|Carla R. Stewart & Adrianna Hicks|
The North American Tour of the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple has returned to Philadelphia as part of Broadway Philadelphia, presented collaboratively by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and The Shubert Organization. It has an interesting minimalistic set comprised of chairs hanging on wooden columns at the back of the stage of the Forrest Theater and steps around the other sides of the stage. Three incomparable women from the 2016 Broadway revival lead the touring company- Adrianna Hicks as Celie, Carla R. Stewart as Shug Avery and Carrie Compere as Sofia. All three have exceptional talent and each has marvelous stage presence. but Adrianna Hicks steals the show in the second act when she finds “her voice” and the audience roars its appreciation. Gavin Gregory does a first-rate job of portraying the “Mister” you’ll love to hate as he abuses Celie, his 14 year old “ugly wife”. There is a dazzling three-woman chorus who appear intermittently, simultaneously singing, gossiping and chattering away. There are many delightful musical numbers with beautiful harmonies throughout the performance. One of the most effective numbers in the entire musical, however, is the rendition of “Hell No!” led by Carrie Compere as Sofia. It is a great motivation to spur the audience to chime in and chant “Hell No” as well, decrying situations where women allow themselves to be victims of abuse. This phenomenal production of The Color Purple runs evenings through Sunday, December 17, 2017, with additional matinee performances both Saturday and Sunday.