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The Color Purple


edjames
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Run to the Jacobs theater on 45th Street and see this show!

 

I was mesmerized by the cast of this wonderful musical.

 

We've all seen the 1985 movie and there might be a few out there that saw the original 2005 Broadway production. This new production directed by John Doyle brings his clever directorial eye on focusing the musical on it's characters and music. Stripped bare of any sets, the action takes place on a wooden platform with a wall of chairs as a backdrop. The music by Brenda Russell, Allie Willis and Stephen Bray is lovely.

 

Originally produced by the Menier Chocolate factory in the West End in 2013, this production stars Cynthia Erivo as Celie, from the original London cast, and now includes Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery. These woman are amazing. Ms Erivo is captivating and has a voice that is incredible. I cannot say enough good things about her.

 

An amazing show...just give 'em all Tonys!

 

ED

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This new production directed by John Doyle brings his clever directorial eye on focusing the musical on its characters and music. Stripped bare of any sets, the action takes place on a wooden platform with a wall of chairs as a backdrop.

 

Though I'm very happy that you enjoyed the show, I personally think Doyle is a sham. ALL of his productions employ similar kinds of "stripped down" looks and concepts - sometimes with the actors attempting to play the score as well, sometimes not. I don't think he has any directorial eye whatsoever, "clever" or not. He's a one-trick pony, and every show I've seen him do has been ruined by his meddling.

 

But Ed, if you enjoyed it, good. ;)

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Though I'm very happy that you enjoyed the show, I personally think Doyle is a sham. ALL of his productions employ similar kinds of "stripped down" looks and concepts - sometimes with the actors attempting to play the score as well, sometimes not. I don't think he has any directorial eye whatsoever, "clever" or not. He's a one-trick pony, and every show I've seen him do has been ruined by his meddling.

 

But Ed, if you enjoyed it, good. ;)

 

I mostly agree with Bostonman. I loved Doyle's Peter Grimes at the MET -- and I know that's a minority view -- but absolutely hated, loathed, and despised his Sweeney Todd which, for me, completely destroyed that amazing score. Of course, it was critically acclaimed but that the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome. Everything he's done since then has been just more of the same.

 

As for the Color Purple as a show. It ranks right up there with Big River. Enough Said.

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I mostly agree with Bostonman. I loved Doyle's Peter Grimes at the MET -- and I know that's a minority view -- but absolutely hated, loathed, and despised his Sweeney Todd which, for me, completely destroyed that amazing score. Of course, it was critically acclaimed but that the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome. Everything he's done since then has been just more of the same.

 

As for the Color Purple as a show. It ranks right up there with Big River. Enough Said.

 

Ha! I'm actually rather fond of Big River. I don't think it's perfect by any means (e.g. too long, major "second act trouble"), but I do like Roger Miller's score, which is both quirky and touching. (And fun to play.)

 

And I hated Doyle's Grimes. After what I remember being a lot of hype that he had all this personal connection to the piece, having lived in the boroughs, etc - his only physical image for the production turned out to be this giant wall, with windows for the townsfolk to pop out of, à la Laugh In or Hee Haw. Which allowed the production to accommodate his one limited direction style of having actors isolated from each other, never allowed to interact. Which makes for one hell of a boring evening of music theatre, even when that evening is filled with great singing and Britten's emotional score. (In fact, I never thought it possible to drain the emotional impact from this amazing piece, but Doyle did just that.) Though certainly it could have been worse - he could have replaced the Met orchestra by having the singers play their own instruments...

 

We agree about Sweeney. Though I did admire the orchestration on its own terms. But it needed to be played by dedicated musicians, not actors who could play - or in many cases, who could sorta play - the music. And all of the cuts to the score - many designed to inhibit applause to keep the piece going - were ultimately very destructive. The physical production was confusing and too "symbolic" (that damned metaphorical white casket, etc), and as always, Doyle's seeming insistence that actors never ever ever ever acknowledge each other onstage in any way was both infuriating and dramatically deadening. (His subsequent stab at Company used all the same gimmicky tricks - except in this case, the not-quite-as-good reorchestrations were not well played at all.)

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