A colourful season: Neptune Theatre to be first in Canada to perform The Color Purple musical
The Halifax theatre launched their 2018/19 season on Wednesday, including The Color Purple, Cinderella, a Theo Fleury play and more.
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The artistic director of Neptune Theatre welled up with tears while announcing the closing production of the 2018/2019 season would make history.
Jeremy Webb, new artistic director of the theatre, hosted the noon launch on Wednesday to a packed house.
For the first time ever in Canada, The Color Purple will be performed as Neptune’s closing show of the season.
The production will be on stage in Fountain Hall from April 9 to June 2 in 2019.
Based on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple musical was originally produced for Broadway by Oprah Winfrey. Since 2005 the production has earned 13 Tony Award nominations.
“We [are focusing] on making sure that we see stories from all segments of the community on stage. Our goal is diversity not just in the stories we tell, but in the casting,” said Webb.
The Color Purple tells the tale of Celie, a poor uneducated 14-year-old Black girl living in rural Georgia. After 40 years of unimaginable adversity, hope and love allow Celie to triumph over hate.
Directed by Kimberley Rampersad, the play will feature an award-winning score containing jazz, ragtime, gospel, and R&B.
The upcoming season also features productions such as Cinderella and Shakespeare in Love, while Les Misérables will be performed by students from The Neptune Theatre School.
Along with these big name productions, the theatre will be showcasing local writers and producers.
The Argyle St. Kitchen Party, created by Jeremy Webb and Ian Sherwood, tells the story of three roommates who try to throw the world’s best party. The performance will feature a working bar on stage, different musical guests for each show, and audience participation.
Kamp, directed by Sam Rosenthal, takes the audience into the lives of a group of homosexual prisoners who are subjected to hard labour and torture in a Nazi concentration camp in 1943. The men use art as a way to survive and hold onto their humanity.
Playing with Fire, by Kirstie McLellan Day, dives into the life of Theo Fleury, the pint-sized Métis boy who would eventually become a Canadian hockey hero. The entire production will be performed on ice.
Webb also announced that Neptune will now run year round, including the summer months.
“It is about finding the balance to get a great mix of big productions and local stories so that Atlantic Canadian’s can see all of themselves on the stage represented,” said Webb.
“This is a season of love.”
Upcoming Neptune highlights
The Argyle St. Kitchen Party: July 3 – July 29, 2018
Shakespeare in Love: Sept. 4 – Oct. 7, 2018
Playing with Fire – The Theo Fleury Story: Oct.16 – Nov. 4, 2018
Kamp: Oct. 23 - Nov.11, 2018
Cinderella: Nov.27, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019
The Color Purple: April 9 – June 2, 2019
Funk, Soul, & Rare Grooves - An Evening with The Mellotones: Nov. 16 - 17, 2018
The Lear Project: March 22 - 24, 2019