reviewed by Paula Citron
The Colour Purple
Written by Marsha Norman
Music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray
Directed by Gary Griffin
Starring Kenita R. Miller, Felicia P. Fields, Angela Robinson, Stu James, Latrisa Coleman, Tiffany Daniels and Rufus Bonds, Jr.
At the Canon Theatre until Mar. 14
The 2005 award-winning musical The Colour Purple is a success. Marsha Norman’s book poignantly captures the damaged lives of the characters, while the songs by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray run the gamut from African to gospel, R&B to adult contemporary. Donald Byrd’s choreography is sensational as are Paul Tazewell’s costumes that cover four decades. John Lee Beatty’s sets and Brian MacDevitt’s lighting are also noteworthy.
The story, set among the blacks of rural Georgia between 1909 and 1949, follows the fortunes of the put-upon Celie who was a mother twice before she was 14. Kenita R. Miller is just marvellous as Celie and leads a strong cast. Director Gary Griffin has orchestrated an energetic production.
Unfortunately, the sound system is at times so loud that it masks the lyrics, not to mention that ensemble singing diction is deplorable. It would have been nice to catch every word.
The Colour Purple continues at the Canon Theatre until Mar. 14.