Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Oprah to Produce Broadway Version of 'Purple'

NEW YORK (Sept. 25) - "The Color Purple," a musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will have Oprah Winfrey as a producer and investor when it opens on Broadway in December.

In Winfrey's first Broadway venture, she will contribute more than $1 million of the musical's $10 million production cost, The New York Times reported Sunday on its Web site.

The musical, which has been revised since receiving some bad reviews when it opened in Atlanta last year, will be called "Oprah Winfrey Presents: 'The Color Purple."'

Winfrey told the Times it has been "a secret dream" to be part of Broadway.

"I hope to do for this production some of what I've been able to do for books - that is, to open the door to the possibilities for a world of people who have never been or even thought of going to a Broadway show," she said.

Winfrey was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film version of "The Color Purple," directed by Steven Spielberg.

Walker's book has been adapted by Marsha Norman, author of "'night, Mother," while the score is by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The Winfrey production will be directed by Gary Griffin, a Chicago-based director best known for his small-scale productions of musicals such as "My Fair Lady" and "Pacific Overtures." The choreographer is Donald Byrd.

Besides Winfrey, producers include Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders and Roy Furman.

The actress LaChanze will star in the show.

"The Color Purple" is told through the eyes of Celie, a timid young Southern woman who is raped by her father, gives birth to two children and suffers years of cruelty married to an abusive man.

09/25/05 22:23 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.