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‘Orange Is the New Black’ star Danielle Brooks heading to Broadway in ‘The Color Purple’

By Mark Kennedy



NEW YORK _ Actress Danielle Brooks is going from orange to purple _ jumping from “Orange Is the New Black” on TV to a Broadway stage in the upcoming “The Color Purple” revival.

The actress, who plays Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on the Netflix series, will play the proud, no-nonsense Sofia in the production directed and designed by John Doyle. She’ll play the role Oprah Winfrey had in the film.

“My body is having an out-of-body experience,” she said Wednesday by phone from a writers’ workshop in New Harmony, Indiana. “I’m so shocked and honoured and grateful.”

The cast also includes Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery and Cynthia Erivo as Celie. All three women will be making their Broadway debuts. Performances start Nov. 9 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Brooks said “The Color Purple” was the very first Broadway show she ever saw 10 years ago when she was 15. “Now, 10 years later, I get to do it,” she said. “I’m trying to hold it together.”

Doyle opened his production of “The Color Purple” in 2013 in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Music and lyrics are by Grammy winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The musical is a stage version of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in rural Georgia that covers a lifetime of events observed by Celie, a homely, uneducated farm woman whose dreams are repeatedly shattered by the cruelty of males.

Brooks, born and raised in South Carolina and educated at Juilliard’s drama program, has been in the film “Angry Birds,” HBO’s “Girls” and “Time Out of Mind,” starring Richard Gere.

She said she hopes she can juggle both her new Broadway commitment and “Orange Is the New Black,” which soon begins filming its fourth season and she credits with jump-starting her career.

“It’s opened so many doors in so many ways. I’m grateful that they’ve been so supportive of me and the new journey that I’m about to take,” Brooks said. “Taystee is very much still alive. So far. Knock on wood, please.”


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