The Color Purple [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Dave Gil de Rubio
Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winner The Color Purple -- transformed into a film classic by Steven Spielberg -- arrived on Broadway in 2005, in the able hands of collaborating composers Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, with a libretto written by Marsha Norman. At the heart of the musical is LaChanze, whose pliant yet powerful voice allows her to take full ownership of the Celie character that was unforgettably portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the film version. As the story covers a 40-year arc, from 1909 to 1949, the music effectively incorporates a variety of genres, such as revival-flavored swing on "Miss Celie's Pants," rafter-shaking gospel on ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Dave Gil de Rubio
Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winner The Color Purple -- transformed into a film classic by Steven Spielberg -- arrived on Broadway in 2005, in the able hands of collaborating composers Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, with a libretto written by Marsha Norman. At the heart of the musical is LaChanze, whose pliant yet powerful voice allows her to take full ownership of the Celie character that was unforgettably portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the film version. As the story covers a 40-year arc, from 1909 to 1949, the music effectively incorporates a variety of genres, such as revival-flavored swing on "Miss Celie's Pants," rafter-shaking gospel on "Mysterious Ways," African rhythms on the percolating "African Homeland," and stride-piano-driven blues on "Push Da Button," brassily delivered by Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as Shug Avery. She and LaChanze come together for the musical's centerpiece, "What About Love?," a showstopping ballad framed by strings and driven by the mutual love the characters declare in this number. (A separate version of the song that doesn't appear on the original cast album was also recorded with Patti LaBelle and Jill Scott.) The spoken dialogue sprinkled throughout the disc occasionally slows the pace, but the recasting of this redemptive story as a musical is a feat befitting Walker's original masterpiece.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The stage musical adaptation of Alice Walker's 1982 novel The Color Purple also based on the 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg, with a libretto by Marsha Norman and songs by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, opened on Broadway on December 1, 2005, and quickly turned into one of the season's major hits. At first blush, Walker's epic story of the travails of a poor African-American woman in rural Georgia during the first half of the 20th century, with its elements of rape, incest, and domestic violence, might seem an unlikely subject for musical theater, but the form has supported equally difficult projects successfully Les Misérables wasn't exactly musical comedy, and one might as easily say that The Color Purple is an inspiring tale of women's resilience, camaraderie, and empowerment. It is certainly dramatic, which makes it a good stage vehicle, and the setting allows the songwriters obvious avenues to pursue. Not surprisingly, the score heavily employs gospel forms, beginning with "Mysterious Ways," an early song that easily could be heard in a church any Sunday. The character of the singer and prostitute Shug Avery Elisabeth Withers-Mendes gives the songwriters the opportunity to write blues material, although, in fact, blues elements appear prominently in the music throughout. The only oddity in the score is the songwriters' determination to mix those styles with more traditional show music, if one can by now refer to the sort of adult contemporary ballad material that began to be heard on Broadway in the 1980s as traditional. Whenever the show takes a turn toward the sincere and heroic which is to say, whenever one or more of the several saintly female characters is moved to express her feelings, the music swells, the Southern accents fall away, the grammar noticeably improves, and out comes something that sounds like the light-FM/TV commercial/American Idol nexus of overwrought yet bland pop music meant to draw tears or sell French fries, as the case may be. "Somebody Gonna Love You," "Too Beautiful for Words," "What About Love," "The Color Purple" -- in this score, the listener is never far away from one of these numbers, and mixed in with the blues and other material expressed in heavy vernacular speech, the effect is disconcerting, as if a radio signal kept switching back and forth from one kind of station to another. LaChanze, in the starring role of Celie, displays versatility in adapting to the various musical styles, and Withers-Mendes, Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Nettie, in an isolated African segment, "African Homeland" all have showcase parts. But the music they have to work with is more than just highly varied; it's highly inconsistent in both style and quality.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2006
  • Label: Angel Records
  • UPC: 094634295420
  • Catalog Number: 42954
  • Sales rank: 59,207

Album Credits

Performance Credits
LaChanze Primary Artist, Vocals
Original Cast Recording Indexed Contributor
Steve Bargonetti Guitar
Kamau Adilifu Trumpet
Martin Agee Violin
Shelton Becton Keyboards
Jay Brandford Woodwind
Ben Brown Bass
Barry Danielian Trumpet
Larry Farrell Trombone
Lawrence Feldman Woodwind
Joseph Joubert Keyboards
Eugene J. Moye Cello
Brian O'Flaherty Trumpet
Clay Ruede Cello
Marilyn Reynolds Violin
Les Scott Woodwind
Laura Seaton Violin
Linda Twine Conductor
Buddy Williams Percussion, Drums
Mineko Yajima Violin
Cenovia Cummins Violin
Richard Brice Viola
Christoph Franzgrote Violin
Debra Shufelt Viola
Paul Woodiel Violin
Maura Giannini Violin
Belinda Whitney Violin
Sylvia Davanzo Violin
Doug Eskew Vocals
Jason Jackson Trombone
Carol Dennis Vocals
Damien Bassman Percussion, Drums
David Creswell Viola
Felicia P. Fields Vocals
Renée Elise Goldsberry Vocals
Barry Danelian Trumpet
Maia Nkenge Wilson Vocals
Krisha Marcano Vocals
Nathaniel Stampley Vocals
Brian O'Flaherty Trumpet
Virginia Ann Woodruff Vocals
The Color Purple Cast Ensemble Choir, Chorus
Zipporah G. Gatling Vocals
Leon G. Thomas Vocals
Chantylla Johnson Vocals
Maia Nkenge Wilson Vocals
Benjamin Franklin Brown Bass
Elisabeth Withers-Mendes Vocals
Eugene Moye Cello
Sylvia D'Avanzo Violin
Kingsley Leggs Vocals
LaChanze Vocals
Kimberly Ann Harris Vocals
Jo Montgomery Vocals
Brandon Victor Dixon Vocals
Renee Goldsberry Vocals
Technical Credits
Brenda Russell Composer, Lyricist
Stephen Bray Composer, Lyricist
Frank Filipetti Engineer
Jay David Saks Producer, Audio Production
Scott Sanders Executive Producer
Daryl Waters Rehearsal Accompanist
Allee Willis Composer, Lyricist
Bill Rosenfield Executive Producer
Angie Teo Pro-Tools
Marsha Norman Book
Gordon H. Jee Package Art Direction
Jason Shturtz Pro-Tools
Peter Sylvada Cover Illustration
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    This is one of the most powerful soundtracks I have ever heard. I saw the show in Chicago this past summer (2007), and was blown away. Unfamiliar with the show and the story, I didn't know what to expect. I was more than satisfied. This music is touching and emotional. Even listenting to the CD often moves me to tears.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Bravo, cast of The Color Purple!

    Bravo for making the best cast recording, in my opinion, of the season. The singing is wonderful. The stand out performer of the reocording is LaChanze. She has a wonderful voice. Her "I'm Here" is beautiful. So, once again, bravo, cast of The Color Puple (and orchestra.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    AMAZING!!! A WORK OF ART

    A amazing play that will keep you shocked

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews