The Color Purple was an EXCELLENT book that translated into a GREAT movie! It's one of my all time favorites. I watch the movie whenever they run it on TV...THAT'S how much I enjoy watching it. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for the Broadway show....sigh...where do I begin? Okay, the sets were wonderful, the singing was wonderful, the costumes were wonderful.....although I found some of Brenda Russell's (of "Piano in the Dark" fame) music a tad bit boring and tedious to sit through my real problem with this show was this:
IT DIDN'T FEEL REAL TO ME.
Does that make sense? I didn't believe a lot of it. I mean when you watch the movie you walk away HATING Mister, his father, Celie's Stepfather and all of the other oppressive characters....I just didn't get that from the play...hell Mister was ALMOST nice at one point. I just didn't feel Celie's pain the way I did in the movie. The added some things that weren't in the book and gave every thing nice tidy endings but the painful element just didn't ring true with me. I didn't feel it in the acting and I didn't feel it in the singing. The hairs on the back of my neck didn't stand up......and they SHOULD have...ya know?
However, I fell in love with the woman who plays Sophia...she was absolutely amazing! She OWNED That character and the chemistry between her and Harpo was very real. I loved the three "town gossips" also. I also enjoyed the Shug Avery character although they added a new relationship for her and I thought the whole plot was unecessary as well as unbelievable. It was nice to see Lou Myers on stage as Mister's father...but he just wasn't mean enough. LaChanze has an AMAZING voice but....and I hope I don't sound crazy here....but LaChanze is not ugly in the least...yeah they dressed her down...but she ain't ugly and EVERYBODY knows that Celie gets beat over the head with that crap her WHOLE LIFE!!! They also flubbed their lines badly during the show I saw. Of course being a "Theater Head" some may take offense to my comments...but I have seen enough shows on Broadway and acted in enough to know a good one from a not so good one.
In the end, I think it has the potential to be a great show....but they should workshop it a little more....they haven't worked out all of the kinks yet.