Theatre News

Fantasia, Danielle Brooks and Halle Bailey to star in The Color Purple movie musical

This casting news is Too Beautiful for Words

Halle Bailey, Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks
Halle Bailey, Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks

Two Broadway alumni are set to reprise their respective roles in Warner Bros' upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple musical.

Taking on the central role of Celie (once again) will be Fantasia Barrino, who assumed the role from 2007 to 2008 in the show's Broadway premiere and reprised it in 2010 during the US national tour.

Joining her as Sofia will be Orange Is the New Black favourite Danielle Brooks, who earned a Tony nomination in 2016 after originating the role in the 2015 Broadway revival at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre.

In addition, Halle Bailey, who is set to lead Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid as Ariel, has been cast in the role of Nettie.

Barrino and Brooks are now part of a cast that also includes Empire standout Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, In the Heights star Corey Hawkins as Harpo, singer H.E.R. as Squeak and Tony nominee Colman Domingo as Mister.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005 and features a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.

Based on the novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a young black woman living in rural Georgia who becomes estranged from her beloved sister, is forcibly wed to an older widower, and becomes smitten with Shug Avery — all in the first act.

The property was first adapted for the screen in 1985 under the direction of Steven Spielberg. He produces this musical remake, alongside Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones. Marcus Gardley has penned the screenplay and Blitz Bazawule will direct.

The Color Purple is set to hit cinemas on 20 December 2023 and the stage version is set to embark on its first tour of English and Welsh venues from September of this year.

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Photo credits:

Halle Bailey: [ HOTSPOTATL], CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Fantasia Barrino: Jyle Dupuis from Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Danielle Brooks: Peabody Awards, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons