Preview: "The Color Purple" At The Fred Kavli Theatre
“Just about every type of person I’d ever play was locked up in there,” Colston said.
Soon after leaving his nine-to-five to pursue formal theater training, the young actor evolved into one of the theater’s sharpest emerging talents. Since February, Colston has brought fresh life to the role of Harpo in “The Color Purple.” The musical will run at the Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3.
Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the book on which the Tony Award-winning musical is based, tells the story of Celie, a black woman seeking a better life in rural 1930s Georgia. Walker’s novel spawned Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film as well as this musical, which first opened in 2005. Now in its second national tour, the musical version of Celie’s story has consistently delighted and inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds in a way that few American stories have.
“It’s ultimately a story about love, a story about triumph, a story about adversity,” Colston said. “I think that’s a huge reason the show has been so widely successful.”
Colston also promised that even if you’ve seen the film dozens of times, the musical will touch your soul on a different level. Staying true to the novel, the show explores the sexual relationship between Celie and Shug Avery, an issue that was too taboo for Hollywood in the mid-80s.
“We’re in a completely different time now,” Colston said. “Folks are hungry for this.”
The musical also boasts all original music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, a soulful soundtrack completely different from that found in the familiar film.
“Because this incarnation of the story is getting closer to the meat of the book, you don’t really miss the songs from the film,” Colston, who is also a playwright, poet and motivational speaker, said.
He believes that “The Color Purple” was destined to become a musical, and thousands of theatergoers seem to agree.
“You can’t communicate this story any better than with music,” he said. “In this story you get everything — jazz, gospel, the blues, everything.”
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