Signature announces ‘Color Purple’ cast and creative team

Nova Y. Payton stars as Celie and Timothy Douglas directs the musical featuring a soaring score of jazz, gospel, blues, and ragtime.

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the musical The Color Purple by Marsha Norman (book), Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray (music & lyrics), based on the novel by Alice Walker and the Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment Motion Picture. The Color Purple is directed by Timothy Douglas (Signature’s Spunk, Portland Center Stage’s The Color Purple), heralded for his “passion and precision” by DC Theatre Arts, with Nova Y. Payton (Signature’s After MidnightDreamgirls), who The Washington Post called a “powerhouse mainstay of musical theater in Washington” starring as Celie. Performances run August 16 to October 9, 2022, in Signature’s MAX Theatre. Tickets are available at

The Color Purple is a story about spirituality, forgiveness, and love,” said Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “Celie rises above oppression and pain to discover her own strength. Signature is fortunate to have Nova Y. Payton lead this extraordinary company as Celie, under the direction of the remarkable Timothy Douglas. I look forward to welcoming audiences to discover the divine beauty in the world around them this fall at The Color Purple.”

“As anyone who has read Alice Walker’s book can attest, the experience of Celie — in conversation with her God — radiates the vibratory effect of music that stirs in the reader’s soul with each and every one of her prayers,” said The Color Purple Director Timothy Douglas. “With this presentation of the musical stage play, the inspired music is real, and will stir all the senses! The spirit, essence, and appearance of this Signature theatrical communion is The Color Purple.

In The Color Purple, a teenage Celie is torn from her beloved sister and forced into an abusive marriage. Over the next forty years, while Celie encounters repression, despair and heartbreak, she also discovers hope in a group of friends who inspire her to find her voice, discover her beauty, and change her life. Dane Figueroa Edidi (Signature’s Spunk, Portland Center Stage’s The Color Purple) is the choreographer, and Mark G. Meadows (Signature’s RENTAfter Midnight) is the music director.

In addition to Nova Y. Payton, the cast for The Color Purple includes Danielle J. Summons (Off-Broadway’s Baby, National Tour of Les Misérables) as Shug Avery, Frenchie Davis (Broadway’s RENTThe Voice) as Sofia, Kaiyla Gross (Signature’s RENT, Olney Theatre Center’s Miss You Like Hell) as Nettie, Stephawn P. Stephens (Signature’s Billy ElliotDreamgirls) as Ol’ Mister/Preacher, Solomon Parker III (Signature’s RENT, Ford’s Theatre’s The Wiz) as Harpo, Tẹmídayọ Amay (Round House Theatre’s Schools Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, The Kennedy Center’s She A Gem) as Squeak, and Torrey Linder (National Tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Playhouse on Park’s The Scottsboro Boys) as Mister. The ensemble is rounded out by Ian Anthony Coleman (Signature’s Grand Hotel), Jalisa Williams (ArtsCentric’s Chicago), Keenan McCarter (Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival’s Roméo et Juliette), Nia Savoy-Dock (Constellation Theatre Company’s Aida), Raquel Jennings (Ford’s Theatre’s Grace), Sean-Maurice Lynch (Signature’s Dreamgirls), Tobias A. Young (Ford’s Theatre’s Ragtime), and Yewande Odetoyinbo (Studio Theatre’s Torch Song Trilogy). Catrina Brenae, Gabrielle Rice and Jay Frisby are swings.

The creative team for The Color Purple includes Scenic Design by Tony Cisek (New York Theatre Workshop’s columbinus, Arena Stage’s Disgraced), Costume Design by Kara Harmon (The Public Theater’s Cullud Wattah, Ford’s Theatre’s The Wiz), Lighting Design by Peter Maradudin (Broadway’s Ma Rainey’s Black BottomThe Kentucky Cycle), Sound Design by Ryan Hickey (Signature’s She Loves MeRENT), and Hair, Wig & Make-up Design by J. Jared Janas (Signature’s After Midnight, Broadway’s How I Learned to Drive). Chelsea Pace and Greg Geffrard are Co-Intimacy Choreographers. Fight Choreography is by Casey Kaleba. New York Casting is by JZ Casting. Signature Casting is by Kelly Crandall D’Amboise and Jorge AcevedoKerry Epstein is the Production Stage Manager, Taryn Friend is the Assistant Stage Manager, Kelsey Jenkins is the Production Assistant, Ezinne Elele is the Assistant Director, Angie Benson is the Associate Music Director, Channing Tucker is the Assistant Costume Designer, Tony Lauro is the Associate Hair, Wig & Make-up Designer, and Alexander Greenberg is the Keyboard Programmer.

Nova Y. Payton photo by Cameron Whitman

The Color Purple plays from August 16 to October 9, 2022, at Signature Theatre’s
MAX Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue in Arlington, VA. For tickets ($40–$108), call (703) 820-9771 or purchase onlineInformation about ticket discounts is available here.

COVID Safety: Signature requires all attendees ages 6 and up (Signature does not admit children under 6) to wear a mask to attend all live public performances and events at indoor venues.  Signature’s COVID safety plans can be found here.

Closed captions will be available for every show via the GalaPro app.
Pride Night: September 16, 2022
Post-show Discussions: September 13 and 21, 2022

Inside Signature, a discussion with The Color Purple cast member Danielle J. Summons will take place Thursday, September 1, at 1 pm, in Signature’s lobby. Free, no RSVP required.


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