*It did not matter that there were more famous names in the audience on opening night of The Color Purple at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood than there were on stage. The tour of the Tony-winning hit Broadway musical, based on the novel by Alice Walker and the movie of the same name, is without name recognition or elaborate scenery.
In fact, the scenery is nothing more than three wooden panels and some chairs. At first, I wondered how it would work, but it did not take long for me to stop focusing on the insignificant. My attention was quickly diverted to the actors and their ability to belt out songs like nobody’s business.
The musical, like the book and movie, tells the coming of age and the enlightenment of Celie (Adrianna Hicks), a young African American girl who had her two babies, both sired by her own father (J.D. Webster), stripped away from her and who was subsequently forced to marry Mister (Gavin Gregory), only to become nothing more than an abused servant and semen repository.
With the help of two strong women, Sophia (Carrie Compere) and Shug Avery (Carla R. Stewart), Celie learns self-love, gains strength, finds self-esteem and becomes a woman who proclaims, “I’m Here!”