Cynthia Erivo Stars as Celie with Co-Star Jennifer Hudson
The London Menier Chocolate Factory production of The Color Purple has transferred to Broadway in an acclaimed revival. Cynthia Erivo, the British actress (UK Tour of Sister Act) transferred with the production to New York, where she is excitingly entering the scene. The revival has been making quite a splash, with all major critics giving a rave response to the production, which opened this past week at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Directed by John Doyle (The Visit, A Catered Affair, Company, Sweeney Todd), the multitalented creative artist also choreographed the musical staging, and has furthermore was the scenic designer. Doyle has even been known to costume design, although for this production the costumes were by Ann Hould-Ward. Beyond this, the lighting was by Jane Cox, the sound designer was Gregory Clarke, and the musical director was John Michael Webb. With a book by Marsha Norman based off the novel by Alice Walker, the musical has music andl lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times said “Hallelujah” for this revival of The Color Purple, deeming it a glory to behold and calling Cynthia Erivo an incandescent new star alongside enchanting Jennifer Hudson. Adam Feldman of Time Out New York remarks that the women in this revival are slimmer and more confident than the premiere production a decade ago, deeming the musical now to have blossomed into a classic. David Rooney from the Hollywood Reporter finds the production more focused than the original, finding the cast electric and in particular Cynthia Erivo to be transcendent and deeply satisfying. Marilyn Stasio of Variety remarks that the ladies wear pants, calling Jennifer Hudson radiant, Danielle Brooks earthy and house-shaking, and Cynthia Erivo a tiny pint of dynamite. Jeremy Gerard from Deadline agrees that this is a great triumphal surprise, deciding that this revival allows the already formidable production to enter greatness.
The Box Office is Rising but Not Yet a Steady Hit
As word of mouth is spreading, this musical is showing positive signs at the box office. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending December 20, 2015, The Color Purple brought in $854,716, or 82.09% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $193.00, the average paid admission has been $104.59, and average audience capacity has been at 97.2%. Over the course of eight performances, the show has the potential to bring in $1,041,204, so there is a still a ways to go before reaching financial hit status. Nevertheless, at this rate, the show will steadily work towards recoupment, and in any case, the critical acclaim has dignified this production with hit status, whether or not the box office catches up in the near future. The show is presently scheduled for an open-ended run. The lead producer is Scott Sanders Productions (After Midnight, Evita, The Pee-Wee Herman Show), along with Roy Furman, Oprah Winfrey, and David Babani of the Menier Chocolate Factory.
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