Greenway Court’s The Color Purple, and the Midterms, Give Platforms to Heroic Women

April Nixon (center) as “Shug” & The Company of The Color Purple = Photos by Darrett Sanders

The midterm elections saw these positive and amazing changes: the first two Native American and first two Muslim women going to Congress; the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts, along with the first Latina Congresswoman from Texas, and the youngest Woman (a Latina) elected to Congress; and, additionally, while only about 10% of the House was female after the 1992 election, the Congress seated in January 2019 will be nearly a quarter female (100 plus).

All these women have overcome great odds and persistent patriarchy to change their lives and in the process, the face of our socio political systems. Their lived experience is at the very core of their platforms.

Now, we have a case of art gloriously imitating life with L.A.’s Greenway Court Theatre’s new production of Tony Award-winning musical, The Color Purple.

Whitney Weston, Greenway Arts Alliance Co-Founder describes it as a “story of redemption and empowerment that’s “particularly relevant in today’s political climate.” Greenway’s fellow co-founder Pierson Blaetz continues, “The heart of the story is about a woman who is constantly confronted by men who knock her down yet she finds strength in a community of women to overcome the hatred and ignorance that surrounds her. She finds her place in this world without relying on the patriarchs that abused her.”

Blaetz adds:

“We feel fortunate that our production is directed and choreographed by NAACP Theater Award-winner Jeffrey Polk (Smokey Joe’s Café), who helps bring this powerful story to life on our stage. This show is such a rare opportunity to see a big cast, big musical in an intimate theater. We have two actors from the original Tony award-winning Broadway production and many other cast members with Broadway credits. The show is big but the story is complex and layered. It’s so fun to be a few feet away from these amazing performers tackling such rich material.”

Director and choreographer Polk enthuses:

“I’m so proud of this stellar cast that we put together all local and within our community, including the immensely talented Carol Dennis, Lynette DuPree, April Nixon, and Aaron Braxton. I’m also thrilled to have collaborated with internationally renowned composer, pianist, conductor, orchestrator and musical director Patrick Gandy who has worked with such great artists as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Dianne Reeves. That is just the beginning of the greatness and the talent of this cast and this production team. Together we tell the story of The Color Purple through Alice Walker’s novel as we give it the music and life to move the audience.”

Indeed, the airy but cozy Greenway Court Theatre in the heart of Hollywood, allows the spectacular choreography, singing, and actors’ performances to shine. And, this intimacy allows the audience to experience the journey with the performers.

On stage and in life, it appears that the new year of women continues as a “pink wave” wakes us up to the everyday lived experiences of women everywhere.

The Color Purple is an inspiring family saga that tells the unforgettable story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. This musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-°© winning novel (and the popular 1985 Steven Spielberg film) spotlights Celie, a downtrodden young woman whose personal awakening over the course of 40 years forms the arc of this epic story. With a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel, African music and blues,

The Color Purple runs through December 9, 2018 at the Greenway Court Theatre.

Award-winning journalist-author-blogger for Playboy, TO Star, Movie Entertainment, HuffPost, Hello Canada & my novel REJEX (Pulp Hero Press) is on Amazon.

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