Oh, Oprah, just when we were becoming annoyed with your television empire, that book club, and your political backslapping, we love you all over again. Your steady hand in guiding Alice Walkers Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple onto Broadway in 2005, and finally toward the stage at Gammage Auditorium, brings us much joy.
The story is pretty traditional. The heroine, a young woman named Celie (Jeannette Bayardelle), overcomes adversity, fulfills herself as a woman, and finally sings this verse from Im Here: Im thankful for loving who I really am/Im beautiful, yes, Im beautiful, and Im here. Heck, were gonna say that 12 times a day.
We read the novel and sat spellbound before Spielbergs 1985 film, which garnered young upstart Winfrey an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the lionhearted Sofia. But it was the movies startling musical score of ragtime, blues, gospel, and jazz that brought the goosebumps.