John Doyle

An affecting 'Color Purple' features sterling cast, inspired direction at Hippodrome

An affecting 'Color Purple' features sterling cast, inspired direction at Hippodrome

When Adrianna Hicks, playing the supremely tested Celie in the revelatory revival of “The Color Purple” now at the Hippodrome Theatre, lets a smile light her long-clouded face and sings “Yes, I’m beautiful, and I’m here,” the jolt couldn’t be much greater if lightning struck the place. Catharsis rarely looks and sounds so sweet.

It’s safe to say the whole musical has never been more compelling than it is in the version unveiled on Broadway a couple of years ago — the version that officially launched a national tour this week in Baltimore, with a terrific cast.

The show’s cumulative power stems, of course, from the 1982 Alice Walker novel that inspired it. The author touches...

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