Okay....so I have been treated like royalty since I've been here in the east coast.....the ultimate treat so far...another bud who has weathered the storm that is my friendship called in a couple of favors and secured two second row seats to the quite sold out broadway show.....The Color Purple. We had a lovely lunch at B. Smiths and then caught the 2:00 showing of the play.
I am so amazed and I stand in such awe of actors in general but theatre actors deserve a pedestal all to themselves. It's so amazing to me how these humans get on stage and perform....twice a day.....as if it were the first time every time. I cried, I laughed I was completely drawn in and overwhelmed with this performance. And let me had how hard a sale it was....I love Alice Walker's book, I love Steven Spielberg's interpretation into the movie...and I mean LURVE...so..I was skeptical. I mean how can there ever be another Shug or Sophia or Celie....we're talking..Margaret Avery....Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg...A beyond tough act to follow. And even though broadway is a whole other vehicle...the expectations of all The Color Purple fans is still high as Mt. Everest. I'm certain I'm not the only one who was a little skeptical..even with Oprah's name attached to the production.
I'll admit I was not feeling the woman who played the role of Sophia (Felicia P. Fields)....a little skeptical of Shug Avery (Elizabeth Winters-Mendes)...but they both are talented and extra-skilled performers who clearly possess the same respect for the book and movie as the masses and were able to encompass their roles and draw the entire theatre. Especially Sophia who received "threshold of pain" amounts of applaud. Harpo (Brandon Victor Dixon) was a great looking guy and he WAS Harpo. Even Mister (Kingsley Leggs) held his own. Mister's father was played by Lou Myers who played Mr. Gaines on A Different world...that was a nice treat. Celie (LaChanze) was good....did what she was supposed to do... but the obvious favorites were...Shug Avery and Sophia.
The role of Nettie was played by an understudy who is a gospel recording artist and part of the Ensemble, Jeannette Bayardelle, and I have to admit I probably like the understudy more just based on complexion...that's right...there's no way I'm accepting a butternut squash Nettie (Renee Elise Goldsberry) over a dark-chocolate one, although the "featured" Nettie is on the soap, One Live to Live and I hear she's great, but because she's taping that show I'm sure she'll miss many of the afternoon showings....I'd like to catch a show with her next because I do intend to see it again and I live in a constant state of "open to being converted" Because I am such a bullheaded fool (I know it).
The Color Purple on Broadway is a well done joyous celebration of life with a fine balance of humor, heartache and triumph. A wonderous event to behold. I hope I can make it back again, again and again.
Next time I can do without the woman seated in front of me (C2), who tested my temper with her disgusting gum popping. Thankfully the performance washed out most of the popping but there were quiet reflective stage moments where Miss Tacky's gross habit tested my patience. Theatre tickets aren't cheap and I didn't pay to hear some fool smacking on gum...I can get that for free on any street corner. It's really a nasty habit people..you look like a cow chewing cud. All of you gum poppers. I've had so many arguments with fools, friends and foes who smack on gum. From strangers on trains to my own sister. For the sake of humankind and your safety......control that S&^%! Because one day, somewhere, someone is going to snap over the snapping of gum. Trust me.