Writer: LeKeisha Edwards
The first trailer for The Color Purple musical remake is here and is capturing hearts everywhere.
The 1985 original version of the film, based on the classic Alice Walker novel, served up an amazing all-star cast that included Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Danny Glover, Margaret Avery, Akosua Basia, and Oprah Winfrey. In a beloved full circle moment, Winfrey now produces the 2023 reboot and the original films director, Steven Spielberg, is also a producer on the remake, along with Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders.
The “bold new take on the beloved classic,” as described by Warner Bros., has an all-star cast as well, with singer and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” breakout actress, Halle Bailey as young Nettie, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Colman Domingo as Mister, Ciara as adult Nettie, H.E.R. as Squeak, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, and Fantasia Barrino as Celie. True to the original and the novel, the reboot according to CNN, “follows the lives and struggles of Black women living in the South in the early 1900’s.” Centering mainly on the character of Celie, the heart-wrenching emotion and tears that come from watching Celie endure abuse by her father and husband are never far out of reach.
Winfrey, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Sofia in the 1985 version, made an appearance at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, to give a small glimpse of the film, sharing with the audience that the 1985 film “was the biggest and most important thing that happened to me.”
The Broadway Playbill for the stage version of “The Color Purple.”
“The Color Purple” was also made into an original Broadway production and ran from December 1, 2005 through February 24, 2008 at the Broadway Theatre, produced by Winfrey as well. The stars included LaChanze as Celie, Brandon Victor Dixon, Felicia P. Fields, Kingsley Leggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Krisha Marcano, and Elizabeth Withers-Mendes. Fantasia is also familiar with the Broadway stage and version of the production as she succeeded Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze in the role of Celie. The production earned 11 Tony nominations.
The stage musical was revived in 2015, and starred Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Jennifer Hudson, earning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and Erivo earning the Tony Award for Best Actress. Danielle Brooks also earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Sofia.
Directed by Blitz Bazawule, the new adaptation is set to premiere in North America on December 25th, and will open internationally beginning January 18, 2024. The allure of the colors, the sounds, the harmony, and the choreography depicted in the trailer, instantly pulls viewers in. Fantasia casts the power of hope through despair as her singing voice hugs the background of the trailer with notes of the song, “I’m Here,” originally performed in the stage musical.
Almost 40 years after the original version, Winfrey was asked about the need to retell “The Color Purple” and Variety noted her poignant reply: “As long as there is a need for self-discovery, self-empowerment, as long as there is a need for victory in someone’s life, as long as there is a need for people to know what it feels like to be loved up and to be made full and hold to somebody else’s love, there will be a need for ‘The Color Purple.’”