Purple Psycho…

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple photo:Matthew Murphy
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple photo:Matthew Murphy

This is not a post about my mother who has a deep purple addiction, but it is about The Color Purple.

Come along…we are Broadway Bound.

Last week I attended two diverse Broadway musicals.

The Color Purple photo:colorpurple.com
The Color Purple photo:colorpurple.com

I did not want to see The Color Purple again. I was very disappointed with the original…overblown and boring.

My Broadway obsessed posse told me that I had to see Cynthia Erivo, the pint-sized dynamo star of the new and improved, The Color Purple.

Last Wednesday, I succumbed and decided to catch a matinee of The Color Purple.

I popped up at TKTS 15 minutes before start time and lucked into a returned house seat (4th row dead center) for $70…destiny.

The director, John Doyle, had also directed the pared down version of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with Patty LuPone and Michael Cerveris.

Again, the original with Angela Landsbury and Len Cariou was a disappointment, but I loved the new and improved 2005 Sweeney Todd.

Let me tell you that Cynthia Erivo is luminous in her haunting performance as Celie. Even if the stage show sucked (it didn’t) she is worth seeing.

The set stays constant and the costume changes are minimal except for the pants scene which features the song, Miss Celie’s Pants…it’s fantastic.

Jennifer Hudson has a lovely voice which many are familiar with from American Idol and her Oscar winning performance in the movie, Dreamgirls, but her performance in The Color Purple is tepid.

Erivo stops the show with her emotional rendering of, I’m Here. Not only is her voice beyond incredible, but her sincere and empathetic acting hit all the right notes.

I have not had such a visceral reaction since I was privileged to see Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls in 1982 singing, And I’m Telling You.

I would be shocked if Erivo does not win the Tony for best actress in a musical.

If Broadway musicals are your thing, you MUST see Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple.

American Psycho
American Psycho

The next night I attended the opening of, American Psycho, based on Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel (later a ‘cult’ film). The book is notorious for its passages about Manhattan 20-something yuppie hardbodies and their sadistic quest for material success.

The play screams 80’s material excess and the predominantly thirty-something audience howled over every gory detail.

I died for the Huey Lewis and the News song. After spending 14 years as their publicist, I loved hearing Hip To Be Square on Broadway.

Tears For Fears, Everybody Wants to Change The World, Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight and Human League’s, Don’t You Want Me are all included in the musical score.

Benjamin Walker photo:out.com
Benjamin Walker photo:out.com

Benjamin Walker, in the leading role as Wall Street banker, Patrick Bateman, gives a renewed meaning to tighty-whities.

His body is rockin’.

Walker, who grabbed everyone’s attention in the title role of the presidential rock musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, is bloody excellent.

American Psycho/Broadway
American Psycho/Broadway

The sets, costumes and lighting are absolutely captivating.

I really enjoyed the very clever first act, but after intermission, the play dragged a bit. I think American Psycho would benefit from an edit and a stronger closing number.

A standout song is, You Are What You Wear. Three women, led by Bateman’s girlfriend, sing the virtues of Chanel, Gaultier and Giorgio Armani.

Duncan Sheik wrote the music. In 1996 his debut single, Barely Breathing, was a hit. He later expanded to motion pictures and the Broadway stage, writing the music for the successful musical, Spring Awakening, for which he won a Tony.

American Psycho originally opened in London and transferred to NYC with a different cast.

Despite some flaws, I would recommend American Psycho…it is innovative, clever and the cast and sets terrific.

You definitely will be seeing red.

The Color Purple Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre 242 West 45th Street NYC. Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday 2 and 8pm, Thursday 7pm, Friday 8pm, Saturday 2 and 8pm, Sunday 3pm.

American Psycho, The Musical Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre 236 West 45th Street NYC. Check listings for performance days and times.

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