By Lincoln Center
Set in the 1900s, The Color Purple follows Celie—a poor, uneducated, black woman—through years of struggles in dealing with both emotional and physical abuse. When Celie meets Shug Avery, a sultry blues singer, Shug helps guide Celie toward happiness and self-confidence.
We had the wonderful opportunity of talking to Mariah Lyttle who plays the lead character, Celie.
“I’m so blessed to tell Celie’s story,” Lyttle says. “It is one of resilience, strength and self-discovery, which sadly, is not portrayed nearly enough onstage.”
“It is certainly not easy to tell the story, but it is completely necessary,” continues Lyttle. “It is a story that is riddled with themes of overcoming adversity, women empowerment, and faith, which I believe are all relevant topics today.”
Characters like Celie are not regularly portrayed amongst the glitz and glamour of Broadway, but The Color Purple is unique for bringing in these different perspectives. “As a woman of color, it is so inspiring to portray a character who is able to make something positive out of the adversity in her life. Celie is torn down so much, but rather than letting that affect her, she realizes that she is able to use that to make her stronger.”
Though Celie’s story is emotional and moving, it’s the lighter moments that shine through and create some catharsis. “My favorite song is ‘Miss Celie’s Pants’!” says Lyttle. “It’s a fun, and upbeat number and really speaks to the idea of breaking societal norms. It’s one of the first moments where Celie gets to be in charge of her own life and doesn’t have to succumb to anyone else’s rules.”
To Lyttle, Celie’s life is one that people can universally relate to in different ways. “The idea that you can achieve what you want if you truly believe,” says Lyttle. “Everything that you need in order to get there, you already have inside of you. You are enough.”
As a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and multi-award-winning film, the story of The Color Purple has been celebrated for over three decades. The soulful Grammy-winning score will thrill musical lovers, while the timeless tale will captivate both lovers of the movie and the book. Audiences are sure to experience the story like never before, complete with an incredible soundtrack of jazz, gospel, ragtime, and blues and larger-than-life-characters.
“You can look forward to amazing musical numbers and the beautiful set and costume designs,” says Lyttle “but the story is what we are there to tell. “[The audience] will walk away feeling touched and inspired.”
Come experience this beautiful story of heartbreak and personal growth November 21-23. Seats from $20 at LCtix.com.