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'The Color Purple' theater collaboration receives $25,000 grant from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. arts & culture initiative


Fri, Jan 13th 2023 04:55 pm

“The Color Purple” marks the first collaboration between Second Generation Theatre, Ujima Theatre Company and Shea's 710 Theatre.

A press release noted, “Each company’s theater professionals bring a variety of skills, qualifications, culture and values that come together as one. This diverse team is aligned in the mission to create an inclusive and collaborative experience while telling this important story to our existing and new audiences.”

In preparation for the performance, Ujima and Second Generation recently applied for $25,000 support for “The Color Purple” from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and the request was accepted.

The press release said, “This collaborative project is based on increasing diversity and inclusion. The funds from the Wilson arts and cultural initiative will go directly toward covering artistic expenses incurred by the theaters. This includes paying for the rights to produce ‘The Color Purple,’ paying artistic salaries (performers, musicians, creative staff), materials to build sets and costumes, and highly focused marketing.”

In a joint statement, the companies stated, "This grant allows us to provide local artists with a work opportunity, allowing them share their gift with audiences right here in Buffalo. This grant money will bring our community together to experience the magic of live theater and help propel our organizations so we can continue to provide opportunities to others for years to come."

Organizers said, “The success of this project strengthens the organizations by creating an influx of patrons who are now familiar with the excellent work of the companies, and the funding from this grant ensures that the companies profit from the collaboration.

“ ‘The Color Purple,’ the first show of the 2023-24 Frey Electric season, also provides the theaters with an opportunity to impact the community through related school programming. Theater education offerings will be provided through Buffalo schools, and the experience will culminate in students attending a performance of the musical.

“The opportunity to work with professional artists and attend a live performance featuring those same artists is unique and fosters a love and support of the arts from a young age.”

Those interested in auditioning for “The Color Purple” are invited to attend an open audition from 6-10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, and from 6-10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Shea’s 710 Theatre. BIPOC actors of all body types who are ages 18 and up are encouraged to attend.

Bring (or email ahead of time) a recent headshot and an updated resume/bio. Come prepared to sing a song of choice in the style of the show. Make a 10-minute appointment for either Jan. 22 or 23 to be considered. Email [email protected] or call 716-508-7480. Include name, contact information, and preferred date and time for the audition appointment.

Callbacks will take place from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24. Rehearsals will begin no earlier than August and may take place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. weekdays, any time Saturday, or Sunday evening. Rehearsal conflicts must be minimal and will be collected at the audition.

Performances of “The Color Purple” will take place Sept. 15 to Oct. 1 at Shea’s 710 Theatre.

“The Color Purple” is from a book by Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Branda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. It is based on the novel by Alice Walker and directed by Sarah Norat-Phillips, with music direction by Karen Saxon and choreography by Naila Ansari.

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