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Winfrey Backs Musical 'Color Purple'

(Posted September 26, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( Before Oprah Winfrey became a household name, she earned an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in the film version of "The Color Purple."

Now Winfrey is backing a musical adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that is heading to Broadway. She intends to contribute more than $1 million to the production costs, in addition to featuring members of the cast on her talk show, report news sources.

Winfrey starred as the sassy Sofia, who befriends the beleaguered Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) in the 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg. Set in the early 1900s, the story centers on themes of love, abuse, secrets and rebellion in the face of society. The film earned 11 Oscar nominations, including ones for Winfrey and Goldberg, but didn't take home any of the awards.

The Atlanta stage version of "Color Purple," has been suffering from mediocre reviews. Attempts to increase production and ticket sales include the hiring of a new choreographer, discounting tickets and decreasing group discount qualifications.

The best bet, however, will be the updated name on the marquee: "Oprah Winfrey Presents: 'The Color Purple." Winfrey has already demonstrated the power of her name several times over by promoting novels through her book club and recently pressuring the head of Hermes to apologize for a snubbing incident in their Paris boutique.

Directed by Gary Griffin, "The Color Purple" will begin previews at the Broadway Theater on Nov. 1 and open on Dec. 1.

Source: Zap2it

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