The Color Purple is glorious amongst musicals in that it entertains and ultimately uplifts audiences to a state of sheer joy, whilst taking them on a passionate journey of an inspiring family saga – telling the unforgettable story of a woman who, through love, finds the strength to triumph over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world.

“I have read the book and seen the movie a dozen times and was fortunate enough to see the first production of the musical on Broadway,” says Joburg City Theatres’ CEO Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema. “The Color Purple, although set in a different time, tells a relevant story not new to our society in 2018.  The show tells of hardships, anguish, love, joy and hope and deals with issues that still need to be addressed.”

The musical The Color Purple is based upon the 1982 novel written by Alice Walker and the 1985 motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.  The musical’s book is by Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Set to a joyous score featuring jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, it’s a story of hope – a testament to the healing power of love and a celebration of life.

The Color Purple is long overdue in Africa,” says Makhaola Ndebele, Artistic Director for Joburg City Theatres. “The South African production promises to be an emotionally charged, performance driven musical that is on par with its award winning predecessors.”

The Color Purple the musical will be presented by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay on the stage of The Nelson Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre, with an official opening date set for Sunday February 4th 2018.  The season will continue until Sunday March 4th.  The producers have already spent four years negotiating for the rights and preparing for this South African theatrical coup: the first major international staging of the musical following the 2015 Broadway revival.

The outstanding all-South African creative team assembled by the producers will be helmed by internationally acclaimed, award-winning director Janice Honeyman.  The musical direction is by Rowan Bakker, choreography by Oscar Buthelezi, production design by Sarah Roberts, lighting design by Mannie Manim and sound design by Richard Smith.

The cast features (in alphabetical order) Zane Gillion, Didintle Khunou, Sebe Leotlela, Dolly Louw, Andile Magxaki, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri, Venolia Manale, Namisa Mdlalose, Phumi Mncayi, Neo Motaung, Lerato Mvelase, Tshepo Ncokoane, Thokozani Nzima, Funeka Peppeta, Aubrey Poo, Senzesihle Radebe, Lelo Ramasimong, Zolani Shangase, Ayanda Sibisi and Lebo Toko.

“The Color Purple will thrill, excite, engage, enthral and emote audiences like no other musical before it.  I believe that South African audiences will laugh, will cry, will cheer,” says Bernard Jay, executive producer of the South African production. “But they will never forget The Color Purple.”

Tickets from R240 are available now: telephone 0861 670 670, go online at or book in person at the Joburg Theatre box office.  Theatre patrons can also book online and pay at selected Pick N Pay stores.

The Color Purple in South Africa is presented in association with MNET, 702, BONA and RADA.

Sello Ramosepele

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