Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-10-07
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Theater: The Color Purple

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

The Color Purple. Photo by Paul Kolnik


By: Marsha Norman, book; Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, score

At: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph

Phone: 312-902-1400; $28-$85

Through July 22


Anybody who is anybody in Chicago knows that The Color Purple is the must-see event of the theater season.

Die-hard Oprah Winfrey fans will feel her sense of pride at the homecoming for the 2005 Broadway musical version of The Color Purple, now launching its national tour at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre. Chicago's media sensation talk show host was nominated for an Academy Award as Sophia in Stephen Spielberg's 1985 film version of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, catapulting Winfrey to super-stardom ( she's also got her name attached as the show's big-name producer ) .

There's also a civic pride angle to The Color Purple with its Chicago homecoming for director Gary Griffin and Tony Award-nominated actress Felicia P. Fields ( playing Sofia ) . Both of these long-time local theater stalwarts made their critically acclaimed Broadway debuts with this show.

And then there's the pop celebrity factor to the Chicago production. Michelle Williams, a 'Survivor' of the now defunct trio Destiny's Child, has fun starring as the loose honky-tonk singer Shug Avery ( though she's a tad too skinny for my vision of the voluptuous chanteuse ) . American Idol'diva fans can also get their fix, with finalist LaToya London ( from the same season that spawned Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson and winner Fantasia Barrino ) starring as the devoted sister Nettie.

Yeah, yeah, the civic pride and celebrity angles are all great, but what about the show itself you might ask?

Well, you're definitely going to love the Miss Celie of Jeannette Bayardelle. Going from a sexually and physically abused African-American girl ( at the hands of Rufus Bonds, Jr.'s villainous husband, Mister ) to a successful businesswoman with a strong sense of self, sexuality and love of God, Bayardelle's Celie is truly the most moving performance and overall dimension of the show.

The rest of the cast also pile on mountain-loads of performance energy and a prideful love to be part of The Color Purple, particularly in the aforementioned turns by London, Williams and Fields ( who pairs nicely with a spunky Stu James, who plays Sofia's husband, Harpo ) .

My major problem with The Color Purple is it all feels too rushed. In adapting Walker's glorious novel, the show's writing team of playwright Marsha Norman, with songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray all seem pressured to include practically every incident from the novel.

That's OK for completist fans, but you'll need to pay close attention if you're a Color Purple newbie. The speedy steamrolling of each intricate plot points feels like a race to beat the clock instead of allowing the audience to fully luxuriate in the characters' emotional revelations.

Aside from its panting pace, The Color Purple works as an unabashedly embracing and emotional experience. It's got powerhouse singing, a sturdy staging and, most importantly, a message of love triumphing over life's hardships.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Northlight Theatre takes audiences to 'Charm' school 2015-10-07
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Creating 'Charm' 2015-10-07
Upcoming theater: 'Avenue Q'; 'Honeymoon' 2015-10-07
THEATER REVIEW East of Eden 2015-10-07
THEATER REVIEW Sucker Punch 2015-10-07
THEATER REVIEW Scream, Queen, Scream! 2015-10-07
THEATER REVIEW A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2015-10-07
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-10-07
BOOKS Read this! Chatting with 'I Hope My Mother...' author Greg Scarnici 2015-10-07
THEATER All Girl Dracula: Interview with the vampire and a director 2015-10-07
Upcoming: Dance judge to host event; 50 States; fusion dance concert; Katrina play 2015-10-06
THEATER REVIEW Love and Information 2015-10-06
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Matt Leisy: A perfect 'Gentleman' 2015-10-06
Newly eligible theaters take Equity Jeff awards 2015-10-05
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT A 'Marvin's Room' milestone 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Disgraced 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Miss Buncle's Book 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Funnyman 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Gem of the Ocean 2015-09-30
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-30
Charm play features look at transgender charm school 2015-09-29
Chicago Humanities Fest presents Four Women: Josephine, Eartha, Nina and Tina 2015-09-24
THEATER REVIEW The Revel 2015-09-23
Theater: Now on stage and soon to open 2015-09-23
Jane Lynch dates rescheduled 2015-09-23
Chicago Theater still thrives, still evergreen 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW Dogfight 2015-09-23
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW The Tempest 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW Side Show 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW The Producers 2015-09-23
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Silk Road's many strands 2015-09-23
Harris Theater: World premiere with Renee Fleming, Patricia Barber 2015-09-22
Alexandra Billings to headline PFP's Simply Sensational Benefit 2015-09-22
Victory Gardens Theater launches Directors Inclusion Initiative 2015-09-18
Trans rally at movie theater Sept. 20 2015-09-18
FALL THEATER SPECIAL Premieres galore 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW Katrina: Mother-in- Law of 'em All 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW American Idiot 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW How the World Began 2015-09-16

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.