When you attend a musical performance in the theater, how often are you compelled to jump to your feet as soon the curtain is called? And do you have a tear coming out of the corner of your eye as you do so?Â I cannot guarantee that you will pop to your feet immediately like 60% of the audience did at end of Wednesday night’s “The Color Purple” at the National Theatre, but I know you will be moved emotionally.Â Unless of course you are an android.Â And let me be clear, within seconds, the rest of those sitting were soon standing and clapping so hard our hands were almost raw. The grand finale song had the whole theatre swaying, clapping along and for that one moment, you felt connectivity, wholeness with the actors, the musicians, strangers in the room.Â Everyone was smiling, grooving, feeling present.Â That, my friends, is the beauty of live performances.
Ok, back to “The Color Purple”.Â Having (ahem, embarrassing confession) not read the book by Alice Walker, nor having seen the 1985 Steven Spielberg directed film which starred Danny Glover, Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah (who was discovered, I am told, by Quincy Jones. He was traveling and in a hotel room and turned on the local news, I’m assuming back then in Chicago, and saw Oprah Winfrey – last name included, and said, that’s the one for the film!), I still had high expectations.
After all, it was a Broadway show produced by Oprah, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman and Quincy Jones.Â The two acts are fast moving full of music, not much dialogue, and tons of choreography, often layering scenes, which makes for a captivating show.Â Celie (Dayna Jarae Dantzler) pulls at your heartstrings the entire show, you feel so much for her, pity, then anger, then pride and joy.Â Dantzler’s voice fills the entire theatre, envelopes you, and draws you in. She’s mesmerizing.Â Traci Allen plays Nettie, Celie’s sister, and is less a big part of the show, but the entire cast is phenomenal, including the Church Ladies (Nesha Ward, Virlanda Stanton, and Deaun Parker), Mister (Edward C. Smith), Sofia (Pam Trotter) – who had the audience rolling – and Shug Avery (Taprena Augustine) – “everyone love Shug Avery” – had everyone loving her.
The entire show was “tight” and every note was hit.Â Even special guest star “Lil’Mo” from DC’s own WPGC-95.5 FM who played the “Church Soloist” got the crowd moving with the finale song after the curtain call.
I feel like I can’t do this show justice.Â You will just have to see it.Â And now, I’m going to order the movie and read the book.Â But you can order your tickets : HERE (here through April 24th, 2011)
By the way, I finally know why it was entitled “The Color Purple” ….
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.