Photo Flash: First Look at the Stars of THE COLOR PURPLE at Portland Center Stage

Portland Center Stage at The Armory's 2018-2019 season launches with the Tony Award-winning musical The Color Purple, adapted from Alice Walker's classic novel about the sisterhood, resilience and self-empowerment found in a community of black women living in rural Georgia in the early 20th century. The Color Purple begins preview performances on September 15, opens on September 21, and runs through October 28 on the U.S. Bank Main Stage. Timothy Douglas directs the production, joined by music director Darius Smith, who will bring the Grammy Award-winning score to life.

The cast includes Felicia Boswell (Broadway: Shuffle Along, Motown, Memphis) as Celie, whose journey toward love and self-worth forms the heart of the play; Lana Gordon (Broadway: Chicago the Musical, The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar) as jazz singer Shug Avery; and Danea C. Osseni (Off-Broadway: Death of a Salesman, Ain't Misbehavin') as Celie's sister Nettie, all making their debuts at The Armory. Maiesha McQueen (First National Tour of Waitress) returns to The Armory after celebrated performances in His Eye is on the Sparrow and Ain't Misbehavin' to play Celie's daughter-in-law, the fiercely brave Sofia.

Regular tickets start at $25 and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased at, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Students and patrons who are 30 or younger get 50% off premium tickets. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. Discounts are available for groups of 10+. Active duty or veteran military personnel and their immediate families get 50% off premium tickets. Performance times (with a few exceptions noted below) are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; Thursday matinees at noon; see below for more information. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Contains strong language and adult themes. For more information visit

From Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller comes a powerful, Tony Award-winning musical with a fresh, joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. This stirring family chronicle follows the inspirational Celie from the early to mid-20th century in the American South, as she journeys from childhood to womanhood, through joy and despair, anguish and hope, to discover the true power of love and life. With a soul-rousing, Grammy-winning score, The Color Purple is an unforgettable and intensely moving American classic. The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice Walkerand the Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment motion picture, features a book by Marsha Norman; and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Published in 1982, Walker's novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. Steven Spielberg's 1985 movie adaptation was a critically acclaimed box office success, receiving 11 Academy Award nominations. Workshops for the musical adaptation began in 2004 at the ALLIANCE THEATRE in Atlanta, Georgia. It opened on Broadway in 2005, where the uplifting songs and richly resonant story garnered 11 Tony Award nominations. In 2014, a revival opened in London at the The Menier Chocolate Factory with a tightened script and rustic, stylized design. A Broadway production of the revival followed, winning the 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, along with abundant praise from critics and audiences alike. Portland Center Stage at The Armory's all-new production brings the revival to Portland audiences for the first time.

Felicia Boswell (Broadway: Shuffle Along, Motown, Memphis) will play Alice Walker's iconic heroine Celie. Lana Gordon (Broadway: Chicago the Musical, The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar) will take on the role of glamorous jazz singer Shug Avery. Danea C. Osseni (Off-Broadway: Death of a Salesman, Ain't Misbehavin') will take on the role of Celie's long lost sister Nettie. Maiesha McQueen (previously at The Armory in His Eye is on the Sparrow and Ain't Misbehavin'; First National Tour of Waitress) will return as Celie's independent daughter-in-law Sofia. Chaz Lamar Shepherd (Broadway: Chicago, The Color Purple. Television: Luke Cage, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) will play Celie's husband Mister. Isaiah Tyrelle Boyd (Jesus Christ Superstar at Lyric Opera of Chicago, A Bronx Tale at Paper Mill Playhouse) will play Celie's adopted son Harpo. C. Mingo Long(National Tours: Parade, Les Misérables) will play Pa, the abusive man who raised Celie and Nettie. Rounding out the cast are Maritza Bostic, Gregory Brumfield, Nia Marché, Martavius Parrish, Lauren Du Pree, Shalanda Sims, Ithica Tell, Neil Totton and Juson Williams.

Photo Credit: Kate Szrom, Courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory.

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