Last week was an especially Chaka-licious week: as though her well-received new album (blogged about by roc in August) and AfterEllen.com shout-out weren’t enough, producers also announced that Chaka Khan is about to join the Broadway cast of The Color Purple, along with American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones.
The show may have gotten a mixed review from AfterEllen.com Contributing Writer D. Williams for its handling of Celie and Shug’s relationship, but folks haven’t much complained about the singing and it looks like they aim to keep it that way with these additions.
While Khan has done theatre in the past, Jan. 9 will be her debut on the Great White Way. Perhaps she’s looking to add a Tony to her lengthy list of awards; the role of Celie’s neighbor Sofia (with gospel star BeBe Winans as husband Harpo) should allow her to be as fierce as can be.
Jones starts on Dec. 19 as the Church Soloist, who opens the show with a “rousing gospel number”; she’ll also play Sofia during matinees. Sounds about right for Jones, whose pipes were made for just these sorts of tunes (and whose career is happily already heading past the kissing booth once suggested). I certainly remember her powerhouse performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” here for your aural pleasure:
And it’s not as though we need a reminder, but there “Ain’t Nobody” like Chaka Khan:
Between Fantasia, Elisabeth Withers, Khan and Jones, The Color Purple continues to be the place for women on Broadway. Now if only someone would rewrite the playbook so they could have better material to work with — that would really be something to sing about.