The Color Purple to have 11-day run in downtown Springfield
Springfield Contemporary Theatre and the Mosaic Arts Collective will present the musical February 10-26 at the Historic Fox Theatre.
A musical that opens Friday night, February 10, in Springfield features what is believed to be the most Black cast members on a stage at one time in the city. "The Color Purple" will be presented over 11 days at the Historic Fox Theatre downtown.
Rick Dines, managing artistic director for Springfield Contemporary Theatre, which is staging the musical "The Color Purple" in collaboration with the Mosaic Arts Collective, said the stage musical is based on the novel by Alice Walker as well as the screen play for the movie. But none of the music from the film is in the production — the music is original to the stage production.
"It's a show about hope and resilience and, you know, it's such a beautiful piece," he said, "and a nice literary piece as well."
The idea to stage the musical in Springfield came about several months ago when Dines was talking with Nki Calloway and Amanda Snead — two of three co-founders of the Mosaic Arts Collective. The nonprofit provides individuals of marginalized groups and races the opportunity for arts education, preparation and performance. The nonprofit was teaming up with Springfield Contemporary Theatre for the musical. They tossed around titles, and Dines said The Color Purple was one of them.
"It really seemed to fit both of our missions well," he said. "It fit the kind of thing we were looking for."
It took Nki Calloway several months to network in the community and let people know they would be holding auditions for 17 roles for the upcoming production. Audition time eventually arrived, and the response was better than she expected.
"We thought we were going to get maybe 20 people. We got over 45," she said. "It was really exciting."
In the end, 27 were chosen, and the cast was expanded. Actors range in age from eight to 67. Friday night, those performers will take the stage to present The Color Purple before a Springfield audience for the first time. Mosaic Arts Collective co-founder Amanda Snead is ready.
"We hope (the audience) is inspired," Snead said. "That they see the representation on and off the stage in this community. That we are telling stories that are important to tell and that they, yes, feel the pain of Celie's story, of our shared history but also of hope for the future."
Calloway said it’s overwhelming – in a good way – to be part of such an impactful production and to see the excitement of cast members "to even be involved and being in the cast and being in the show and being represented and being able to be the representation. They are so thankful — we hear it almost every day."
The Color Purple will be held February 10-12, 16-19 and 23-26 at the Historic Fox Theatre on Park Central Square in downtown Springfield. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
For tickets, 417-831-8001 or SGFTheatre.org.