Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SEEING 'PURPLE' | Musical Based on Alice Walker's Novel Touches an Emotional Nerve with the Talent Bringing It to the Stage

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SEEING 'PURPLE' | Musical Based on Alice Walker's Novel Touches an Emotional Nerve with the Talent Bringing It to the Stage

Article excerpt

Actors sometimes take roles just for the paychecks__ they offer, but then there are shows like "The Color__ Purple" that provide a salary along with an emotion-ally__ resonant experience on stage.__ "I just love what it's about and what it has to say," said__ James Harkness, who is directing and choreographing the__ musical that opens the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's__ 16th season. "It's about taking that journey and learning__ to accept the things that come into your path. Sometimes__ things come into your path for good and sometimes for bad,__ but you have to learn how to accept those things so you can__ understand the growth. You can't know what a good day is__ if you never have a bad day."

The musical has been an__ important part of Harkness'__ life since he was cast in a tryout__ run at the Alliance Theatre in__ Atlanta in 2004. He was later__ in the ensemble of the show's__ nearly three-year Broadway__ run. (He later was featured__ in Florida Studio Theatre's__ 2012-13 production of__ "Smokey Joe's Cafe.")__ "The Color Purple" has__ been inspiring people since__ author Alice Walker's novel__ was published

in 1982.__ It later became a much-praised__ film in 1985 with__ Whoopi Goldberg as a__ young woman named__ Celie, who suffers abuse__ and heartache for years__ before finding herself and__ her voice and discovering__ what happiness is and can__ be.__ "I love the story of Celie.__ Aside from the journey and__ learning that she's capable__ of standing on her own and__ making her own decisions, she also__ understands what love is, what__ passion is," Harkness said. "We__ all want love in our life. We're all__ looking for love in out life."

Tarra Conner jones,__ the big-voiced singer__ who returns for her third__ Westcoast show, said__ "there's something just__ very special that you__ can't quite explain about__ the show. But when__ you're in it, you feel it."__ She appeared last season__ in ""Black Nativity" and__ "Cotton Club Cabaret,"__ and previously played the__ character of Sophia, Celie's__ close friend, at the Alhambra__ Theatre in Jacksonville.__ She said a "change happens__ to you in the process of__ the show because it deals__ with the theme of love. In__ spite of rejection, in spite of__ abuse, in spite of the ugli- ness__ of that time, love came__ through all of that. It's just__ really powerful to see and__ just to be in that moment__ and getting the opportunity__ to tell this story again."__ Apphia Campbell, a__ founding member of the__ Westcoast troupe, is looking__ forward to sharing__ such experiences as she__ returns home to Sarasota to__ play Celie, a part she won__ through an online audition__ that was both nerve-wracking__ and comforting.__ "It was hard reading__ the scenes back and forth,__ trying to play off this actor__ over Skype, because there's__ a pause and a delay so you__ can't react as quickly,"__ Campbell said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.