The Color Purple


Writers: Marsha Norman Allee Willis Brenda Russell Stephen Bray Alice Walker


Show Information

Conceived By
Based on the Play/Book/Film
Alice Walker's 1982 novel of the same name
Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
Rural Georgia, 1909-1945
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Some Dance
Ideal for
Large Cast, Mostly Female Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes child, early teen, late teen, young adult, adult, mature adult, elderly characters


Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name, The Color Purple spans 35 years in the life of Celie, a teenage African-American girl living in Georgia who is given by her abusive stepfather to an even more abusive husband. Though Celie spends most of her days as a servant in her own household, she, cut off by her husband from those she loves, tries to remain hopeful that she will ultimately be reunited with her sister Nettie and her children by way of her stepfather, Adam and Olivia. Over the years, Celie, increasingly jaded by her lot, finds ways to cope with life--a potential lover in the fabulous Shug Avery, a friend in her stepson’s wife Sofia, a love of making stretchable pants that turns into a booming business. Though her string of unfortunate events, though, Celie learns that the most important thing is that she is a survivor, and that no matter what happens to her, she is still here.

Lead Characters

The Color Purple guide sections