Oprah with the cast of 'The Color Purple'

When Oprah read Alice Walker's The Color Purple 23 years ago, her life, she says, was changed. When a film version of the novel was announced a few years later, Oprah says she prayed every night just to be a part of the experience…and it didn't matter in what role. "You know when you go to movies and at the end of the movie [credits] it has 'best boy?' I thought that I would convince someone that I will be the first 'best girl.'"

She never believed she could actually be a part of it until Quincy Jones, who produced the film, cast Oprah in the role of Sofia.

During the filming of The Color Purple, Oprah recorded all her thoughts and feelings in her journal. In a June 1985 entry, she wrote: "This morning I sat in the tree and I watched everyone else work. I had no scenes today, but I can't wait to be here every day. Just being here—seeing everybody, seeing Alice, Quincy—every day. Just being around Quincy makes me feel joy. This is what it feels like to love, I believe. Everything about The Color Purple feels like love to me."
Oprah Surprising the cast!

In 2005, Oprah signed on to produce a Broadway musical version of this book and film that were so important to her. And, days after this momentous decision, she flew to New York City to surprise the cast of the show!

"You will find that all things Purple are also all things divine. So divine, amazing things happen to you when you are connected to the energy and spirit of this work," Oprah tells the cast. "There's an energy connected to what Alice first intended. When intention and energy combine and you have all of that ancestral stuff mixed in there. It's a holy moment for everybody involved and I know you all feel it already and now you will spread that energy to the world, and I feel blessed to be a part of each and every one of you. Thank you."

Watch two exclusive clips of the cast singing and—the play's title song!
Scott Sanders

You probably can fit all of the people who read The Color Purple and thought that it was ripe for an adaptation into a big Broadway musical into a very small room. One of those people, however, would have been producer Scott Sanders.

Scott has spent eight years making his dream of putting The Color Purple on Broadway into a reality…and it's a rousing success!

"I always thought The Color Purple had music in its soul and it was a universal story that had to be told again," Scott says. "We had an amazing creative team and everybody has turned this into one of the most magical evenings in the theater that you could ever imagine."
Quincy Jones

If there is anyone who believes in the power of The Color Purple as much as Oprah, it's superstar composer/producer/publisher/you-name-it Quincy Jones who produced the film version in 1985.

When he cast an unknown Oprah Winfrey in the role of Sofia 20 years ago, he had words of encouragement that stuck with her through the years. "When I first started this work, Quincy Jones said to me—and, you know, at the time, I'd never acted before in my life—he said, 'Baby,' and he looked me in the eye, 'your future is so bright it burns my eyes,'" Oprah says.

Now that the show is about to open, Quincy is excited that Alice Walker's story will touch a whole new audience. "It's a continuum," Quincy explains. "It's so packed with divinity and hard work from Scott and the writers and the incredible cast. It's passed, I think, the human element. It's total divinity."

The Color Purple premiered December 1, 2005 , and is on Broadway now! Get your tickets today!
FROM: Beyoncé's New Passion and Broadway's The Color Purple
Published on January 01, 2006


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