Purple power

Enjoy "The Color Purple" this week in the Valley

Update: I saw “The Color Purple” Thurs, Oct 14, at the Orpheum in Phoenix. In a word (or two or three), it’s playful and profound. That’s a rare combo, but it’s beautifully done here. This production of “The Color Purple” is a touching story beautifully crafted and performed. Take a friend, a sibling, a lover, a teenage child. Or take yourself. It’s truly lovely in every way.


Musical theater can make a person do funny things.

When I learned that a touring Theater League production of the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” was coming to town, I paused to consider the many times the color purple has crossed my path.

First I remembered the scent of lush lilac blossoms hanging from trees in the backyard of my Colorado home. As a child, I loved to feel the weight of these full flowers in my tiny hands.

Sesame Street's Count Von Count

As a tween, I was smitten with Donny Osmond — memorizing all sorts of Osmond trivia, including the fact that Donny favored purple socks.

Sheb Wooley’s song titled “The Purple People Eater” rose to #1 on the music charts several years before I was born, but kids (even my own) have been singing it for decades.

The world of music has also given us groups like “Deep Purple” and songs like Prince’s “Purple Rain.” There’s probably a “purple” dance out there somewhere, but I’ve blissfully managed to avoid it.

A fragrant lilac tree

There was plenty of purple in my life as a young mother. One of the first concerts I attended with my young children starred “Barney,” the purple dinosaur.

For television time, there was Sesame Street’s “Count Von Count” and “Tinky Winky” from the Teletubbies trio.

When Jennifer felt the pull of playing guitar, she longed for a “Daisy Rock” similar to the purple one below. Please tell me I’m never going to see this on a cello.

Northern Lights in the Alaskan sky

I’ve enjoyed plenty of purple in my travels. Northern lights in Alaska and Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans. Lavender-colored tulips in Belgium and thistle in Scotland.

Closer to home I’ve grown many a garden filled with purple basil and velvety purple pansies. And I’ve donned the purple plenty of times to cheer for the Phoenix Suns.

Thistle dots the Scottish landscape

Of course, there are some wonderful things I still haven’t done. I’ve never read the Pultizer Prize winning novel “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker or viewed the film of the same name by Steven Spielberg.

And I’ve never seen the musical “The Color Purple” — though that will change this week when I head to the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, the second of two Valley venues to host the touring production this week.

Tuesday night (Oct 12), “The Color Purple” opens in the Valley at the Mesa Arts Center. The last time I saw purple on a MAC stage, it was in a pair of wild striped socks worn during a youth theater production.

I wanted to run right out and buy my own pair. Musicals have that effect on me.


"Daisy Rock" guitar

Note: I’ll add a brief review to this post after I’ve seen “The Color Purple” later in the week. If you beat me to it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Coming up: More musicals coming to Valley stages