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The Color Purple Original Broadway Cast Recording by The Color Purple Broadway Cast

The Color Purple was first a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and then it became a movie by Steven Spielberg. Two decades later, it has been reimagined as a big Broadway musical.

The story follows the struggles of Celie, a young, pregnant black girl separated from her sister Nettie. The cruelties that Celie endures doesn’t seem like a story that would lend itself to a musical, but the plot provides plenty of drama and room for interpretation.

The 29-track cast recording is a mix of gospel, blues and jazz tunes all performed with the expected Broadway bravado. No matter what genre the individual songs may fall into, the music never strays too far from its original purpose of being a show tune.

The Color Purple outshines many musicals because of its strong cast.

LaChanze (Celie), Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (Shug Avery) and Kingsley Leggs (Mister) elevate the material with outstanding performances. Highlights include Withers-Mendes singing "Too Beautiful For Words," which makes for the prettiest two minutes on the CD. After that tender ballad, she turns around and vamps the bluesy "Push Da Button," one of the show’s freshest numbers.

LaChanze and Withers-Mendes duet on "What About Love?," the musical’s power ballad.

Kimberly Ann Harris, Virginia Ann Woodruff and Maia Nkenge Wilson are winning as the Church Ladies, who have no shortage of opinions and help fill in some of the backstory with their energetic songs.

The Color Purple is well performed, and the music is enjoyable, offering just enough big, soaring numbers in between slower, smaller moments to create a rich, satisfying production. Extensive liner notes help listeners follow the story, which stretches over 40 years.

The music and lyrics are by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Oprah Winfrey, who appeared in movie version of the story, produced the Broadway show.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Color Purple Broadway Cast
  • CD Title: The Color Purple Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Angel Records
  • Tracks: Overture, Huckleberry Pie/Mysterious Ways, Somebody Gonna Love You, Our Prayer, That Fine Mister, Big Dog, Lily Of The Field, Dear God – Sofia, A Tree Named Sofia, Hell No!, Brown Betty, Shug Avery Comin’ To Town, All We’ve Got To Say, Dear God – Shug, Too Beautiful For Words, Push Da Button, Uh Oh!, What About Love?, Act I Finale, African Homeland, The Color Purple, Church Ladies’ Easter, I Curse You Mister, Celie’s Curse, Miss Celie’s Pants, Any Little Thing, What About Love? (reprise), I’m Here and The Color Purple (reprise)
  • Musicians: Cast: Chantylla Johnson, Zipporah G. Gatling, Carol Dennis, Kimberly Ann Harris, Virginia Ann Woodruff, Maia Nkenge Wilson, Doug Eskew, JC Montgomery, Renee Elise Goldsberry, LaChanze, Kingsley Leggs, Leon G. Thomas III, Brandon Victor Dixon, Felicia P. Fields, Krisha Marcano, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes, Lou Myers, Nathaniel Stampley, James Brown III, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines and Grasan Kinsberrry
  • Rating: Four Stars
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