Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Color Purple

How do you take a story of racism and incest and make a musical out of it?

The set, a beautiful tree, etchings of letters writeen between sisters, and a revolving stage, held us captive throughout the show.

The music consisted of gospel spirituals and old jazz tunes played at "Harpo's Juke Joint." Shug Avery held power in her voice. Seeing characters that I know through a book come to life on a stage seems surreal. Having them stand before me is much more difficult to grasp than seeing characters on film. They seem more real to me.

One scene from the play overwhelmed me. African dancers moved over the stage as Nettie read her letters to Celie. Simultaneously, Sofia walked into the store where she was later beaten. The African dancers and Sofia were beaten at the same time. A spotlight hit of them. The reality of the pursecution on a race came to life on a stage. Absolutely brilliant.

The musical ended with a song "Look What God Has Done." It celebrated the redemption and overwhelming power of forgiveness. We had church on Broadway.


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