The Color Purple

Isidingo's "Gabriel" Aubrey Poo cast in the musical opening at Joburg Theatre from 31 January 2018

“What is set to be the highlight of the South African theatre calendar in 2018,” says Bernard Jay, Executive Producer of the South African premier production of the musical The Color Purple, “will thrill, excite, engage, enthral and emote audiences like no other musical before it.”

The Color Purple is glorious amongst musicals in that it entertains and ultimately uplifts audiences to a state of sheer joy, whilst taking them on a passionate journey of an inspiring family saga – telling the unforgettable story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world.

The musical The Color Purple is based upon the 1982 novel written by Alice Walker and the 1985 motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. The musical’s book is by Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Set to a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, it’s a story of hope – a testament to the healing power of love and a celebration of life.

“When I saw the recent revival of The Color Purple on Broadway, I witnessed an extraordinary involvement of emotions between the actors and the audience, culminating in a five-minute standing ovation and many patrons simply weeping with joy. The audience didn’t want to leave the theatre after the show. They waited for the actors to come into the auditorium so they could hug together and rejoice in their happiness for each other,” says Jay. “We are now eager for South African audiences to share the same celebratory experience.”

The Color Purple the musical will be presented by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay on the stage of The Nelson Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre, with an official opening date set for Sunday February 4th 2018. The season will continue until Sunday March 4th. The producers have already spent four years negotiating for the rights and preparing for this South African theatrical coup: the first major international staging of the musical following the 2015 Broadway revival.

The outstanding all-South African creative team assembled by the producers will be helmed by internationally acclaimed, award-winning director Janice Honeyman. The musical direction is by Rowan Bakker, choreography by Oscar Buthelezi, production design by Sarah Roberts, lighting design by Mannie Manim and sound design by Richard Smith.

The cast features (in alphabetical order) Zane Gillion, Didintle Khunou, Sebe Leotlela, Dolly Louw, Andile Magxaki, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri, Venolia Manale, Namisa Mdlalose, Phumi Mncayi, Neo Motaung, Lerato Mvelase, Tshepo Ncokoane, Thokozani Nzima, Funeka Peppeta, Aubrey Poo, Senzesihle Radebe, Lelo Ramasimong, Zolani Shangase, Ayanda Sibisi and Lebo Toko.

“I promise that South African audiences will laugh, will cry, will cheer,” says Bernard Jay, “but they will never forget The Color Purple.”


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