Review Roundup: Theatre Horizon Presents THE COLOR PURPLE

Review Roundup: Theatre Horizon Presents THE COLOR PURPLEWith a jubilant, Grammy Award-winning score including jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, THE COLOR PURPLE has become Theatre Horizon's hottest selling ticket. Now, this regional premiere production will extend its run for a second time. Theatre Horizon is proud to announce that the musical will perform now through December 23, 2018. It is the first ever seven-week run for the professional theatre company located in Norristown, PA.

Theatre Horizon's intimate staging of award-winning musical will be directed by local director and Broadway performer (Mamma Mia!, Godspell) Amina Robinson, who makes her company debut with this production. The Theatre Horizon staging has been featured on 6ABC, Power 99FM, NBC10, and WHYY.

Featured in the cast are Jessica Johnson as Celie, Tyson Jennette as Mister, Jessica Money as Nettie, Donnie Hammond as Sofia, Ebony Pullum as Shug, Garrick Vaughan as Harpo, Tiffany Dawn Christopher as Olivia/Church Soloist, Candice Benson as Doris, Victoria Goins as Squeak, Jordan Dobson as Adam, Chelsea-Ann Jones as Jarene, Derrick L. Millard II as Preacher, Ryane Nicole Studivant as Darlene, and Chantel Thea Cumberbatch, Aaron-Michael Sobers, and Camille E. Young as Swings. Music Direction will be by Amanda Morton, with Choreography by Sanchel Brown.

Tickets to THE COLOR PURPLE are currently on sale and start at $45. Details can be found at theatrehorizon.org.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

David Fox, Philly Mag: Among the cast, I single out Jessica M. Johnson's Celie, profoundly touching through both acting and singing, Ebony Pullum's Shug (ditto), Jessica Muse Money's Nettie (maybe the vocal knockout of the cast), and Donnie Hammond's show-stopping turn as Sofia. But really, they're all terrific. Scenery (by Sara Outing), costumes (Elizabeth Ennis), and lighting (Alyssandra Docherty) perfectly capture the mood. Music director Amanda Morton and her small but excellent band Raise the Roof.

Cameron Kelsall, Broad Street Review: Sara Outing's rustic set transports the audience to Celie's world - rural Georgia at the turn of the last century, where a 14-year-old girl is viewed as little more than a workhorse and valuable marriage prospect. Celie leaves the home of her abusive stepfather, by whom she bears two children, to live with tyrannical Mister (Tyson Jennette) in the hopes of protecting her beloved sister, Nettie (Jessica Muse Money, flaunting a knockout voice).

Emily Keel, Valley Forge: Played by Ebony Pullum, Shug is the town's local celebrity and quite the heartbreaker. Shug is Mister's former flame, so he takes Shug in when she comes back to town and falls ill. Celie ends up nursing her back to health and the two form a lifelong bond. Shug teaches Celie that she is beautiful and worthy of love and Celie, in turn, teaches Shug about real, lasting love.

Howard Shapiro, WHYY: The supporting players in the 14-member African-American cast are all fine, and for its ensemble work alone, the production shines. That simple wooden set I referred to is by Sara Outing and the costumes reflecting the decades through Celie's life and a segment in Africa are by Elizabeth Ennis. The busy music director Amanda Morton has the cast singing at a feverishly beautiful pitch and Sanchel Brown's choreography makes you want to get up and join the party.

Chad Gorn, Philly Life and Culture: Even before it opened, Theatre Horizon's The Color Purple was extended through December 23rd, marking the first-ever seven-week run for any show at this small Norristown space. The building is easily accessible from Septa and major highways, and there are some fantastic restaurants in walking distance of the theater. In other words, don't let the distance hamper you from seeing this show. This production is high-quality and high-energy, especially when the entire 17-member cast is performing in unison. Don't balk at the ticket prices; smaller spaces suffer from an "implied value" stigma, to wit: it's not a big, huge space, therefore I'm not going to see a big, huge production, which makes it harder to justify the expenditure, but while the former is true, the latter is not. This show is worth your entertainment dollar, and the unanimous and spontaneous ovation at the show's end is evidence that no one left that theater disappointed.

Brandon T. Harden, Philly.com: Though the cast made great use of the small stage, one minor issue interrupted the flow. During the scene where Celie is about to be reunited with her children, some of the cast used the back and side aisles to take the stage instead of using the wings. It seemed like a move better suited to a big musical number than such a tender scene.

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