By Cheryl Brown –
For years local groups have boarded buses, car pooled or drove into Los Angeles or Orange County to see the best live theater shows. Color Purple is one of those top named shows and it will play next week October 29, 2010 at the newly refurbished Fox Theatre in Riverside.
Two of the lead actors for the show based on the novel written by Alice Walker in 1982, and the 1985 Steven Spielberg movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
In speaking with cast members about the upcoming show they say it is the same story with a different presentation.
They state it is a fresh new take on the story.
“This is a fresh look at the story Color Purple,” said Dayna Jarae Dantzler who plays Celie in the upcoming production. Dantzler said that this is a great experience and fulfills what she has wanted to do all of her life. “I’ve been acting since I was seven years old and I have a BA in Theatre Arts,” she said.
Dantzler said that her inspiration came from her high school drama coach. He inspired her with his concepts.
But it is her mother’s unconditional love that keeps her grounded and helps her succeed today. “My mother believes in me and supports me with words of encouragement.
I need her more now that I am older,” she said. Dantzier is from Warren, MI and now lives in New York. Of her character Celie who is given to widower “Mister” when she was just a teenager to marry and raise his children, Dantzler said she loves Celie, because she is curious, has spirit and an inner beauty, she is also smarter than anyone gives her credit for, the care she gives others and she is not afraid to ask questions.
Pam Trotter, (Sofia) said she identifies with her character.
“Sofia was not going to let anyone walk over her. Her character is so strong and she is a big woman,” said Trotter.
“She is loud and speaks her mind,” she continued. For Trotter playing Sophia is a dream come true. “My friends and I used to meet and watch the Color Purple movie and we would quote lines from the movie. When I saw it on Broadway, I said, I can totally do this. We actually would sit down and write the lines,” said Trotter. When asked who her inspiration was she said with out a doubt her sister Rita. She is 12 years older and I watched her on television all the time.” The closest her sister comes to acting now is the drama ministry at her church.
The reason she loves her role is because of her misunderstood character. “Sofia was abused by men in her family and said she will not be misused again.
She even stood up to Harpo’s dad when he tried to keep the pattern (of abuse) going,” she said. Trotter said she has never been abused but she was quiet and shy and as she got older she began speaking her peace. “I feel liberated with this character,” she said.
Dantzler’s recent credits include, Barter Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors (Ronnette), Frankenstein (Servant), Theatreworks/Two Beans Productions’ James and the Giant Peach (national tour), and the Negro Ensemble Company’s Chronicles of Color (NYC tour). Trotter is originally from St. Louis MO, now residing in Los Angeles. Her credits include Hawthorne, Chuck, Dollhouse, Everybody Hates Chris, My Name is Earl, Dreamgirls (the movie, Effie) Ain’t Misbehavin, Smokey Joe Café’, Big River, Blues, In The Night and numerous others.
Both the women say Color Purple is a great story.
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