When the national touring company of “The Color Purple” Tony Award-winning, Broadway musical revival took their bows last Sunday at the Paper Mill Playhouse, I was overcome with emotion watching Alice Walker’s characters come to life through the exceptional cast and crew!
It’s a total masterpiece from director John Doyle and the creative team’s excellent scenery, staging, lighting, costumes, and musicians. Pure magic.
Though the story begins almost a century ago in rural Georgia and follows Celie through a life of hardship, it’s still so modern. The small cast — comprised of the national touring company on its current North American tour — triumphed in communicating the universal themes in Walker’s beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling novel: family, ancestry, love, loyalty, survival, abandonment, trauma, identity, faith, and redemption.
After Sunday’s show in Millburn, New Jersey, I had the great opportunity to chat with the charismatic, inspiring actors and Paper Mill’s wonderful team at the cast party, which I’m honored to share with my readers.
I asked the stars — Adrianna Hicks as Celie, Carla R. Stewart as Shug Avery, Carrie Compere as Sofia, and Gavin Gregory as Mister — about the themes that spoke the loudest to them and the ones they thought were most important for their audiences to take away. I also wanted to know what aspects of their characters were the easiest things to connect with, and which aspects were the hardest.
I was also thrilled to speak to Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director. I wanted to know which of Walker’s themes touched him most, what’s in store for the Paper Mill’s current 80th anniversary season, and where “The Color Purple” fits among the other gems of the 2018-19 program such as Holiday Inn, My Very Own British Invasion, Benny and Joon, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Watch my video to find out!
Catch “The Color Purple” at the Paper Mill Playhouse before it closes on October 21! At its core, it’s a beautiful, inspiring, universal message about empowerment and redemption, which is especially relevant in these times.