Theater Review – THE COLOR PURPLE – Kansas City

The Color Purple
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri
January 16, 2018

 

Since it’s publication in 1983, Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” has won many awards.  The Pulitzer.   A couple of Tonys.  Heck, if it wasn’t for some bizarre Steven Spielberg backlash the 1985 film version would have one a couple of Oscars.

 

The musical version of “The Color Purple” opened on Broadway in 2005, closing after running for over two years.  In 2016 the show returned to Broadway, where it won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical.  Now the show is on the road and it is definitely not one to miss.

 

The show begins in rural Georgia in 1909.  We meet sisters Nettie (N’jameh Camara) and Celie (Adrianna Hicks).  Nettie is smart and wants to be a teacher.  Celie has always been mistreated and is about to give birth to her second child – by her stepfather.  The baby is born and given away.  We meet Mister (an amazing Gavin Gregory), a widower looking to marry Nettie.  However, when told she is unavailable he settles for Celie, thinking of her not as a wife but as someone to raise his kids and clean his house.    Not exactly a honeymoon.

 

Powerfully told, “The Color Purple” is fairly faithful to the book and film many people will be familiar with.  Many of the familiar characters are here:  Sofia (Carrie Compere), Harpo (J. Daughtry), Squeak (Erica Durham) and, of course, the amazing Shug Avery (Carla R. Stewart).  The story is presented on a minimalistic stage, which consists mostly of a set of risers and a set of wooden chairs.  But the show moves smoothly (though a little slow in the first act) and the cast is amazing.  Both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Stewart have the power to bring down the house with their vocals.  As Sofia, my favorite character in every incarnation of this story, Ms. Compere is both funny and heartbreaking. And I must make special mention of Mr. Gregory, who manages to make a character as dark and seemingly heartless as Mister sympathetic.

 

If you’re familiar with the story, you will genuinely enjoy this production.  If you’re not, you need to take this opportunity to make it’s acquaintance.

 

The show is playing at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City through January 21st.  For tickets and information on this show and future productions, click   HERE

Introducing Canadian Singer-Songwriter Tara Beier with her new Music Video for “This Innocence” off debut EP “Purple Trees”

Introducing Canadian Singer-Songwriter Tara Beier

Re: Online Release of “This Innocence” Music Video off debut EP “Purple Trees”

This Innocence Music Video

PURPLE TREES mixes folk, pop and rock, and is gaining momentum, with three singles featured on Tunecore Weekly Artist spotlights and an international fan base that continues to grow online, currently in tens of thousands.

Tara recently spent a year becoming intimate with the life and music of legendary folk singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie in preparation to play Native American folk singer in the short, “COVERED”, a true gem among indie film buffs. Capturing the spirit and mind of Buffy in COVERED, Tara became intimate with her character. The creation of PURPLE TREES is the culmination of her artistic shift into a focus on music.

Like Tara’s experience, PURPLE TREES is a truly eclectic compilation, pumped out of Vapor Music Studio in Toronto, each song features a flavour unlike the other: earthy rock beats in “Guns Road”; spicy and acoustic soul in “Mayan Sun”; candy cotton sweet political in “Freedom Island”; smooth cool beats in “Give It Up”; ending with the bluegrass pop of “This Innocence”.

Background
Diversity her trademark, coming from a very mixed heritage, her mother Scottish/British/Austrian/Cree and father, Filipino/Hawaiian and Spanish.

Creating music has been a life long process for Tara beginning at the age of six when she first started intensive training in classical piano. Since then she has dedicated her life to the arts, graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree, from the stage to the screen as an actor to filmmaker to musician, she has always remained true to her voice as an artist. In combination with her poetry and writing that developed over the years, as well to Buffy’s influence, she found herself on the same journey as her musical inspirations, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Rodriguez, Bob Marley and Johnny Cash.

Sample Lyrics from her single “Freedom Island”.

“Like specks of dust sparkled in the skies

We fly on high and watch the centuries keep burning by

Its quiet now, we can live with peace in our hearts

While the poor man will always suffer from human greed

Let’s dance till the end in the sand

While man counts his pennies in hand

One day will go to Freedom Island and take our love all the way to the end

Nothing has changed yet everything is different”

 

PURPLE TREES can be heard live as Tara visits various venues in Toronto with her band; Juno-nominated drummer, Tony Nestbitt-Larking; New Zealand bassist George Chenery and renowned classical guitarist, Michael Savona.

Freedom Island Music Video

Upcoming single “GUNS ROAD”

 Website: http://www.tarabeier.blogspot.ca

Blu-ray Review “Deep Purple + Orchestra: Live At Montreux 2011”

Directed by: Stephen “BK” Bentley-Klein
Starring: Deep Purple
Rating: Unrated
Run Time: 115 Mins.
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love rocking out to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”? Such a great track. This Blu-ray was recorded on the closing night of Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival on July 16, 2011. The band re-invented their classic catalog with the help of a symphony orchestra. This is common for recent bands to do like Metallica, Kansas and Queensryche. I really enjoy the new take on great classics that playing with an orchestra presents. These guys still know how to deliver an entertaining concert. Overall this is a must for fans of Deep Purple, especially if your want to catch their classics with a twist.

The Blu-Ray release looks visually great even in 1080i video presentation. The sound also delivers these tracks perfectly in it DTS-HD surround sound track. Some of the great classic included on this concert is “Highway Star”, “Strange Kind of Woman,” “Lazy,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Hush,” “Woman From Tokyo,” “Black Night,” and “Smoke On The Water”. I think the orchestra really adds a new twist on these songs and the band Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar) and Don Airey (keyboards) really seemed to be getting into it along with them.

The concert runs a decent 115-minutes and includes a great theatrical presence from the band. It shows that Deep Purple can still deliver some hardcore kick ass classic rock. There is great in depth interview included on the Blu-ray which has the band chatting about their music and the tour. It is very informative and definitely worth checking out. Whether you are Deep Purple biggest fans or just finding out about them (Thanks to the video game “Rock Band”), this is definitely worth checking out.

TRACK LISTING:
1) Orchestral Intro
2) Highway Star
3) Hard Loving Man
4) Maybe I m A Leo
5) Strage Kind Of Woman
6) Rapture Of The Deep
7) Woman From Tokyo
8) Contact Lost
9) When A Blind Man Cries
10) The Well Dressed Guitar
11) Knocking At Your Back Door
12) Lazy
13) No One Came
14) Don Airey Solo
15) Perfect Strangers
16) Space Truckin
17) Smoke On The Water
18) Hush
19) Black Night

 

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