Purple Reign

The Color Purple is a musical that wants us to arrive at the theater already familiar with its story, most of which has been swept away as keenly as a “colored” maid might have “rid up” the floor of the kitchen, circa 1932. And because little is left of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in this Broadway blockbuster version, it helps to know, before settling into your seat, that this is a story of a tormented black woman who eventually overcomes true hardship, and not simply, as its many shiny ads proclaim, “the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who finds her unique voice in the world.” Walker’s story is as much about pain as it is about pleasure of redemption, a fact largely overlooked by the musical’s authors, among them the singer/songwriter Brenda Russell.

Theater League’s production of this show, which recently ended a five-year national tour, performs at the Mesa Arts Center.

Tue., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2010
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela