorous at the same time. Harper, played by Broadway’s Traven Davis, is lively and moving. You can feel their joy, pain, and longing in your own heart.
Safia Fredericks played Sugar Avery so perfectly, it’s hard to imagine them playing any other role. It’s hard to maintain expectations for a character that was discussed at length before the introduction, and not only did Safiya live up to the expectations, they rewarded us with a riveting number of hypnotic adjectives worth mentioning.
You can’t help but cheer for Grammy winner Kayce Grogan-Wallace, whose presence subtly embodies the power of their character Sofia. LaTricia Akhagbeme exudes all the beauty and compassion that only Celia’s sage Nettie needs. Jalise Wilson moves and sings like a fresh flower born in the silt, like a squeak.
The rest of this charming, magical cast features Candy McLellan as Church Lady Doris; Kenya Carroll as Church Lady Darlene; Shena Renee as Church Lady Jarlene; Sheila Jackson as Church Soloist; (BET Sunday’s Best of Show) as Preacher/Bobby, Anthony Sweeting as Ol’ Mister and Timothy D. Parrott as Pa. Gabe Cain, Charles Pruitt, Merkell Williams are also in the cast; Zaria Hall, Stephan JoQuan Wilson, Candace Mumphrey and Jazzmin Carson.
With director Kamilah Long said to provide an experimental space for daring exploration and a lovingly nurturing environment, it’s clear it’s the blood that flows through this world. The creative team took everything to the next level and presented the story in the best possible way, including choreography by Kenneth Green, music direction by Lewis Webb, lighting design by Mike Wood and sound design by Joel Abott. The costume design is based on an original work by Ann Hould-Wardand, and the set design is based on an original design by John Doyle.
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Photo: City Springs Theatre Company