VIDEO: Cynthia Erivo, Isaiah Johnson Discuss The Healing Experience of THE COLOR PURPLE
The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem, is recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
Its Langston Hughes Auditorium is a major center for free performing arts programs and talks on contemporary and historic issues in African-American culture.
On Monday, February 8th, activist writer Michaela Angela Davis hosted a conversation with guests from the Broadway revival of The Color Purple; British actor Cynthia Erivo, making her Broadway debut in the lead role of Celie, actor Isaiah Johnson, who plays her abusive husband Mister, composer/lyricist Brenda Russell, who collaborated on the score with Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, and producer Scott Sanders.
While issues of domestic abuse and America's history of racism were certainly widely discussed when The Color Purple premiered on Broadway in 2005, the increased awareness of rape culture and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have no doubt affected the lens with which audiences see novelist Alice Walker's story depicted on stage.
In dealing with the harsh relationship between their two characters, Ervio and Johnson both explained how they deal with playing the dark emotions of the musical and the healing experience they share with audiences eight times a week.
Grammy, Academy Award, and Golden Globe award winner Jennifer Hudson makes her Broadway debut opposite Cynthia Erivo, the breakout star of John Doyle's acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production, and Orange is the New Black's Danielle Brooks, in the highly anticipated production of The Color Purple.
They are joined by Isaiah Johnson (The Merchant of Venice, Peter and the Starcatcher) in the role of 'Mister;'Joaquina Kalukango (Encores! Wild Party, Holler If Ya Hear Me) as 'Nettie;' and Kyle Scatliffe (Les Miserables) in the role of 'Harpo.'
THE COLOR PURPLE is an unforgettable story of enduring love and triumph over adversity. With a fresh, joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this stirring family chronicle follows the inspirational Celie, as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life.