GUYS! I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve the shows I’ve seen recently but I’m thankful! This has been by far the most diverse theatre season I’ve been able to witness. It’s incredible to see artist of color onstage together. The truth is it doesn’t happen very often but when it does it’s mindblowing!
“The Color Purple” Broadway revival national tour is a prime example of the mindblowingness of this (yep I made up a word). A show comprised fully of black people?!? It was like Christmas for me because it’s important to see people like me on stage. People that look like me, sound like me, dance, and even act like me. having that time of representation is monumental in the development of young artists.
I really want to emphasize how important it is to tell these stories but also tell new ones. It’s crazy that everyone in the cast has done either Once on This Island, Ragtime, or Hairspray. Those THREE shows every person in the cast has more than likely done 2/3. People, we must write our own stories. You can’t wait for someone to write your dream role when you can write it yourself.
Off the top I already knew what I was walking into with this tour. I went opening night which means that after the show I was bombarded with questions about the cast. I knew there was going to be one that literally everyone asked. “IS SHE AS GOOD AS CYNTHIA?” every single person that asked about the show asked that question.
I can’t imagine how tough it is for performers playing iconic roles to get over themselves. Not in a bragging way but you have to remove yourself and tell the story in only a way you can. Whether it’s Coalhouse in Ragtime, Mark in Rent, or Burr in Hamilton. Every person to play a role must put themselves aside and tell the story truthfully. So, I’ll say it now, Ms. Adrianna Hicks is brilliant in this role and I respect her not emulating Cynthia but telling the story her own way.
If you read my reviews, you know I ALWAYS shoutout the heart and the heartbeat of a show: The creatives and the ensemble. Obviously, this is a Tony nominated and winning creative team, so we already know they did their part. But MAN, oh man did the ensemble come to show OWT! I’m in love with this cast.
It is easy to see they have as much fun onstage as we do watching them. Shout-out to the SWING NATION on this tour too. I see you Nyla, Clyde, Michael and Nikisha! The ensemble creates the world of the show but when someone can’t be there swings save the world. These actors in the ensemble are just too beautiful for words (see what I did there?). to these brilliant actors who aren’t always recognized, I thank you.
They are working hard and what you don’t see is that almost all of them understudy someone else. When you’re seeing “some guy” in the ensemble he could be on for Harpo or Mister that night. It’s crazy to think about it that way but that’s why this is work. It takes hard work, dedication, and patience. I applaud you all and thank you for giving so much of yourselves to this show.
Now let’s get into this breakdown!
N’Jameh Camara as Nettie: Her character doesn’t get a lot of time on stage but when she’s on she’s powerful. She is strong, she has this gaze that’s scarier than looking down the barrell of a gun and I love it!
Daughtry as Harpo: I’m going to salute this brother on the fact that he is not only a lead on the tour BUT he’s the dance captain as well. Guys this means he has to know every dance happening on stage and has to be able to correct every wrong step. I respect that tremendously. On top of that brotha can SANG! His comedic timing was perfect too! He’s really an all-around triple threat.
Gavin Gregory as Mister: I just want to know what legendary roles hasn’t this man played? He’s been in shows like The Lion King, Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, Kinky Boots and the list goes on and on. This man worked for his check. His performance was rooted in something real because it’s easy to play a character as a bad guy. But his approach was deeper than that and that’s something you don’t see too often.
NOW TO THE WOMEN THAT TORE DOWN THE HOUSE!
Carrie Compere as Sofia: Can we just talk about how incredible and talented this woman is?!? She was everything! Mother gave us vocal acrobatics, literal acrobatic, and didn’t break a sweat the whole time. She keeps the boat afloat. Every time there’s a down beat in the scene she’s there to pick it back up. Y’all I love this woman and her dedication.
Carla R. Stewart as Shug Avery: I liked this approach to the character. Her Shug was real to me and I felt what she said every time she spoke. I really like Carla’s voice! There’s just something about the clarity of it. Her vocals are crystal clear and precise. They’re thick but not heavy and can float without sinking I love it and I’m obsessed. It’s the 4k HD of voices, so clear you could touch it and that’s mind blowing to me.
Adrianna Hicks as Celie: the whole night all I could think in my head was “YES MA’AM”. I love her Celie it’s not carbon copy of Cynthia, Lachanze, Whoopie, or any other person that has played the role before. I love how she played the journey. The blossoming of this character is an arc that is iconic is pop culture and she does it justice. She’s not who you’d think would be cast after Cynthia but she was the perfect choice.
To the Color Purple touring cast, Thank You for telling this story and helping this young artist refocus himself. Go see it now playing until Oct. 29, 2017 at the Fox Theatre. https://atlanta.broadway.com/