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American Idol's Fantasia Barrino to Join The Color Purple

Following an inspiring live performance on American Idol tonight, Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 8PM EST (8PM PST tape-delayed) on FOX TV, as well as an interview and performance scheduled to air on The Oprah Winfrey Show Wednesday, February 28, 2007 (check local listings), the producers of THE COLOR PURPLE confirm that American Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino is set to make her Broadway debut in the starring role of Celie beginning Tuesday, April 10, 2007. The Grammy-nominated fan-favorite performed a re-orchestrated version of her character's signature song to announce to millions worldwide "I'm Here."

As a 19-year old single mother, Fantasia began her path to international stardom when she became the winner of FOX's hugely successful audience-driven singing competition in May 2004. Now 22, Barrino has maintained her down-to-earth nature, all the while earning the respect of an industry and garnering critical acclaim for the release of both her debut album Free Yourself, which marked her becoming the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 chart history to debut at #1 with her debut single "I Believe" and her critically acclaimed second album, FANTASIA, released by J Records on December 12, 2006. Her new single "When I See You" just went to radio.

To date, she has gathered more than 20 award nominations including the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Vibe Awards, Soul Train Awards and Soul Train "Lady of Soul" Awards, Billboard Music Awards and R&B & Hip Hop Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and Teen Choice Awards. With her Broadway debut as Celie, the heart and soul of THE COLOR PURPLE, she can now add the distinction of being the first ever American Idol winner to star in a Broadway show.

No stranger to acting, Fantasia also broke records of a different kind after authoring a New York Times best-selling autobiography Life Is Not A Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster, September 2005) and starring in The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairytale, the Debbie Allen-directed Lifetime original movie adaptation of her truthful, outspoken, and ultimately healing memoir in August 2006. For her performance, she was nominated for a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. The biopic, also nominated as Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for the 2007 NAACP Image Awards, ranks as the channel's second most watched movie and has been seen by 19 million viewers.

Now in its 2nd smash year on Broadway, the producers of THE COLOR PURPLE have announced that in less than a year, the production has recouped its entire $11 million investment. Since its first preview on November 1, 2005 THE COLOR PURPLE has the highest cumulative attendance figures of any new Broadway show of the 2005-2006 season. Nearly 750,000 audience members from across the country and around the world have seen the production.

THE COLOR PURPLE, which celebrated its first year anniversary December 1, 2006 has grossed over $60 million in ticket sales.

Having garnered 11 2006 Tony Award nominations, THE COLOR PURPLE announced its first North American Tour, which kicks off in Chicago on April 17, 2007 at The Cadillac Palace Theatre.

From Alice Walker's classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the landmark film by Steven Spielberg, comes a soul-stirring musical. THE COLOR PURPLE is an inspiring and unforgettable story of a woman, who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. With a moving book and a score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, THE COLOR PURPLE is about hope, a testament to the healing power of love and a celebration of life.

Ben Brantley of The New York Times said of THE COLOR PURPLE, "A bright odyssey of survival and triumph with a fairy tale sense of wonder. Purple strikes sparks." "Pure heart! Celebrates the inspiring relationships of faith and love, A Broadway hit!" raved Elysa Gardner from USA Today, Roma Tore at NY1 News stated, "A winner! So full of heart, The Color Purple sings to the soul."

The production features scenic design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Jon Weston. The orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick, Kevin Stites is the Music Supervisor and Linda Twine is the Musical Director.

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 current performance schedule is Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday at 2PM, Thursday - Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 2PM and 8PM and Sunday at 2PM and 7:30PM. Beginning Tuesday May 29, 2007 the performance schedule will be Wednesday at 2PM and 8PM, Thursday at 8PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 2PM and 8PM and Sunday at 2PM and 7:30PM. Tickets for THE COLOR PURPLE can be purchased via Telecharge.com/(212) 239-6200 or at The Broadway Theatre Box Office, 1681 Broadway at 53rd Street. Tickets are scaled at $116.25 - $26.25.

For additional information go to www.colorpurple.com

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