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Oprah to
coproduce Color Purple musical on Broadway

Oprah to
coproduce Color Purple musical on Broadway

Oprah Winfrey, who made her name as an actress in the 1985 film The Color Purple, will coproduce a new Broadway musical based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The producers said on Monday that Winfrey would make a "seven-figure investment" in the musical version of The Color Purple, which draws on both the book and the film. The show opens in New York City in December after running in previews starting on November 1.

The musical tells the story of a young black girl growing up in the early 1900s and will feature gospel, jazz, ragtime, and blues. The show's other producers include music impresario Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders, who has said the production cost more than $10 million to develop.

Winfrey told The New York Times she planned to help promote the show by featuring members of the cast on her daytime television talk show. "It's been a secret dream of mine to be part of Broadway," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of the Alice Walker book marked Winfrey's feature-film debut, and she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role of Sofia. The premiere of The Color Purple musical in Atlanta last year received lukewarm reviews but set box-office records for the Alliance Theatre there. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution pronounced it "promising but uneven," saying a lurching plot and other shortcomings distracted from its strong performances and design.

The musical has been extensively revised since then, and Winfrey's involvement is expected to raise its profile--and advance ticket sales--considerably. "I hope to be able to do for this production some of what I've been able to do for books--that is, to open the door to the possibilities for a world of people who have never been or even thought of going to a Broadway show." Winfrey's Book Club, launched in 1996, is one of the biggest sales drivers in the U.S. publishing industry. (Reuters)

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