Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Broward Center: The Color Purple (2 reviews)

The National Tour of The Color Purple opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on April 6, 2010.
...a soul-stirring musical based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg. It is the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who triumphs over tremendous odds to find joy in life, and her true inner beauty.
Gary Griffin directed a cast that includes Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Pam Trotter, Taprena Augustine, Edward C. Smith, Lee Edward Colstion II, Traci Allen, Allison Semmes, Deaun Parker, Virginia Stanton, Nesha Ward, Phillip Brandon, Keith Adams, and Kadejah One.

The show was reviewed at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts earlier this season, but there are many cast changes.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
The rousing, moving musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel sold out most of its week-long run at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts when it kicked off the current season last fall. It's back now, playing two weeks at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, but with a difference: This production features an all-new, nonunion cast.
Key members of the design team -- John Lee Beatty, who created the folk art-inspired sets; Paul Tazewell, responsible for the decade-traversing costumes; Brian MacDevitt, who brought a painter's eye to his lighting design -- remain the same. As on Broadway, this production was directed by Gary Griffin and choreographed by Donald Byrd...
The quality of work in non-Equity productions can vary widely, but these actors are talented, experienced performers with big voices and the ability to fully deliver a sprawling, harrowing, finally joyous story.
Dantzler's voice may not have the belting power of some who have played Celie, but she delivers a compelling performance as a resilient woman whose trials lead her to an emotionally overwhelming reconnection with family and faith.

Her work is complemented by actor after actor: Allen's angelic Nettie, Pam Trotter's take-no-bull Sofia, Lee Edward Colston II's sweet Harpo, Augustine's irresistible Shug. Kadejah Oné brings killer pipes to the part of the church soloist, and as the three church ladies, Nesha Ward, Virlinda Stanton and Deaun Parker pull off some hilarious and vocally intricate gossip-mongering. artfully delivered musical...
Rod Stafford Hagwood reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
The Color Purple is a vibrant, sweeping musical that manages to retain a sense of buoyancy … somehow.  The harmonies are as tight as two coats of paint, even when almost sabotaged by patchy sound and spotty lighting on opening night.
Another pitfall averted is the representation of rural blacks during Jim Crow, which here is balanced just right. Any time it got to close to some stock stereotypical characterization, you could sense the show's leads pulling back gently on the reins.
...the triumphant triumvirate of Dayna Jarae Dantzler as Celie, Taprena Augustine as Shug Avery and Pam Trotter as Sofia – at times so powerful, so engaging, so irresistible they seem elemental.

Those three, and a strong, Olympian-voiced supporting cast headed by Edward C. Smith as Mister and Lee Edward Colston II as Harpo, keep The Color Purple effervescent…
The Color Purple plays at the Broward Center through April 18, 2010.

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