Opening night of “The Color Purple” at the Stage Aurora Theater was a sell-out performance on opening night, even with the additional seating (266 capacity) that has given the theater a well-deserved face-lift. Along with the new stage, comfortable seats, impressive sets, pencil microphones and extensive lighting, “The Color Purple” is phenomenal, magnificent, beyond ordinary and stupendous; really a “must see”.
Mr. John Gripper (Vocal Director) welcomed the audience before the opening scene which started precisely at 7 p.m. (you may want to get there early to get a good seat and parking spot. The cast “worked” the church scene at the beginning of the show. Talk about a harmonious sound of music – there was a joyful noise in the Stage Aurora house. The music is wonderfully original unlike the movie.
The vocalists, especially Celie (Lolita Jennings-Flagg) was superb. All the actors gave their lines as any professional would have coming from the Broadway stage. Sofia (Toni Diamond-Bingham) made her mark of distinction when she came to the stage while the 3 Church Ladies (Michelle Crosby-Grant, Monique Ellis & Tiffany Singh), – well, you wouldn’t want to let you business out in the street, because they would “tell it” in repetitious harmony. These ladies kept everyone in stitches.
The dancers and singers came to the stage with bounce and flare. Shug Avery (Akia Uwanda) opened her mouth and serenaded Celie in a way that gave Celie some self-esteem. These duets between these to actors you don’t want to miss. During a bar scene there was a little wardrobe malfunction, nonetheless, the other cast members helped to make corrections without breaking a beat; a very professional act of showmanship.
The actor’s lines draw so much laughter that vibrated among the attendees. Costumes are very authentic and time sensitive. The African dancers give a colorful interpretation as Nettie (Candace Crump) sings through the imagination of Celie.
Despite discouragements and trials, Founder/Executive Director Darryl Reuben Hall, strives continually to bring the Arts to the north side of JAX with the finesse of NYC. Hal has used his funding for Stage Aurora very well.
Besides acting, Albert/Mister (Elliott Wimes) can also carry a tune just as well as the others. There were only 2 musicians who played the keyboard and drums for the entire show and they did a great job keeping everyone on pitch. Harpo (Charles Westley Lattimore Jr.) along with Sofia, had a marvelous duet that kept the audience wanting more.
The end of the story is a little different from the original and it is a real surprise. The concluding song of the entire cast is simply beautiful as they modulate to higher heights. Move over Tyler Perry – Stage Aurora and Darryl Reuben Hall are coming up strong. The program is a real keep-sake too. Get your tickets before they run out. There are only 8 shows left.
“THE COLOR PURPLE”
Fri., Sept. 28; 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29; 2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30; 3:00 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 3; 10:00 a.m.
Fri., Oct. 5; 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct., 6; 2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7; 3:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 13; 6:00 p.m.(only)
Sun., Oct. 14; 3:00 p.m.
Location: Stage Aurora Theatrical Company
Gateway Town Center
5188 Norwood Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32208
Tickets: General Admission Advance Tickets are: $20.00 for Adults and $15.00 for Senior Citizens (65+) and Students (5 – 17yrs.), with proper ID. At the Door Adult tickets are: $25.00. Group rates are: $18.00 each. Tickets may be purchased online at Ticketleap.com. For more information about “THE COLOR PURPLE”, please call Stage Aurora Theatrical Company at (904) 765-7372 / (904) 765-7373., or visit Stage Aurora Theater online. Additional ticket outlets include Brothers 2000 (Gateway Mall) & Family Christian Bookstore in Orange Park.
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