Color Purple’s Tony Nod

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In “The Color Purple� actors Kingsley Leggs, Brandon Victor Dixon and Lou Myers give exhilarating performances in this production that is filled with bluesy music and, which was once controversial, as a book and film.

This coming weekend “The Color Purple� is in the lineup of plays that could receive cheers and salutes at the 60th anniversary of the annual Tony Awards.

On Sunday, June 11 the American Theatre Wing’s 2006 Tony Awards will be celebrated at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., broadcast live on WCBS television.

The American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry “Tony� Awards, better-known world wide as the Tony Awards, is Broadway’s preeminent award show assembled by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres. A few of this year’s presenters will be Alfre Woodard, Julia Roberts, Ralph Fiennes, Eric McCormack, Martin Short, Cynthia Nixon and Anna Paquin.

An anticipated highlight of executive producers’ Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner (of White Cherry Entertainment) Tony Award show, this year, will be “The Color Purple.â€? The talk-of-the-town producers of this musical are:  Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders, Ray Furman, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci (with Cheryl Lachowicz), Independent Presenters Network, David Lowy, Stephanie P. McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presenters, Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes, Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson.

Ironically, the film version of the Broadway musical starred media maven, Winfrey, who had taken on the role as a troublesome wife.  Not surprisingly, the musical has been nominated for a 2006 Tony Award in the Best Musical category with “The Drowsy Chaperone,â€? “Jersey Boys,â€? and “The Wedding Singer.â€?

Marsha Norman, who wrote the musical’s book, received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of A Musical. The music and lyrics for “The Color Purple� are the work product of Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. This group is nominated for the 2006 Tony Awards’ Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) written for the Theatre.

Other nominees in this category are: “The Drowsy Chaperone,� “The Wedding Singer,� and “The Woman in White.�

In “The Color Purple� actors Kingsley Leggs, Brandon Victor Dixon and Lou Myers give exhilarating performances in this production that is filled with bluesy music and, which was once controversial, as a book and film.

In an interview, Myers discarded the production’s male-female tugging as an enhancement to the varied clustered of issues that develop in the musical. Nevertheless, it could have been easily predicted that “The Color Purple� would not receive a nomination for Best Performance By A Leading Actor In A Musical. In the classification of Best Performance By A Leading Actress In A Musical, the actress known by one name, LaChanze, who plays a beleaguered Celie in “The Color Purple,� however, was nominated. Other nominees in the group are Sutton Foster, Patti LuPone, Chita Rivera and Kellie O’Hara.

Brandon Victor Dixon who is an enchanting actor, in the role as Harpo, picks up a 2006 Tony nomination for Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical.

Similarly, Chicago native, Felicia P. Fields gives a brimming, unrivalled performance as Harpo’s wife, Sofia. She received a nomination for Best Performance By A Featured Actress in a Musical along with her cast mate, the unstoppable entrepreneur and vixen Shug Avery, played by Elisabeth Withers-Mendes.

The wife-and-husband recording team, Ashford and Simpson, recommended Withers-Medes for her current role in the musical. The singer and actress, however, had performed and recorded with Luther Vandross, Celine Dion, Henry Krieger and Cher. Besides garnering nominations in leading categories, “The Color Purple� has been tapped for possible 2006 Tony Awards in such areas as Best Choreography (Donald Byrd), Best Scenic Design of A Musical (John Lee Beatty) Best Costume Design of A Musical (Paul Tazewell) and Best Lighting Design of A Musical (Brian MacDevitt).

The actress Sarah Jones will receive a Special Tony. This is a talent to keep your eyes on. She has a future on stages from Broadway to Hollywood. Harold Prince will be honored with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement In The Theatre.

Intiman Theatre Seattle, WA will secure this year’s 2006 Regional Theatre Tony Awards. Trinidad and Tobago native Ricardo Khan, the founder of the preeminent Crossroads Theatre had received a Regional Theatre Tony Award. This historic award was the first given to a theatre focused on the work of artists and playwrights from the African Diaspora.

Andrews, Black Star News’s theater reviewer can be reached at

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