'The Color Purple' Sets Broadway Closing Date

Courtesy of Matthew Murphy
Cynthia Erivo in 'The Color Purple'

The Tony-winning revival, which made a New York stage star out of British unknown Cynthia Erivo, will play its final performance on Jan. 8, before launching a North American tour in fall 2017.

The Broadway revival of The Color Purple will end its acclaimed run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Jan. 8, producers announced Sunday.

Originally staged in 2013 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, the production transferred to New York and began performances last year on Nov. 10. It officially opened a month later, less than eight years after the musical's premiere Broadway engagement had closed.

However, director John Doyle's stripped-down reinvention of the material, coupled with the thrilling star turn of British newcomer Cynthia Erivo in the lead role of Celie, propelled the revival to some of the most ecstatic reviews of the season. Across the board, critics raved that the production far outshone the strengths of the overblown earlier incarnation.

The show was nominated for four Tony Awards, winning best musical revival and lead actress in a musical for Erivo, who was the sole contender in a musical acting field this year to prevail over the competition from Hamilton.

The combination of rapturous reviews, the Tony spotlight and Jennifer Hudson's star power in the original cast gave the production initial buoyancy at the box office. But the show was never quite a sellout success, and business has been dipping since the summer, prompting producers to close after the lucrative holiday period. Grosses to date stand at $37 million.

A representative for The Color Purple confirmed that the production has recouped a substantial portion of its $8 million capitalization, with the hope that future companies, including the North American tour launching in fall 2017, will close the remaining gap.

Lead producers on the revival are Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Oprah Winfrey and David Babani. When it closes, the musical will have played 33 previews and 449 regular performances.

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