TB and I are in Chicago this weekend visiting family and friends. It is always great catching up with our peeps but this trip would be even more exciting because TB’s mom, Momma B, had purchased tickets for all of us to go see The Color Purple musical. The production has been on Broadway since December 2005 and arrived in Chicago’s Cadillac Palace theater a couple weeks back.
The Color Purple is Momma B’s favorite movie of all time so when she heard the musical was coming to Chicago she was all over it. We attended the 2PM, Saturday show. The score, singing, ambience, set, props, lighting and audience were all terrific. The show is 2 hours and 40 minutes of all the best scenes from the movie (and book) with a bunch of on-stage elements mixed in. There were many black women in the audience who all seemed to have a strong emotional connection to all the characters either from previous readings of the book or having watched the movie for the umpteenth time during their lives. The delight, the scorn, the pain and the hope that weaves throughout the story bounced back and forth between the actors and those of us in the audience.
The acting was superb. The actress portraying Ms. Sophia stole the show. The main actress playing Celie was amazing too, but Sophia had all the spunk and classic one-liners that make the novel and movie classics — Oprah should be proud. LaToya London, of American Idol fame, played Nettie. The only disappointment was Michelle Williams who played Shug Avery. As a member of Destiny’s Child (Are they still a group?) and with a couple successful gospel albums under her belt, I expected more from her vocals than she delivered. Her acting was ok.
I highly recommend this show. It is definitely worth a trip to Chicago or NYC.