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Lab Theater produces Southwest Florida premiere of ‘The Color Purple’


The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present the Southwest Florida premiere of The Color Purple from September 3 through October 2, with half-price preview nights on September 1st and 2nd.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Alice Walker and adapted for the stage as a musical by Marsha Norman, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, The Color Purple is an inspirational story of strength, hope, and determination. It is the tale of African-American women finding their independence in the first half of the 20th century. The songs are a powerful fusion of ragtime, jazz, gospel, and blues that will transport the audience to journey alongside Celie and Nettie’s heart-touching story of deliverance.

“Lab Theater proudly presents this numinous theatrical experience that has both entertained and divided audiences for many years,” says Lab Artistic Director Annette Trossbach, who has produced the show. “The story remains banned across communities in the United States for its portrayal of African-American men and of a same-sex relationship. Censorship of art remains a controversial topic in Southwest Florida and across this country. Telling diverse stories is central to the mission of many theaters – we understand that history is written by those in power. Attempts to broaden the narrative are often removed from public view through various means of censorship. The power of The Color Purple compels that it be told. And that other stories of the diverse fabric of American life be told. All of our stories are worthy of telling and celebrating.”

Directed by Sonya McCarter, the team also features music direction by W. Earl Sparrow and choreography by Bianca Russell.

“What I love about this story is that it doesn’t shy away from revealing the oppressions of the past and unfortunately the present: racism, sexism, and intolerance,” says Director Sonya McCarter. “But that’s not all I love. I love that it reveals the resilience of a people who at times have been broken but never bowed; I love its universality and that it’s a story of the human condition: we all crave love, respect, empathy, and understanding; we all experience times of disappointment, heartache and betrayal; I love that it’s a story of spirituality, self-discovery, and triumph!”

The cast features Ruthgena Faraco as Celie, Julissa Jean-Bart as Nettie, Cantrella Canady as Sofia, Cadrick Smith as Harpo and Hoyt Goodine as Grady. [Go here for a full list of characters and cast members.]

This show is generously sponsored by Emily Eason. Lab Theater also thanks additional sponsors Attorney Joe North, King Leo Promotions, AKA Sorority and Lee Pitts Live.

August 15, 2021.

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