The Color Purple x3: From Musical Back To Movie Screen, Expected 2023

Warner Bros., which will release The Color Purpleadaptation, has set a release date of December 23rd, 2023 for the big-screen musical. The Hollywood Reporter adds that In the Heights star Corey Hawkins is set to play Harpo in the adaptation.

Rolling Stone

The Color Purple is a novel by Alice Walker, published in 1982 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983. It was later adapted into a movie and directed by Steven Spielberg in 1985. The Color Purple was also adapted for the theatre, and the first Broadway production premiered in 2005.

For those of us who have read the novel and or seen the movie and Broadway Play,  we know the story is about a young WOC named Celia (Whoopi Goldberg) and her plight through life. She was torn apart from her sister, Nettie (Akosua Busia), abused and was molested by her step father, had 2 children by him, and then forced to marry Mister, (Danny Glover). 

The two adaptations from the original novel depicted Celie’s experiences from a teenager to adulthood where she encounters Sophia ( Oprah Winfrey), Harpo (Willard E. Pugh ), Squeak, (Rae Dawn Chong), and Shug Avery (Margaret Avery).


Over the years, The Color Purple has transitioned from a novel to play,a musical, and now audiences will be able to witness the transformation of the musical going to the movie screen.

The Color Purple as a novel, made readers use their imaginations by inviting them into Ms. Walker’s imagination, purpose, and created many themes and famous lines. The movie gave faces to the characters from the novel, which made audiences look at what was happening in the novel. The Broadway Musical written by Marsha Norman, showed off the talents of the actors as they portrayed the thoughts, feelings,emotions and actions of the original characters, through singing, dancing, and demonstrating to the audience the original intent of Ms. Walker, from the novel.

The Broadway Musical starred Cynthia Erivo as (Celie), Carrie Compere as (Sofia), Jennifer Holiday as (Shug Avery). And in 2016, the Broadway Musical starred Jennifer Hudson as (Shug Avery). On the stage, Erivo took Celie’s line, “I’m still here”, and brought more of the feelings of the character.

Carrie Compere (Sofia) and the North American tour cast of THE COLOR PURPLE. Photo by Matthew Murphy

And just like there are differences in the characters, there are as many differences in bringing a musical to the screen. For example, cinematology has developed into making adaptations of novels more realistic by bringing special effects that affect the composition of what happens in the scenery, camera angles, lighting, color and sounds. This is what brings out what readers couldn’t see or hear in the brilliantly written novel by Ms. Walker.

What some audiences may not know is that The Color Purple was banned in 1984, but fans of the novel and movie still quote various characters’ famous lines.

For example, “Dis here our juke joint”, (Squeak) played by H.E.R in the new adaptation. — Will she sing it or say it? Either way, we’re excited about the new adaptation and especially grateful to witness the legacy of the novel.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what the directors and cast will do on the screen because the musical to the screen doesn’t change the story line. But it will enhance the storyline and themes by the cinematology used for scenery, special effects and lighting. Although the musical to the screen will represent dramatic irony, the new cast members will have their moments to shine as well as those from the past.

We just have to wait and see what Celie’s “Dead God” letters will reveal as we anticipate The Color Purple’s transition from the musical to the screen in 2023!