Play Review: “The Color Purple” delights audiences in Detroit

The cast of "The Color Purple." Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017.

DETROIT — The musical, The Color Purple, has arrived at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit for six days only.  It won two Tony Awards in 2016, including Best Revival of a Musical and two Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Revival of a Musical.  The revival also won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

The Color Purple is a tale about the life of Celie, played by Adrianna Hicks, an African-American woman living in the South who survives abuse, sexism and bigotry and about her journey to independence.

Celie is impregnated twice by her father, who gives both children away saying she is too young to care for her children.  Her father eventually marries her off to a man named Mister, played by Gavin Gregory.  But Mister wanted to marry her pretty sister, Nettie, played by N’Jameh Camara.  He says Celie is ugly, poor and black.  Nettie then leaves her father’s house and runs to Celie’s.  Mister tries to force himself on her and Nettie runs away and Celie, who hasn’t heard from her,  thinks she’s dead.

Celie’s friend, Shug Avery, played by Carla R. Stewart, a beautiful blues singer, stays at her house.  Celie finds herself attracted to her.  They kiss.    Shug finds a stack of Nettie’s letters in Celie’s house, which Mister has kept hidden for years.  Nettie, in those letters, explains she has been a missionary in Africa and is taking care of Celie’s two children.  Celie then sings a song that “Nellie is alive.”  Other songs include “Mysterious Ways”, “Too Beautiful for Words”, Miss Celie’s Pants” and “The Color Purple.”

I enjoyed the storyline and what a story it was!  With a score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, there is something for everyone.

The Color Purple lasted two hours and twenty minutes with a 20-minute intermission.  The set was simple:  a bunch of wooden chairs.

Tickets start at $39 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 800-982-2787 or online at  Performances at the Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 West Grand Blvd., in Detroit are:

  •  Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Overall Rating:  A 


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