The Color Purple The Musical, the second show in the 2017-18 Willis Broadway Series at the Des Moines Civic Center, is one I didn’t know much about before attending the October 31, 2017, opening night performance with my wife.
Neither of us had read the Pulitzer Prize-winning book or seen the movie so we went to the show not knowing what to expect.
What we saw was the story of two sisters in the American South… their struggles, setbacks, and triumphs over the course of several decades.
What we heard was an amazing musical score that spanned many genres including blues, gospel, jazz, and ragtime. I can’t say enough about the musical performances. Each of the actors by themselves had a powerful voice. Put them all together and it really was something special to hear.
The acting was just as powerful. I consider any performance that stirs some emotion in me to be a good one. This show and performance made me feel anger, empathy, and joy all in 2 hours.
Other recent Des Moines Performing Arts shows have had elaborate sets, slick set changes, and technology to enhance the theatrical experience.
The Color Purple The Musical is different. The set is as minimal as it gets; a multi-tiered wood floor and a high wood backdrop adorned with wooden chairs. Some of the chairs came off the wall to move around the stage creating different spaces.
The minimalist approach to set design really worked with the show allowing the acting and vocal performances to shine.
My wife and I both really enjoyed this show… but wished we would’ve had some experience with the book or movie beforehand. It would’ve made following the storyline a little easier.
If you enjoyed The Color Purple the movie or The Color Purple the book you’ll really enjoy this show. If you don’t know anything about the story, like my wife and I, I’d recommend a quick Google search to familiarize yourself with the story before attending.
The Color Purple The Musical is running through Sunday, November 5, 2017. Click here to learn more about Des Moines Performing Arts, this show, and to get tickets.
***Disclaimer – I was provided with free press night tickets. All opinions are my own.