“The Color Purple” Returns to Chicago – starring Fantasia

Oprah Winfrey presents





SEPTEMBER 2 – 13, 2009

The Arie Crown Theater welcomes the soulful singing sensation of Fantasia as she reprises her critically acclaimed role of “Celie” in the smash hit musical.

The producers of THE COLOR PURPLE are proud to announce that American Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino will reprise her starring role of Celie for the Chicago engagementReturning to its debut home of Chicago , THE COLOR PURPLE will make its home at The Arie Crown Theater for two weeks, September 2 –13, 2009

Tickets for performances go on sale May 1 at 10 a.m. and range in price from $49.50 – $85. Tickets are available at the Arie Crown Theater Box Office ( 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive ), online at ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster outlets.  Groups of 20 or more should call (312) 791-6320.

Fantasia made her Broadway debut in THE COLOR PURPLE on April 10, 2007.  She won the 2007 Theater World Award and received across the board rave reviews, with Clive Barnes of The New York Post exclaiming “Four cheers for Fantasia!  There is some elemental quality to Fantasia that is either greatness or something close to it.  I feel a lot in the theater but usually I don’t cry.  With this performance, I found tears running down my cheeks.  If you haven’t seen THE COLOR PURPLE, see it now; if you have seen it, see it again.  Something extraordinary is happening at the Broadway theatre that is not to be missed.”  The Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz shouts out “Fantasia is a hit in THE COLOR PURPLE.  Her performance is a must-see.  Fantasia gives such a powerful performance it’s almost too beautiful for words!”

As a 19-year old single mother, Fantasia began her path to international stardom when she became the winner of FOX’s hugely successful audience-driven singing competition in May 2004.  Now 23, Barrino has garnered critical acclaim for the release of both her debut album, Free Yourself, which marked her becoming the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 chart history to debut at #1 with her debut single “I Believe,” and her second album, FANTASIA, released by J Records on December 12, 2006.  To date, she has gathered more than 20 award nominations including the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Vibe Awards, Soul Train Awards and Soul Train “Lady of Soul” Awards, Billboard Music Awards and R&B & Hip Hop Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and Teen Choice Awards.

No stranger to acting, Fantasia also broke records of a different kind after authoring a New York Times best-selling autobiography Life Is Not A Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster, September 2005) and starring in The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairytale, the Debbie Allen-directed Lifetime original movie adaptation of her truthful, outspoken and ultimately healing memoir in August 2006. For her performance, she was nominated for a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. The biopic, also nominated as Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for the 2007 NAACP Image Awards, ranks as the channel’s second most watched movie and has been seen by 19 million viewers.

With her Broadway debut as Celie, the heart and soul of THE COLOR PURPLE, she added the distinction of being the first ever American Idol winner to star in a Broadway show.

Fantasia joins her Broadway cast-mate Felicia P. Fields, a native Chicagoan, who originated the role of Sofia , for which she received a Tony Award® nomination.  Her performance also earned her a 2006 Theatre World Award, a Clarence Derwent Award, two Broadway.com Awards and she was a 2006 Drama League honoree.  Felicia has worked throughout the Chicagoland area and has received many Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for her performances in Jammin’ With Pops (Ella Fitzgerald), Hot Mikado (Katisha), Show Boat (Queenie), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ma Rainey), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Nell/Amelia) and Dreamgirls (Effie Melody White), to name a few. Felicia’s stellar performance in Chicago ’s Drury Lane production of Sophisticated Ladies earned her the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actress in a Musical.


Also joining the tour from the Broadway production is Angela Robinson, who will play the role of Shug Avery. Angela has appeared in several other Broadway productions including Wonderful Town and Bells Are Ringing.  Celie’s sister Nettie will be played by LaToya London.  ‘ London ’ was named the early front runner to win season three of American Idol by Simon Cowell and Elton John.  On air she joined the ranks of the aptly named “Three Divas,” along side Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia (who played Celie in the Broadway production).  Rufus Bonds, Jr., who recently won the L.A. Weekly nomination, Best Ensemble, for his work in the Los Angeles premier of Because They Have No Words, directed by Emilie Beck, will play Mister.  Rufus also performed the role of Mufasa in Julie Taymor’s Broadway production of The Lion King.  Also starring in the North American Tour are Stu James as Harpo, and Tiffany Daniels as Squeak. 

Nominated for eleven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, THE COLOR PURPLE opened on December 1, 2005 at the Broadway Theatre where it ran for over two record breaking years.  It is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg.  It is the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who finds the strength to triumph over adversity, and discover her unique voice in the world.  With a joyous GRAMMY®-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, THE COLOR PURPLE is about hope and the healing power of love. 

As on Broadway, the first North American Tour of THE COLOR PURPLE is directed by Gary GriffinTHE COLOR PURPLE features a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Grammy Award®-winning composers/lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, and choreography by Donald Byrd. The original creative team of Tony Award®-winner John Lee Beatty (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Tony Award®-winner Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Jon Weston (sound), Jonathan Tunick (orchestrations) and Kevin Stites (Music Supervisor) was reunited for the tour.

The first North American Tour is produced by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders , Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson, and is produced in special association with AEG Live.

The original cast recording is available on EMI/Angel Records, and THE COLOR PURPLE: A Memory Book of the Broadway Musical (Avalon/Carroll & Graf) is available in bookstores now.  Ariel Investments is a proud sponsor of THE COLOR PURPLE.

Tickets for performances go on sale May 1 at 10 a.m. and range in price from $49.50 – $85. Tickets are available at the Arie Crown Theater Box Office ( 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive ), online at ticketmaster.com, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster outlets.  Groups of 20 or more should call (312) 791-6320.

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