Zonya Love Debuts as Celie in 'Purple' Jan.9 with Chaka Khan, Winans & Jones

The producers of The Color Purple are pleased to announce that Zonya Love will make her Broadway debut as Celie in the smash hit musical starting Wednesday, January 9, 2008, alongside Chaka Khan as Sofia and BeBe Winans as Harpo.

LaKisha Jones, previously announced to play the Church Soloist who opens the show with the rousing gospel number "Mysterious Ways" begins performances on Wednesday, December 19, 2007.  After January 9, 2008 she will assume the role of Sofia at all matinee performances.

Fantasia, who was just nominated for three Grammy Awards, will play her final critically acclaimed performance as Celie on Sunday, January 6, 2007. Her first performance was Tuesday, April 10, 2007, and she extended her original six month run by an addition three months.

Zonya Love, originally hailing from Durham, North Carolina, intended to pursue a music career but switched to theater as a freshman in high school.  She received a BFA in Theatre from North Carolina A&T State University, and a MFA in Theatre from The University of Nevada Las Vegas.   She moved to New York in September, 2007, and was teaching theater and Head Start classes when she got a callback for The Color Purple, and will be making her Broadway debut.  Her regional roles have included Intimate Apparel, Wit, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Children of Eden, The Boys Next Door, Kiss Me Kate, and Smokey Joe's Café.

The Color Purple began its third year at the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway) on November 1, 2007 and also stars Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as Shug Avery, Alton Fitzgerald White as Mister, Darlesia Cearcy as Nettie and Krisha Marcano as Squeak.

The Color Purple recouped its entire $11 million investment in less than a year.  The Color Purple 's first North American Tour kicked off in Chicago on April 17, 2007 at The Cadillac Palace Theatre where it played through September 30, 2007.  The tour continued on to San Francisco and is currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with future dates confirmed for Tempe, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The Color Purple is produced by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich, and Todd Johnson

The performance schedule for The Color Purple on Broadway is:  Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2PM; Sunday at 7:30PM.  Tickets for The Color Purple can be purchased via Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200 or at The Broadway Theatre Box Office.  Tickets are $26.50 - $116.50.

Photo: Zonya Love

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