The original Broadway production of The Color Purple opened at the Broadway Theatre December 1, 2005. The musical, directed by Gary Griffin with choreography by Donald Byrd, played 30 previews and 910 performances before closing February 24, 2008. The production earned 11 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, winning Best Actress in a Musical for LaChanze’s performance as Celie.
Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film, The Color Purple follows Celie as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life. The production featured music and lyrics by Allee Willis, Brenda Russell, and Stephen Bray with a book by Marsha Norman.
Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of The Color Purple
In addition to LaChanze, the production starred Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Kingsley Legg as Mister, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as Shug Avery, Brandon Victor Dixon as Harpo, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Nettie, and Krisha Marcano as Squeak alongside ensemble members Kimberly Ann Harris, Maia Nkenge Wilson, Virginia Ann Woodruff, Lou Myers, Carol Dennis, James Brown III, LaTrisia A. Coleman, Anika Ellis, Doug Eeskew, Bahiyah Hibah, Zipporah G. Gatling, Charles Gray, James Harkness, Francesca Harper, Chantylla Johnson, Grasan Kingsberry, J.C. Montgomery, Angela Robinson, Nathaniel Stampley, Jamal Story, and Leon G. Thomas III. Rounding out the company were Jeannette I. Bayardelle, Eric L. Christian, Bobby Daye, Stephanie Guiland-Brown, and Corinne McFarlane as swings and Kenita R. Miller as the Celie/Nettie understudy.
Following LaChanze’s departure from the production, the role of Celie was assumed by Bayardelle, Miller, Fantasia Barrino, and Zonya Love.
The Color Purple featured scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, and sound design by Jon Weston with stage management by Kristen Harris, Glynn David Turner, and Neveen Mahmoud. For the complete cast and creative team, visit PlaybillVault.com/TheColorPurple.
The Color Purple returned to Broadway in 2015 with a Tony Award-winning revival from John Doyle, starring Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Isaiah Johnson as Mister, Kyle Scattlife as Harpo, and Joaquina Kalukango as Nettie.