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  The Color Purple at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

The Color Purple

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
242 W 45th St New York

The Color Purple is a story of enduring love and triumph over adversity. With a score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this stirring family chronicle follows the inspirational Celie, as she journeys from childhood through joy and despair, anguish and hope to discover the power of love and life.

Thru - Jan 8, 2017

Mondays: 8:00pm
Tuesdays: 8:00pm
Wednesdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm

Price: $75 - $145

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Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Seating Chart

  The Color Purple Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

The New York Times - Highly Recommended

"...The heart-clutching, gospel-flavored musical that opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Thursday night - in a production led by an incandescent new star named Cynthia Erivo and, in her Broadway debut, an enchanting Jennifer Hudson - share a title, the same characters, the same source of inspiration (Alice Walker's 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) and most of the same songs with "The Color Purple" seen on Broadway a decade ago. But, oh, what a difference there is between them."
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Ben Brantley

NY Daily News - Recommended

"Gospel-inspired songs get the show off to a slow start...The musical finds its stride when it lets down its hair with sexed-up songs...British director John Doyle shows his warm side. While his use of chairs as a visual statement feels a bit gimmicky, Doyle gets something very right with a bolt of fabric that subtly underscores the story of Celie’s rebirth. The show itself has had its own new start. 'The Color Purple' is bolder, brighter and deeper than ever."
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Joe Dziemianowicz

Associated Press - Recommended

"Doyle's pacing in the first act is so swift that there's little time to breathe as misery seems to visit Celie without release — losing a sister, marrying a monster, endless work, beatings, abandoning her kids. Things loosen up in a more airy second act…The score is a happy melting pot of melodies, from gospel to jazz and R&B. Doyle and this company are best just letting Erivo and Hudson sing and the memorable renditions keep coming: "
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Mark Kennedy

Hollywood Reporter - Highly Recommended

"...When early on Erivo sings "Somebody's Gonna Love You" to the newborn child about to be taken from her, what strikes you is the clarity and force of her voice; the song pours forth from her with no sign of effort, and with the naturalness of speech. With each number she digs deeper, finding fresh reserves of strength, of anger and, finally, of jubilation. When, at the end, she launches into "I'm Here," it's hard to believe she has anyplace deeper left to go. But she does, and it floors you, leaving you both drained and exhilarated. Erivo's the real deal, and her performance in this very fine revisal is not to be missed."
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David Rooney

Vulture - Highly Recommended

"...In a similar way, he gets everything out of The Color Purple that anyone could have thought to put in it. And if it remains, as Walker wrote it, a rebirth story as gratifying as it is unlikely, this production - one of the best revivals ever - proves that sometimes gratifying and unlikely are really the same thing."
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Jesse Green

NY1 - Recommended

"It's refreshing to revisit this show packed with so much raw energy and vocal talent. Gone are the big sets, costumes and choreography. In their place - a simple yet profound telling of a complex work that cuts right to the bone."
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Roma Torre

Variety - Highly Recommended

"...The ladies wear the pants in John Doyle's ravishing revival of "The Color Purple." Jennifer Hudson is radiant as the love machine Shug Avery. Danielle Brooks shakes the house as the earthy Sofia. And Cynthia Erivo, the tiny pint of dynamite who originated the role at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, brings the audience roaring to its feet as Celie, the shamefully abused heroine of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker that started the whole book-to-film-to-stage phenomenon. All three performers are making their Broadway debuts, which makes it all the more thrilling."
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Marilyn Stasio

USA Today - Highly Recommended

"'The Color Purple' is a story of redemption, and Doyle and his cast do a miraculous job of capturing that essence, down to its spiritual core, without getting preachy or mawkish. There are too many wonderful performances to mention…Doyle allows flashes of caricature; but by the time you leave the theater, wiping tears from your eyes, you won't remember them. Instead, you'll relish the power and grace of this show, and emerge uplifted."
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Elysa Gardner

New York Post - Recommended

"'The Color Purple' is far from perfect. Marsha Norman’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel takes tons of shortcuts, careening from scene to scene at full speed. Characters, including Celie’s brutish husband, undergo drastic changes at the drop of a hat. But the show works in a primal way. Its pop-inflected score — though performed here on the cheap, with a skimpy, keyboard-heavy band — has surprising staying power. Your head may quibble, but your heart’s on board."
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Elisabeth Vincentelli

Entertainment Weekly - Highly Recommended

"...This revival originated at London's tiny Menier Chocolate Factory. John Doyle specializes in minimalist reinterpretations of musicals, and you can see how this production - using not much more than chairs, sheets, and some baskets to create a rich version of Celie's world - was made for that intimate space. (Doyle also designed the sets and choreographed.) There's a perfect John Doyle moment in the opening scene, when Celie gives birth and a sheet is pulled from her dress and immediately wrapped on itself, turning into a swaddled newborn."
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Jesse Oxfeld

Newsday - Recommended

"These are direct, accessible songs that are simply structured but not simple-minded. I appreciated the original as a big, old-fashioned, middle-of-the-road show...It is less big and feels newer now, but is still rich with characters adapted by playwright Marsha Norman. Doyle has cut what I count as eight songs from the score, a decision that eliminates some richness from the back-stories and makes Celie the show-stunner she deserves to be."
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Linda Winer

amNY - Recommended

"This marks one of the rare occasions where a musical's revival manages to outshine the original production…At first, Doyle's production comes off as overly mannered and limited in movement. But on the whole, it is far more dramatically charged and focused than the elaborate but undistinguished original production. This feels less like a revival than a revitalization, or a new musical altogether."
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Matt Windman

Wall Street Journal - Highly Recommended

"...Speaking of commodity musicals, "The Color Purple," first seen on Broadway 10 years ago, is now being revived there in a brand-new production directed by John Doyle and imported from the Menier Chocolate Factory, one of London's trendiest venues. Any way you stage it, the musical version of the film version of Alice Walker's novel is an exercise in treacly feel-good sentimentality, but Mr. Doyle's scaled-down, ruthlessly cut version makes the best possible case for "The Color Purple." He has turned it into a concert-style let-us-tell-you-a-story show whose only set pieces are wooden chairs and woven baskets, in the process stripping away all the whiz-bang aspects of Gary Griffin's 2005 staging, which now appear in retrospect to have obscured the virtues (such as they are) of "The Color Purple.""
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Terry Teachout

NorthJersey - Recommended

"The show still teeters between uplifting and tear-jerking, and is often rescued by its musical numbers...Ultimately, director Doyle properly emphasizes the characters' expressions of themselves through the show's songs, an eclectic mix of gospel, blues and pop numbers. It's in its musical moments that 'The Color Purple' is most alive."
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Robert Feldberg

Washington Post - Recommended

"Doubtless the best version of this 2005 musical you are ever going to hear...A sleek, fast-paced treatment — virtually a concert version…This overly episodic musical still doesn’t quite measure up to the genre’s top-tier shows: although Celie’s evolution is capably recorded, the transformations of some of the other characters remain unpersuasive…There’s more than enough combustibility on that stage to compensate for any occasional energy deficits."
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Peter Marks

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...For the first time in its long history of dramatization, "The Color Purple" has been afforded an incarnation fully in sync with one crucial aspect of Walker's original authorial intent - that the audience must participate in the imaginative act in order to comprehend its richness of theme and story. And, in this production, first seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, so they do. Willingly. Delightedly. When they are not rising to their feet to stop the show."
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Chris Jones

Time Out New York - Highly Recommended

"...Celie's journey has a clearer sense of direction than before, but she doesn't have to travel it alone. Erivo is supported by a mighty sisterhood of performers: Jennifer Hudson as Shug, Mister's mistress and Celie's lover; Danielle Brooks as the seemingly indomitable Sofia; Patrice Covington as the exuberant Squeak; Carrie Compere, Bre Jackson and Rema Webb as a trio of gossipy church ladies. This Color Purple is a celebration of black women, and it fills you with appreciation for the musical's return. It's here, and it's beautiful."
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Adam Feldman

The Wrap - Recommended

"A sleek, vastly improved and altogether wonderful revival…Under John Doyle’s new, inspired direction the musical emerges as one of the most adult shows ever written…Doyle employs that same spare aesthetic for 'The Color Purple,' but this time he delivers what looks to be a big commercial hit…The new 'Color Purple' never loses sight of its Celie…Marsha Norman’s excellent book is essentially the same, but some of the songs have been cut."
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Robert Hofler

Village Voice - Somewhat Recommended

"John Doyle strips away the glamour and largesse...With stronger source material, this approach can shine radiant light on a classic, [but] Marsha Norman's book lacks both subtlety and a sense of pacing... The score offers some downright catchy hooks but is unforgivably thin on content...Hudson thrills, but it's Cynthia Erivo who unearths the soul. Erivo's voice reverberates throughout her body with a fury that ignites the show with purpose — if one that's only fleeting."
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Chris Kompanek

The Guardian - Recommended

"...Adapted from Alice Walker's novel by book writer Marsha Norman and composer and lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, the story describes the trials and eventual emancipation of Celie, an African American girl who bears two children to her rapist stepfather (whom she believes to be her father) by the age of 14. While her pretty sister Nettie (Joaquina Kalukango) is allowed to finish her schooling, Celie is married off to the cruel Mister (Isaiah Johnson), who tasks her with chores and the rearing of his unruly children. He frequently beats her."
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Alexis Soloski

Deadline - Highly Recommended

"...Here is one of the great triumphal surprises in a Broadway season that has had its share of them: A revival of The Color Purple that lifts an already formidable musical into greatness just seven years after its initial run closed. Propelled by a pair of knockout performances from Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo, both making their Broadway debuts, this transfer from London's Menier Chocolate Factory takes a minimalist visual approach to a story that sprawls across decades and continents, training the focus firmly on the twists and turns of Alice Walker's highly populated, Bronte-worthy tale of a Southern black girl who survives poverty, rape and deprivation before finding love and accomplishment in womanhood."
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Jeremy Gerard

Los Angeles Times - Highly Recommended

"...Rather than rehashing the drama, Doyle has reconceived "The Color Purple" as a communal meditation on a modern American myth. The result - and it wouldn't surprise me if the uninitiated feel this way as well - is a spiritually transcendent theatricalization of the tale that had me silently shouting "hallelujah" and "amen.""
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Charles McNulty

CurtainUp - Recommended

"'The Color Purple' is a rewarding show thanks to some powerful performances…The book that Marsha Norman has written for this musical version is admirably terse but far from frail…This production will certainly please those who enjoy the City Center Encore series of staged musical revivals, while others may feel a little cheated by its economy of production values. At its best, Doyle's artistic choices never compromise Marsh Norman's tough and tender book."
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Simon Saltzman

Talkin Broadway - Not Recommended

"Personal growth and even the passage of time are treated as, at best, vague ideas…Coupled with Doyle's 'musical staging' (it sure ain't choreography), which is dry, repetitive, and disinterested, this infects everything with a stale staidness that saps what soulfulness the writing conveys…This is a drab evocation of a journey that should excite and inspire, and one that's in desperate need of color beyond the one named in its title."
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Matthew Murray

Lighting and Sound America - Somewhat Recommended

"Given the two-dimensional nature of Marsha Norman's book, it's not possible to add much in the way of nuance or character shading...The Color Purple is rich with incident, but the music never captures the sweep of the narrative...Cynthia Erivo, who here makes a stunning Broadway debut...Her work alone is probably reason enough for this revival."
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David Barbour

TheaterMania - Highly Recommended

"It's a sheer delight to hear Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray's soulful score on a Broadway stage, performed by immensely talented vocalists…Doyle relies heavily on simple yet highly specific gestures to tell the story...This scaled-down production also allows the story, music, and performances to shine through in new ways…For adherents of the old-fashioned book musical, you can't ask for much more."
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Zachary Stewart

Huffington Post - Highly Recommended

"A stunning, exhilarating and altogether joyful theatrical experience. Chalk it up to conceptual point-of-view, along with a handful of supremely satisfying performances…Doyle's process of stripping material down to its essentials and foregoing scenery doesn't work for every musical...It sure works here, though, revealing a beating, pulsing heart within the show...Midway through the 2015-16 season, 'The Color Purple' is already a highlight...You're likely to end up cheering."
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Steven Suskin

NY Theatre Guide - Somewhat Recommended

"The revival of 'The Color Purple' might be the ideal musical to second-act. You’ll miss some bald exposition and confusing staging, some showboating performers...But you’ll witness an emotional progression and wrap-up that’s extremely satisfying despite the hard-to-swallow turns of plot and character, and you’ll hear the better half of the score. Most of all, you’ll see a star being born."
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Marc Miller

Theater Pizzazz - Highly Recommended

"Lessons of tolerance, redemption, forgiveness, and, most importantly, self-acceptance are smartly delivered here, and no one will walk out as a non-believer. John Doyle’s physically-stripped down and laser-focused production hits you squarely in the heart and soul...the lack of spectacle is more than made up for by the sharpness of the storytelling, the superb direction, and the brilliant performances."
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Brian Scott Lipton

DC Theatre Scene - Highly Recommended

"Capable of both exquisite nuance and shattering power...Director John Doyle has reduced the size of the cast by about a third, and cut some 20 minutes of dialogue. The stripped-down result somehow makes this entertainment feel closer to a spiritual experience, which is what Alice Walker intended."
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Jonathan Mandell

Towle Road - Highly Recommended

"Director John Doyle, who’s won acclaim for pared-down stagings of big musicals, here whittles it down to its essentials and tells Walker’s decades-spanning story with the help of just a few sheets, baskets, and a dozen or so wooden chairs. The result is captivating, intimate, and wholly affecting."
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Naveen Kumar

The Clyde Fitch Report - Highly Recommended

"The entire enterprise, in fact, is loaded to the wings with style, thanks to director John Doyle keeping things simple…The first thing to note is that their singing is glorious, from the goin’-to-church start straight through to the final, beautifully harmonized 'Amen'… The score is unusually strong compared to what passes for acceptable scores these days...Similarly, the lyrics remain pithy and germane…The show is a wonderful gift of the season."
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David Finkle

WNBC - Recommended

"The limited staging puts the focus on the score…The intimate relationship between Celie and Shug is handled here both tenderly and directly…Broadway’s latest incarnation focuses almost entirely on song, but it’s still the same joyous and uplifting journey."
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Robert Kahn

Show Showdown - Not Recommended

"There are some pretty musical numbers, some interesting staging, and a very impressive performance by Carmen Cusack...But the story is incredibly predictable, and the conclusion so contrived that the two women sitting next to me when I saw it collapsed into a fit of giggles and had trouble collecting themselves through the curtain call. I can't say I blamed them...We, too, were not prepared for how lame and forced the big reveal would be when it happened."
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Elizabeth Wollman

Theatres Leiter Side - Highly Recommended

"Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray’s gospel, R&B, ragtime, and jazz score is filled with foot-stomping, roof-raising, and seductively balladic numbers, performed by a vibrantly talented ensemble topped by the remarkable Ms. Erivo. Her acting remains conversationally honest, while her singing displays both sweet grace and rafter-shaking authority. Watching her evolve from subservient child-wife to proud, independent woman is an artistic revelation."
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Samuel L. Leiter - Somewhat Recommended

"The result is a 'Color Purple' that feels uncommonly humanized and approachable...After two-plus hours, the show comes to feel visually static....But 'The Color Purple' gathers force and dimension as it goes, so that the mid-song shouts of approval from the audience and the spontaneous standing ovation are fully justified. This musical — after 'Hamilton,' the best of the current Broadway season — manages to leave you at once emotionally reeling and utterly elated."
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Clive Barnes

Peconic Public Broadcasting - Recommended

"Well Jennifer’s very good but the rest of the show is way better than I could have imagined. And (cliché expected) a star is born by the name of Cynthia Erivo,..The story which is way more confusing than I dare to get into...Now all this description probably sounds like it could be pretty dull. To answer that I can only say that to have an opportunity to see Ms. Erivio will be one of the best theater-going experiences you will ever have."
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David Richardson

Musical Theater Review - Highly Recommended

"Director John Doyle’s wondrous redo of 'The Color Purple' may be minimalist, but it’s drenched in emotion. At the same time, he has gloriously amped up this Broadway musical’s power as a feminist battle cry...The moment-by-moment reactions of the talented ensemble to the ups and downs of the story’s major characters, both musically and dramatically, fairly crackle."
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Ron Cohen - Highly Recommended

"John Doyle’s imaginative direction, the powerful performances of Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks in their sensational Broadway debuts and a dynamic ensemble all make this stripped-down revival a magnificent experience...This majestic production of 'The Color Purple' gloriously proves that often in the theater less is more."
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Darryl Reilly

ThisbroadSway - Highly Recommended

"If you want to feel the earth move with the most powerful voices on Broadway, then 'The Color Purple' is where you need to be...This is an astonishingly beautiful production under the direction of John Doyle...The score penetrates your soul as it is delivered by the bigger-than-life voices of Erivo, Hudson, Kalukango and the tremendous voices of the rest of this stellar cast."
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Sandra McFarland

BackStage Barbie - Highly Recommended

"Two Sundays ago, I went to church twice: Once at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian, and again at the Jacobs Theatre. This phrase is often used liberally, but John Doyle's revival of 'The Color Purple' is unequivocally a religious experience...Doyle has taken a show that was clunky in its first incarnation, stripped away everything but the necessities, and presented a production that is emotionally charged in its simplicity...Cynthia Erivo is giving the female performance of the season."
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BackStage Barbie

Out Magazine - Recommended

"Director John Doyle has pared things down in that way he has and given it new life with a production that comes to Broadway in very good shape...The show is very heavy on the music, coming off like an American folk opera, while Marsha Norman’s script adaptation is half nightmare, half wish-fulfillment, as Southern woman Celie endures all manner of oppression and abuse before standing up for herself, indulging in lesbian love, and even becoming a designer!"
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Michael Musto

BroadwaySelect - Recommended

"Superb in this new revival is Cynthia Erivo, who breaks our hearts early on...The score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray is not one of Broadway’s greats, but it does offer pulsating music and a nice boogie-woogie number, too. At least every song – each and every song — is brilliantly sung by the vocally blessed cast...You’ll find yourself brought into the action, which will then have you bringing your hand to your moist eyes and cheeks."
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Peter Filichia

Broadway World - Somewhat Recommended

"John Doyle's bloodless, concert-like revival of 'The Color Purple;' a production that is fortunately saved by the talent and commitment of its fine ensemble of leading ladies…The score pushes all the expected buttons for this type of venture…While 'The Color Purple's' written material is rather standard, there's undeniable emotional pull in Walker's story…It offers a rare opportunity for three women of color to play complex leading roles while men are regulated to support."
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Michael Dale

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