99 Thoughts I Had Returning To The Color Purple

by Ryan Goodale



The Color Purple has always done it for me as far as a musical theatre experience goes. I saw the original Broadway production three times, caught the national tour once and then saw this current (Tony Award winning!) revival very early in previews. Returning became a necessity when it was announced that Heather Headley was replacing Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery. I admit I didn’t get around to it as quickly as I wanted to, but now that I’ve returned and witnessed the revelation, here are 99 (incredibly coherent) thoughts I had during this experience. (If I said it aloud, it’s quoted.)

  1. It’s 7:55…there’s no way they are getting us all in here on time.
  2. What was that other show I saw in here?
  3. …doesn’t matter.
  4. I like this mezzanine. Sensibly sized.
  5. “Nick, I want the aisle seat.”
  6. I’m not ready.
  7. My body’s not ready.
  8. My spirit’s not ready.
  9. It’s 8:06 – about time for CHURCH!
  10. Here they come – ready to sing so hard.
  11. Church Ladieeees! These vocal shenanigans!
  12. Cynthia is the real supreme. Show me why you got that Tony!
  13. I always bop along to “Our Prayer”.
  14. This score has jams.
  15. She’s not ugly, though.
  16. These Church Ladies give me life.
  17. That little one obviously covers Celie.
  18. Rema Webb. Rema Webb. Rema Webb.
  19. She works.
  20. And hollers.
  21. This is why my friends and I call her Screama Webb.
  22. This is the highest compliment.
  23. Okay, Cynthia is singing for the kids.
  24. Acting face too.
  25. Love when people do both at the same time.
  26. Danielle Brooks is hilarioussss.
  27. How does she serve all that growl 8 times a week?
  28. Shug IS coming to town.
  29. They changed where they place the big baskets at the front of the stage.
  30. I can’t believe that guy in the front row at the 2nd preview kept moving them to see better.
  31. That was a mess.
  32. People can’t act right.
  33. AHH! Heather!!!
  34. Woah. Her Shug has been through it.
  35. Take a nap, Shug!
  36. Oh, her Shug is mean too.
  37. Oh, no. She’s sweet.
  38. Vocal technique all over this stage.
  39. I love an unnecessary vocal flip.
  40. Oh, she is so intense.
  41. ::Holds Breath::
  42. She has me good.
  43. Give us this number, Heather!
  44. I miss the dance break.
  45. Nah, don’t need it.
  46. Squeak deserved it.
  47. OH! OH! That kiss!
  48. Oh, I haven’t seen it played that way EVER.
  49. This Shug Avery is giving me that layer of discovery I didn’t know I needed.
  50. These voices together. I can’t.
  52. Crying over the letters. Acting. Choices.
  53. That last Act One moment always gives me chills.
  54. Act Two baby! – I know this girl in front of me isn’t eating her Whole Foods boxed salad.
  55. Feeding it to her friend as the lights go down? WHAT?
  56. She’ll put it away….::looks around for Usher::…she’ll put it away.
  57. Ew, it stinks.
  58. Okay, Act Two is happening, she needs to put this away. I’m getting upset.
  59. Really upset.
  60. “GIRL. Put your food away. What’s wrong with you?!”
  61. Oops. That was kind of mean.
  62. Oh well, anyway.
  63. Glad I missed so much African Homeland. Thanks to the girl in front of me.
  64. Heather is about to give me title song and I’m ready.
  65. This is a masterclass.
  66. This is a stunning nuanced performance.
  67. She just set me right.
  68. I’m so uncomfortable with her cursing Mister.
  69. In the best way though, she worked for that Tony Award.
  70. I’d wear a pair of Miss Celie’s Pants probably.
  71. This whole cast gives me so much voice.
  72. You are wearing the pants now, Queen.
  73. I love this Danielle Brooks moment.
  74. Harpo is so tall.
  75. They are having so much fun.
  76. Shug is really trying it with this 19-year old nonsense.
  77. I have chills already.
  78. I’m so happy to witness her sing this song live again.
  79. I have to remember to breathe.
  80. Yes, Celie – you don’t need no woman or man.
  81. This musical break always makes me think of the tree with the lilacs in the original production.
  82. Don’t need it, but it was cute.
  83. All vocal prowess is about to be unleashed.
  84. Sing out.
  85. Everyone in this audience is yelling at the stage.
  86. Chills. Chills. Chills. Chills. Chills.
  87. You ARE beautiful. – and ferocious.
  88. Screaming.
  89. “I’m standing up.”
  90. This audience is going bananas.
  91. Ooh, Celie’s still got it!
  92. Mister, er – Albert has some nerve asking her that.
  93. I love that everyone puts aside personal dramas for this picnic.
  94. Nettie!
  95. Always gets me. Every. Time.
  96. Church. Church. Church.
  97. I can’t believe we’re all standing again.
  98. Yes, I can. How could we not?
  99. I might have to come back again.

If you are in, near, or around New York, I suggest you get yourself to the Bernard B. Jacobs theater and experience this glorious revival. There is some wonderful story-telling happening and it is some of the best vocals you are getting on Broadway right now. In the meantime, check out the website HERE!