The Color Purple at Players by the Sea

Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach has opened its 53rd season in spectacular style with a magnificent production of The Color Purple. The musical is onstage through Oct. 14, and shouldn’t be missed.

Based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker, The Color Purple follows the journey of Celie, an African-American woman in the American South from the early to mid-20th century. At 14, Celie is forced by her abusive father to marry a cruel farmer, called “Mister,” and is separated from all that she loves. Despite many challenges, Celie never loses her faith and hope, and finds the strength to triumph over adversity.

The Color Purple is a marvelous theater experience of song, dance and acting. The production is expertly directed by Jereme Raickett, who has done an amazing job bringing the love and emotion of this big production to life. Music director Meachum Clarke and choreographer Sherrod Brown also make brilliant contributions to the richness of this show. The music is a soulful blend of jazz, gospel, ragtime and the blues. The band, featuring Elena Maier, David Ott, Sean Tillis, Bit Risner, Alexander Hernandez and Louis Ocasio, is flawless

The cast, comprised of more than 30 local volunteer actors, singers and dancers, is exceptionally talented. The voices in this show are incredibly strong and all of the actors delivered outstanding performances. Following the opening night performance, audience members were raving about Jamie King’s portrayal as Celie. King’s memorable performance revealed Celie’s suffering and strength over four decades.

The production would not have been possible without the dedication of designers, crew members and the production team. The set, designed by Daniel Dungan and brought to life by Baron Tetzlaff, Nate Cimmino and Katie Dawson, is beautiful and works well to bring the story to life. The costumes, designed by Camala Pitts and Dorinda Quiles, add authentic style. Creative team credits also include assistant director Bryce Cofield, stage manager Jackie Jantzen, assistant stage manager Justin Brown, properties by Claire Cimino, and production assistants Kris Jackson and Maxie Coleman.

Performances continue through Oct. 14. Tickets are $28 general admission, $25 for seniors, students and military. The theater offers half price tickets to students on Thursday nights. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged. Opening weekend performances sold out in advance.

Players by the Sea is located at 106 6th St. N. in Jacksonville Beach. For tickets, visit http://www.playersbythesea.org or call 904.249.0289.