For my mother’s birthday, we went to see the Broadway musical, The Color Purple. We missed it the first time it came to Broadway but wanted to support our family friend, Joseph Joubert, who was the musical orchestrator for this revival.
This revival of the Color Purple starred Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery and Danielle Brooks as Sofia. Held at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in Midtown, a beautiful vintage theater which has been restored with modern amenities.
The set was sparse but functional, placing an emphasis on the music and the performance of the cast. And what a cast! Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson were extraordinary as two of the lead actors but the entire cast made this musical revival an award worthy production.
Having already read the novel by Alice Walker and watched the movie adaptation several times, I had high expectations for this production. And I can honestly say that this production met those expectations. In my mind, I did not compare this production and the performances to those I’ve seen on the big screen or by any other actors before. I was moved by the powerful voices of the staff and their performances as the characters we have grown to know and love over the years.
For me, there are a few elements that I look for whenever I view a performance: Can you take me away from the wandering thoughts in my mind? Can you make me forget what I thought I was going to see or what I have seen already? Sometimes I am conscious of these internal questions and at other times, I ponder them when I am reflecting on a performance later.
Suffice it to say, The Color Purple satisfied all of my internal questions and more. I purchased a copy of the cast performance on CD and a mug to cherish this moment. Years from now, I’m sure that I’ll be reading about this historic production and I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I went with my mother.