Heart wrenching, soul stirring and so incredibly inspiring is how one would describe the brilliant performances, music and presentation of The Color Purple – the musical. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple features a joyous score containing jazz, ragtime, gospel, rhythm and blues. The music and lyrics have been coined by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The Color Purple is the story of a downtrodden African-American woman, Celie, her life, her trials and tribulations and her ability to use love to conquer and allow the human spirit to shine. Though set in the Southern States of the US in early 20th century times, a lot of aspects – violence, sexuality and abuse, are relevant even today.

Directed by Kimberley Rampersad and having Sean Mayes as music director, the magnificent musical, is being staged at the Neptune theatre in Halifax, and is opening to packed houses every week. Perhaps for the first time in history, one is seeing an all African-American cast in a Canadian musical/play. Tara Jackson as Celie has surpassed all boundaries and set new benchmarks with her acting, her voice and her range.

The original Broadway production produced by Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey, was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, and the 2015 revival won two, including Best Revival of a Musical.

The 1985 feature film version by the same name was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, starred Woopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

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