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Review: THE COLOR PURPLE at City Springs At Byers Theater

A Must-See for Every Atlantan

Review: THE COLOR PURPLE at City Springs At Byers Theater

City Springs Theatre Company presents THE COLOR PURPLE Directed by Kamilah Long is based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment motion picture. This musical about love plays May 6 - 22, 2022 in the Byers Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. THE COLOR PURPLE was adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony® Award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy® Award winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.

The story is about Celie, a woman who's unflinching story takes us on a journey of 40 of her life's epic years. As she triumphs over the darkest of adversities, she finds strength to continue through the love and comradery that only the women of her status and in this era could possibly understand. The score features blues, jazz, ragtime, gospel, and African music scoring Celie's evolution from an abused innocent and ignorant girl to a wise and compelling woman who betters the lives of everyone she encounters.

The cast of THE COLOR PURPLE at City Springs Theatre Company is simply exquisite. Their group chemistry is undeniable and dynamic, as explosive as they are soothing. At the center is the relentlessly skilled Emmy® Award winner & Grammy® Award nominee Felicia Boswell as Celie. Their portrayal of Walker's legendary character is a one-in-a-lifetime performance experience. At various moments in their gut-wrenching, soul-purging execution, they gesture and point to the heavens as if summoning God to channel a message, a gift, through their very own body, their own voice. Boswell's first and last notes as Celie are transcendent, eliciting a mid-show standing ovation.

Broadway's Gavin Gregory plays Mister and carries the weight of true oppression. Their villainous performance is spin-tingling, cringe-worthy and luxuriously charming all at once. Broadway's Trevon Davis as Harpo is lively, and deeply moving. You can feel their joy, pain, and longing in your own gut.

Safiya Fredericks is perfectly cast as Shug Avery and hard to imagine them playing anything else. It's difficult to uphold the expectation of a character who is discussed at length prior to their introduction, and not only does Safiya match the expectation, they reward us with a show-stopping number worthy of the hypnotic adjectives that presupposed their entrance.

You cannot help but root for Grammy® Award winner Kayce Grogan-Wallace whose presence expertly embodies the strength of their character Sofia. LaTricia Akhagbeme exudes all the beauty and compassion that only Nettie, Celia's saintly anchor, needs. And Jalise Wilson moves and sings like a fresh blossom born in the muck as Squeak.

The rest of this enchanting, magical cast features Candy McLellan as Church Lady Doris; Kenya Carroll as Church Lady Darlene; Shena Renee as Church Lady Jarlene; Sheila Jackson as the Church Soloist; Dathan Thigpen (Winner of Season 8 - BET's Sunday's Best) as Preacher/Bobby, Anthony Sweeting as Ol' Mister, and Timothy D. Parrott as Pa. Also in the cast are Gabe Cain, Charles Pruitt, Merkell Williams; Zaria Hall, Stephan JoQuan Wilson, Candace Mumphrey, and Jazzmin Carson.

Director Kamilah Long is said to enable a space for brave explorations and loving, nurturing environments in which to experiment and it's clear this is the blood that runs through the veins of this world. The creative team lifts everything to a higher plane and meets the story at it's best including choreography by Kenneth Green, musical directions by Lewis Webb, lighting design by Mike Wood, and sound designs by Joel Abott. The costume designs are based on the original work of Ann Hould-Wardand and scenic design is based on the original designs by John Doyle.

Get your tickets now!

Photo: City Springs Theatre Company


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