It was 30 years ago this year that “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker’s powerful novel, was originally published. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for fiction; it went on to be adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg. As a Broadway production — originally produced by Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones — the musical ran for two years and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards.
The national tour of the Broadway play “The Color Purple” comes to Three Stages at Folsom College for three performances next month.
“‘‘The Color Purple’ is such a powerful, uplifting piece of musical theater,” said Executive Director Dave Pier. “It translates beautifully — into music, into stagecraft, into the Broadway motif — and will be a special experience in the intimacy of Three Stages.”
The unforgettable, inspiring story is that of a woman named Celie who finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. With a joyous, Grammy-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, “The Color Purple” is about hope and the healing power of love.
Part of the musical’s power is built from the epic scope of the original work: “The Color Purple” takes place over a 40-year period. It begins in 1911 as young sisters Celie and Nettie play a hand-clapping game in a field. They leave their game and join the residents of their rural Georgia community, heading to church on Sunday morning. Celie, age 14, is pregnant with her second child. The two sisters are separated by their cruel father; Nettie vows to write to Celie — only death will keep her from it.
With memorable characters — Celie (originally played in the film by Whoopi Goldberg), Mister (played in the film by Danny Glover), Sofia (played in the film by Opera Winfrey), Harpo, Shug Avery, Swain (played in the film by Laurence Fishburne), Gradie and Squeak — a libretto by the Pulitzer Prize winning author Marsha Norman (who was awarded her Pulitzer Prize for “‘night, Mother” the same day Alice Walker won her Pulitzer for “The Color Purple”) plus a Grammy-nominated soundtrack built from a rich period in American music, “It celebrates inspiring relationships of faith and love … a Broadway hit!” (USA Today).
“The Color Purple” will perform in Three Stages on April 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $59, with premium tickets available for $69; they are available online at www.threestages.net or from Three Stages ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Three Stages is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.