Casting announcements for national tour of ‘The Color Purple’

We all remember Cynthia Erivo’s emotional, Tony Award-winning performance as Celie in the 2016 Broadway revival of The Color Purple, an uplifting story about the triumph of the human spirit over prejudice, dominance and adversity

Though hers were certainly some big shoes to fill, we’ve finally found out who’s primed to fill them for the 2019-20 North American tour, which make its way to TPAC’s Jackson Hall March 27-29.

Mariah Lyttle, Sandie Lee and Chédra Arielle will lead the tour as Celie, Shug Avery and Sofia, respectively. The Color Purple, the epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South, makes its official opening October 25 in New Orleans at The Mahalia Jackson Theatre.

Mariah Lyttle & Sandie Lee

Mariah Lyttle (left) & Sandie Lee (right) stars as Celie and Shug Avery in the North American tour of ‘The Color Purple.’

Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple features a book by Marsha Norman and a score by Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell, and Allee Willis.

Walker’s unflinching narrative – which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction – demands a significant emotional investment. The Color Purple’s controversial subject manner, violence and abusive story line were frequently challenged. However, it’s now a positive example that helps others overcome the strife of an abusive relationship by finding your healing spirituality in God.

The musical covers three decades of Celie being an oppressed black woman living in Georgia in the early to the mid-twentieth century. By the end of the story, you witness the transformation of a woman fighting back to regain her self-worth and confidence.

The original Broadway production premiered in 2005 and played 940 performances — directed by Gary Griffin, produced by Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey. A pared down chamber version debuted at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013, under the direction of Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Doyle (Sweeney Todd, Company). The staging transferred to Broadway in 2015 with original London cast member Cynthia Erivo reprising her performance Celie. The Color Purple garnered 11 nominations and won two at the 2016 Tony Awards — Best Revival of a Musical and Erivo taking home the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. The show also went on to win two Drama Desk Awards, the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and a Daytime Emmy.

Cast members of the 2019-20 North American tour will also feature Andrew Malone as Mister, Brandon A. Wright as Harpo and Milika Cherée as Nettie. Rounding out the ensemble are Elizabeth Adabale, Jarrett Anthony Bennett, David Holbert, Parris Lewis, Jenay Naima, Mon’Quez Deon Pippins, Gabriella Rodriguez, Shelby A. Sykes, Ivan Thompson, Renee Titus, Cartreze Tucker, Jeremy Whatley and Gerard M. Williams.

The tour reflects the designs from the Tony-winning revival. The Color Purple has production design by Doyle, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jane Cox, sound design by Gregory Clarke, and hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPoint. Musical supervision is by Darryl Archibald, with music direction by Jonathan Gorst. Casting is by Binder Casting/Chad Eric Murnane, CSA. The tour is produced by Troika Entertainment, LLC.

The Color Purple, a story about suffering, growth and endurance — all nurtured by love, comes to TPAC’s Jackson Hall March 27-29.

Connect with Michael Aldrich on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @michaelwaldrich.

For more on the tour, please visit


Page Tags: