THE SOUTH AFRICAN PREMIÈRE PRODUCTION OF THE COLOR PURPLE
The South African première production of the Tony Award Winning Musical, The Color Purple, will open on Sunday February 4th 2018 in The Mandela at Joburg Theatre.
The musical will be produced by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay.
Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, Chief Executive Officer of Joburg City Theatres, is excited about the city’s foremost stage hosting and co-producing what is sure to be the major theatrical event in South Africa’s 2018 calendar. She saw the original version on Broadway a few years ago and is looking forward to the revival production with an all-star SA cast.
The Color Purple is based upon the 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker and the 1985 Warner Bros / Amblin Entertainment Motion Picture, directed by Steven Spielberg. The musical The Color Purple, with a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, was originally produced on Broadway in 2005 by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman and Quincy Jones. The current Broadway revival, enjoying great success boosted by its major Tony Award wins earlier this year, is a ‘stripped-down’ and re-conceived staging.
The book and musical arrangements from this Broadway production will be used in an otherwise new and original staging by director Janice Honeyman at Joburg Theatre in 2018, showcasing the talents of a completely South African creative team, cast and band.
The cast consists of a high calibre of performers, including Didintle Khunou as Celie, Lerato Mvelase as Shug Avery, as well as Zane Gillion, Sebe Leotlela (as Nettie), Dolly Louw, Andile Magxaki, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri (as Harpo), Venolia Manale, Namisa Mdlalose, Phumi Mncayi, Neo Motaung (as Sofia), Tshepo Ncokoane, Thokozani Nzima, Funeka Peppeta, Aubrey Poo (as Mister), Senzesihle Radebe, Lelo Ramasimong, Zolani Shangase, Ayanda Sibisi and Lebo Toko.
The Color Purple is not just the story of a poor, pregnant 14-year-old with nobody to talk to but her sister and God. It is an inspiring family saga that tells the unforgettable story of a woman who – through love – finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. Set to a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, it’s a story of hope: a testament to the healing power of love and a celebration of life.
“The musical The Color Purple does not shy away from the brutal realities of its origin,” says Bernard Jay, executive producer of the South African production. “It addresses themes of sexism, racism, the disruption of traditional gender roles, women’s rights and sisterhood – themes with which South Africans live and grapple on a day-to-day basis. The Color Purple, although a vitally important contribution to African American history, will be startlingly relevant to today’s theatre audiences in South Africa.”
The producers advise that this musical may not be suitable for children under ten years of age.
RADA (an acronym for rape, alcohol, drug, and abuse), is a non-profit company that aims to take positive, meaningful and effective action to combat life’s atrocities, many of which are addressed in the play.
Bernard Jay, executive producer of the musical in South Africa, thought it would be a good idea to collaborate with RADA in order to create awareness around the very issues raised in the story of The Color Purple. Jay explains, “I want to inspire people beyond watching a story of the human spirit. By collaborating with RADA, we aim to create further awareness of these issues and atrocities against women, and hope to give people the courage to fight and overcome their own nightmares.”
J-P Nobrega, founder of RADA, adds, “We are extremely proud to collaborate with the incredible cast and unbelievable team that breaths life to The Color Purple. In its simplest form, RADA aims to spread a message of love and empowerment. By the same token, The Color Purple epitomises this message and encompasses a story of incredible achievement through terrible adversity. The musical so brilliantly conveys how a person can reinvent themselves no matter life’s difficulties. It therefore makes perfect sense to combine forces and inspire a nation.”
The Color Purple and RADA will be collaborating and participating in various outreach projects to further spread the message of hope to South Africans within the themes of the musical and according to the principals of RADA.
“THIS RAVISHING PRODUCTION”
The New York Times
“ONE OF THE GREATEST REVIVALS EVER!”
New York Magazine
“IT’S HERE, AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL”
Time Out New York
“MY SPIRIT WAS PROFOUNDLY MOVED”
Los Angeles Times
“NEVER WAS THERE SUCH STAMPING, CHEERING,
HOOTING, ROARING AND WHISTLING…
IT ROCKS THE HOUSE!”
The Times, London
“SOMETHING TRULY EXTRAORDINARY”
The Stage, UK
“THE MUSICAL NUMBERS ALMOST BLOW THE ROOF OFF THE THEATRE!”
“THIS IS A SHOW THAT PIERCES AND SHAKES THE SOUL!”
“UPLIFTING AND HEART CAPTURING!”
Time Out London
The musical will have preview performances in The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from January 31st 2018, with its official opening night on Sunday February 4th and running until Sunday March 4th 2018.