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About The Color Purple
About the Production

When producer Scott Sanders first hatched the notion of turning The Color Purple into a Broadway show, naysayers had a field day. Sure, the material was rich: Alice Walker’s novel was without question ensconced in the American literary canon – it’s a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, has sold more than five million copies, and is to this day among the top five most reread books in America...

But some skeptics wondered how musical theater would treat a story arc that spanned four decades and dealt with issues of infanticide, domestic violence, racial oppression, and spiritual crisis. Others felt that Steven Spielberg’s 1985 cinematic adaptation – with memorable performances by Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey – would overshadow any other attempts at dramatization.

What Scott Sanders knew – and what kept him going through the eight years it took to secure permissions, backing, and a creative team that could produce a show that honored the material – was that music is a way to express emotions that transcend words, and that the message, the heartbeat of Walker’s story (much of it rooted in her own family history), sang.

by Lise Funderburg (author of A Memory Book of The Broadway Musical)

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