Theatre News

The Color Purple musical film confirms release date

Marcus Gardley will pen the screenplay and Blitz Bazawule will direct

Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple on Broadway
Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple on Broadway
© Matthew Murphy

Further details have been announced for The Color Purple film.

The musical is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, and tells the story of heroine Celie over 40 years as she finds her place in the world. It has a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.

Director Blitz Bazawule (who recently oversaw Beyoncé's Black is King visual album) has signed on to helm the feature, which has not yet released casting. The film will head to cinemas on December 20, 2023, presented by Warner Bros.

Walker's tale was first adapted for the screen in 1985 with direction by Steven Spielberg. He produces the remake, alongside Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones. The original Broadway production starred LaChanze, in a Tony-winning turn, as Celie.

The show was first staged in the US in 2005 and in the UK at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013, with that production then transferring to Broadway where it ran until 2017.

Cynthia Erivo (who has since gone on to appear in a variety of films) starred in that original production, though it is unknown if she plans to reprise her role for the film.

The upcoming movie is set to be produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones, which has a screenplay by Marcus Gardley. Walker's book was previously adapted into a film in 1985 (nominated for 11 Oscars), starring Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Spielberg.

A recent revival of the show (co-produced by Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome) won the 2020 WhatsOnStage Award for Best Regional Production. The piece is set to be revived at Curve later this year.

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