Home / Gospel News / Tony Award Winning Broadway Play “The Color Purple” lands in Dallas…..

Tony Award Winning Broadway Play “The Color Purple” lands in Dallas…..

Have you heard of the Broadway play “THE COLOR PURPLE” before? Sure you have! It is an All-American staple.

 

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Revival of THE COLOR PURPLE, makes its Dallas premier starting TODAY January 23- February 3

 

THE COLOR PURPLE is the 2016 Tony award winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood reporter), this joyous American classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triump in the American South has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times) directed by Tony winner John Doyle.

 

Dallas Gospel Connection had the privilege to interview, J. Daughtry. Mr. Daughtry is no stranger to the stage, born in Bartow, Florida, his God-given talent has taken him all over the world singing backup for several R&B as well as gospel artists. He sang with Patty LaBelle, Anthony Brown, and Dallas is all Kirk Franklin just to name a few. J Daughtry has appeared in Cirque Dreams Holiday, Motown The Musical, Beautiful, The Carol King Musical (Broadway) and The Color Purple (Broadway). He has also appeared as a spokesperson on ESPN, FOX and NBC. J. Daughtry has now landed the infamous role as, Harpo, find out how the role found him, as well as the value he adds to the character and what “NEW” perspectives he wishes for the audience to take away in the interview below:

 

DGC: Who would you say the show’s target audience would be?

I’d like to answer to this question by stating that there are a few language choices and references that may not be specifically for kids. I would say early teenage and up. Ultimately, It is a story about transformation so a lot of people across the board can grab pieces of the story and take home what they need from the show.

DGC: That is awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing the show myself. What would you say, were some of the challenges about bringing this powerful story to life?

The main challenge was to continue to give life to story that everyone knows, because the story, the book, the movie, is so dear to people’s hearts. I grew up knowing the color purple. I knew who Harpo was… I knew who Sophia was… And of course everyone knows Miss Celie… There is a fine line between offending someone who has an idea of who these people are because they are so dear to everyone’s life, that you don’t want to [you know] make up something that’s not true to the story. The challenge for me specifically was to make sure I played Harpo as honest as I could. A lot of times when we leave the stage and mingle with the audience they don’t realize that I am the one that just played Harpo on stage…[So] Walking through the crowds of those leaving the show listening to the chatter… They will say things like “they left out this” or “Sophia didn’t do that in the movie” or “Harpo didn’t say that” these people have a general idea of what they should see because they have “grown up” with these characters. So, my main goal is to make sure I stay as true to Harpo as I possibly can.

DGC: Exactly, that makes sense. Tell me how you became involved with The Color Purple?

I actually sing with Anthony Browning, Group Therapy, I was singing with him at the time the addition came up. Actually, I was in another show on Broadway at the time called, Beautiful, and I sat down with Anthony we talked about what I was trying to do and how it wasn’t happening, we prayed… And the next thing you know there was an audition for a swing on Broadway. And I had never swung before… A “swing” is a person who knows all the characters parts in a show. They [the swing] replace a person if they are sick or out for unforeseen circumstances. This person is on standby and just jumps in the show and does that character as needed if needed at all. But, I’d never done it… And Anthony was like, “here’s an opportunity you should go ahead and just do it” {laughter} so I went to the audition… That day they called me…and put me in the Broadway show as a swing. I was diligent with that… I made sure I was there even when I was sick… Sometimes I was playing three characters at one time on Broadway and when the opportunity came for the tour to happen… They asked me if I just wanted to be in the show… And I was like YEAH!! {laughter} one evening I got an email it said, “character Harpo” this is your offer we want you to play Harpo in the touring show that’s how I ended up in the tour.

DGC: The Color Purple as such depth and longevity, does this production bring something new to the story? If so how?

I do everything in my power to make sure that not only am I true to the pre-existing character but I bring a new idea and concept to the meaning of a man such as Harpo. Mister and Mister’s father are having an argument…it’s a lot of ideology that’s being passed down from generation to generation. Then we see Harpo make a decision… well let me back up… He takes the advice of his father first… He goes and he abuses his wife… Then he sees that his actions were wrong… He goes back and he undoes the ideology that’s been passed down to him from generations before him. He stands up to his father and he becomes….. what I like to call the new generation of men, or “The New Kind of Man”. He loves his wife and he starts to treat her with respect and loves the fact that she leads him. I just try to parallel what’s going on in society now, where there are men who are not abusive to women, men who do not treat women a certain way, or those who do not use locker room talk… A different kind of man and this is the only time we see this in this show and that’s how I try to portray him with a freshness.

 DGC: what stereotypes are you overcoming by playing this character?

When Harpo made the decision to stand up to his father and allow his wife to lead because she had the stronger personality, I feel that it takes some of the abuse out of the generational constructs. You’re [society is ] okay with the woman being strong it doesn’t take away from your [ a man’s] strengths.

DGC: Wow.. That is a very powerful statement. Is Harpo anything like you?

I’m very okay with the idea of a woman leading…. I say this all the time always go back to my mother… I didn’t grow up in a single-parent home… But my mother was extremely strong… My stepfather was definitely a father figure and the man of the house… But my mother was “strong” in her own way… I grew up watching my mother lead in her own way… I watched women in the church lead… Women in the community were leaders as well… I know that a woman has a certain strength and she deserves a certain respect and that we shouldn’t treat them [women] in a derogatory kind of away… Me and Harpo are like peas in a pod… I grew up in South Florida… The community I grew up in is very much so like what we see in The Color Purple… I’m from Central Florida…. so don’t think Miami or Orlando… think [of] orange groves and cow patches… I grew up seeing a lot of “stuff” happen but I made the decision not to follow that path and not to do the things that I saw… And I think that Harpo does the same thing… He sees it… It is passed down to him… He processes the information… Acts belligerent at first but then he rejects it and becomes his own man…

DGC: If you could play any other character in the show who would it be?

I have not played Mister… I am still a young man [laughter] Gavin Gregory pays him now and he is phenomenal! He plays the role so well.. He said that his life has informed him on how to play this character… I haven’t had those experiences yet… Maybe in a couple of decades [laughter]

DGC: Who is the funniest person in the cast in real life?

Sophia… Carrie Compere … She is funny in the show… But she is extremely funny outside of the show… When you see the show you will see our chemistry on stage… Half of the time we are actually “playing” even offstage we are giggling and in each other’s rooms just laughing and playing and playing tricks on people… Carrie Compere is the funniest person period.

DGC: Which night would be the best night to come?

Every night is a great night…. When we’re on stage we try to tell the story… I was just giving this talk to the cast members at the rehearsal… It is one of those shows where we all know each other very well and because of that… I don’t want to seem to “spiritual” but this is a ministering show… It heals people as they watch it… It is also healing us on the stage as we tell it… Every night… Because we are people and we have regular lives outside of the stage and go through daily things that everyone else deals with… As well as the people in the audience may be having some of the same similar experiences… So any night that you come will be a great night.

DGC: If you could wave a magic wand and participate in any show what would you do next?

Smokey Joe’s Café

DGC: Why?

That show fits me like a glove… The role of Adrian in that show fits me like a glove… It was supposed to come to Broadway… I did a workshop for it… So “pray for me”

DGC: I will… I will… I am putting it in my prayer box… LAUGHTER

Put it in there [ laughter ] because I needed… We did a workshop about a year and a half ago… It was supposed to come to Broadway… But some things happened… People backed out of it… Wayne Brady was in it… Now we are on hold… But in that show Adrian fits me like a glove… It was me… That would be the show that I want to do

DGC: What is your ultimate goal for your personal career?

I just want to retire at 45… LAUGHTER… I want to be able to go back to Bartow and build a school for kids… An arts school… In Florida they are very sports driven… Especially in my community… Even I played sports growing up… But I see a need for there to be an arts school there [in Bartow Florida].

DGC: What is the last thing you do before the curtain goes up?

We have a prayer circle that happens right before the show… We meet up five minutes before the show and as soon as the prayer circle is over they start the announcements for the show and we walk out on stage…. So the whole cast comes together we stand in a circle and we pray and ask God to anoint us for that night… [We ask ] That he uses us to send whatever message he needs for the audience to get… That he uses us as his vessel… So that’s what we do every night before the show we come together and PRAY

DGC: Okay I just got chills

Me too… And we all usually do during prayer… That’s a clear indication that God is in the atmosphere.

DGC: you are absolutely right… Well… That’s it… is or anything else you’d like to add?

No you have been an incredible interviewer… I hope I didn’t talk too much…

DGC: No you didn’t… Usually it’s me… Thank you very much you have given me more than enough to work with. Thank you

You are welcome… I would like to tell everyone to make sure they come out and see the show they will not be disappointed and they will definitely be blessed.

 DGC-2018

 

 

 

 

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