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‘The Color Purple’ Tea w/Adrianna Hicks

Powerful…..spiritual…..riveting…….timeless……relevant….and 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Revival. 

And let’s not leave out an evening of pure entertainment fronted by a truly all-star cast (get to know them right here) of some of the Great White Way’s boldest and fiercest performers. 

Yes, those are all of the completely accurate words and phrases to use when it comes to describing the box office owning national tour of the smash Broadway wonder, The Color Purple, in which all of Philadelphia and the tri-state area will be getting to witness first-hand when it takes over the Forrest Theatre for a very, very special limited engagement beginning tonight through this Sunday, December 17th.

And when it comes to describing the incredibly lovely Adrianna Hicks whose been garnering grand reviews for her pulsating portrayal of lead Purple heroine, Celie?

Well, there’s just not enough adjectives in the world to describe her grace, poise, sense of humor and truckloads of sensational and scorching talent.

But you’ll be able to get to know all of it and then some before she owns the Philly spotlight as Ms. Hicks was gracious enough to stop by the Philly Mixtape entertainment tea table, where the red-hot superstar broke mugs about the tour, her favorite holiday records, why this show is just so important for all of us in these crazy times, and of course, her relationship with the original Celie herself, Ms. Whoopi Goldberg.

Read on…and then get those tickets

Hey, Adrianna! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Philly Mixtape. I truly appreciate it. Okay, so kicking off our little spill, how are you feeling leading up to the big opening night in Philly? I’m feeling so great. The tour has just been truly amazing. My experience has been something greater than I could have ever imagined…I’m really enjoying myself! 

On to the show! Would you say that you’ve had different audience reactions traveling from city-to-city with this tour? Absolutely, which I think is really awesome. It keeps things fresh, it keeps things new. We are doing eight shows a week and after a while things can get repetitive–not in a bad way–but just going from place-to-place and allowing the audience to desire anything that they want to experience with what we give out has been truly rewarding and very freeing.

Is it tough going in not knowing what the audience reaction will be given the deep and powerful material in this show? It’s good to go in not knowing what to expect because I never want my performance to come out of something that I’ve already previously experienced. [I like] to go in as true as I can without having expectations like, “Oh, they’re going to laugh here, or their going to do this here,” because it totally takes me out of the story that needs to be told in the moment. It’s where I am in the present that has absolutely helped me to grow as an artist on this tour. 

What have been some of your favorite tour stops so far? I really have loved Boston, Detroit was a lively crowd! It’s also great to get to perform in cities that I had no idea about..like Des Moines, Iowa! They were wonderful! 

Let’s talk about the iconic lead role of Celie, which of course was made famous by Ms. Whoopi Goldberg in the Oscar-winning 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s timeless novel. I have to ask, have you met Ms. Whoopi before? Side note…I have no shame in saying that I’m an avid watcher of ‘The View’  Yes! Whoopi is amazing. She’s a wonderful human being. We met on the Broadway production I guess about two years ago now. Talk about a remarkable woman. The fact that she has her mind and opinion on things, she just knows what she wants to say, which I really honor that about her. Every time we hear her speak it’s like she’s truly thought about what she has to say. It’s not something she pulls from the air…she’s processed things from the world and has an incredible perspective on the topics that affect us. 

Speaking of which, a lot of those topics stem from what a crazy year it’s been for all of us. So, what words of strength and wisdom would you say to somebody who may be skeptical about the future after the dizzying direction we all seem to be locked into these days? The first thing that comes to mind is to keep going. I have to say, after performing Celie–and it hasn’t been a majority of the time yet–but seeing how this woman goes through so many trials and tribulations that would really bring down someone…just break you down with all of the valid reasons. I just have to say that if Celie can get up and even forgive the very people who have put her through so many things, then there’s nothing that we can’t do. It’s great to know that there’s a sense that we can do the impossible–or what might seem like the impossible–in the mist of chaos and all of these things that there’s order to be found. 

And the show couldn’t be traveling the country at a better time right now……The cast always says that we’re here at such a time as this……and that’s what makes The Color Purple such a timeless and priceless story. Also in the fact that we’ve been able to visit and see multi-cultural audiences in every person–black, white, male, female–all of these people are able to walk away with a spiritual experience. The show does highlight specific groups, however, but the fact that Celie goes through things that every person on this planet has gone through. as far as insecurities, questioning, wondering and blinding hoping in things. Not necessarily blinding hoping, but hoping that heaven last always and whatever that’s in their minds, people are able to really gleam from that. It’s something I can’t express how much joy it brings me to see an upper class white man walk away in tears. Or to see a little black girl in the front row watching the show screaming with joy…it [makes me certain] we’re doing our job. 

Okay, onto a bit lighter topic for a moment…music!! What are some of your all-time favorite records? And maybe the first record you ever bought? For me, I have to say the Boyz 11 Men Legacy album is awesome. They had that classic sound [back then] that was kind of lost as far as these boy groups that didn’t quite have it. I remember my Mom also playing a lot of Luther Vandross. And of course, Mary J. Blige….Share My World…yes! I was just jamming out to that recently….because it’s still just so good. And my very first album that I bought was actually the Backstreet Boys  Millennium

How about any favorite holiday records? I don’t know about you, but I feel like the Destiny’s Child holiday record is stalking me lately…I’ve been hearing it everywhere I go. Ha! I used to love that song…”On the first day of Christmas”..it was so good! My favorite Christmas album…ooh..I immediately went to Luther’s Christmas album..cause it’s really dope. But really, there’s nothing like Mariah. That album was revolutionary….I fully believe that. And I also love Pentatonix second Christmas album. I was actually living in Vienna, Austria at the time [that] album came out and I just remember it really touched my soul. I just have so many memories of connecting that album to living overseas…and overseas they know how to do Christmas! 

One last little spill…..describe The Color Purple in one word. Revival. 

And there you have it.

For your tickets to see the incredible Adrianna Hicks take on the legendary role of Celie in The Color Purple while it’s in town through this Sunday, December 17th….you must absolutely go right here, right now because this is one spectacular night out to that you absolutely should not miss out on this week…or ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Why Everyone (Meaning You) Should Go See ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ This Week

Get ready, because the moment that every single theater kid, kween, guy and gal in Philly has been waiting for has finally arrived….the Forrest Theatre (1114 Walnut St.) is now open for lots and lots of local entertainment business during its 2017/2018 season. 

And sashaying things off in a most fierce way will be the traveling production of the critically acclaimed and Tony Award snatching (isn’t that right, Mr. NPH?) rock musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which struts its stuff in Philly starting today through this Sunday, April 23rd. 

Just to spill a little tea on Ms. Hedwig, the show was written by John Cameron Mitchell (who also played the starring role in the critically acclaimed 2001 film adaptation),and is a certified rock musical about a fictional rock and roll band fronted by a transgender East German singer, Hedwig Robinson.

The story is based on Mitchell’s life as the son of a U.S. Army Major General who once commanded the U.S. sector of occupied West Berlin and the character of Hedwig was inspired by a German divorced U.S. Army wife who was a Mitchell family babysitter and moonlighted as a prostitute at her trailer park home in Kansas.

But besides its gripping and highly relevant storyline, Hedwig truly rocks thanks to the genius of musical artist Stephen Trask, who used the 1970s glam rock style of our dearly departed David Bowie (who actually co-produced the Los Angeles production of the show), as well as the work of John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop to give us such loud, memorable rocked out smashes like “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town” and of course, everyone’s favorite, “Sugar Daddy.” 

The musical opened Off-Broadway in 1998 and went on to win the Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. The production ran for two years, which only helped it to remount itself with various casts by the original creative team in other US cities;eventually gaining steam across the pond with a successful run in London’s West End.  

In 2014, Hedwig returned to Broadway at the Belasco Theatre and went on to win that year’s Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress for Lena Hall (as co-lead Yitzhak), and of course, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Mr. Neil Patrick Harris, who is a big reason why the buzz for the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is still going strong.

And here’s five more reasons why everyone (meaning you) should get those tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Forrest Theatre this week. Rock on..now. 

1.It’s kicking off what’s shaping up to be a fabulous 2017/2018 season at the Forrest Theatre…    From Hedwig starting today through Sunday, April 23rd to Fun Home in June to The Color Purple around the holidaze all the way to Waitress just in time for Valentine’s Day, Forrest has quite a roster of critically acclaimed Broadway smashes lined up over the next bit of time in our crazy lives, so why not stop, take a seat and grab tickets…to them all. 

And the fact that it’s all kicking off with Ms. Hedwig and all of that music you just absolutely can’t wait to see life on the Forrest stage…well, that gives way to the conclusion that it’s going to be quite an incredible season over at 1114 Walnut St. 

2.Because if you get those tickets right now…you’ll save some coins! Yas.  Because you’re all just so fabulous, the kind kids over at The Kimmel Center have noticed all of your shimmering accomplishments and as a very special treat, they’re offering this special code–HWFGNA329–that’ll help you save a sexy twenty percent off those tickets for Hedwig! Although select performances do apply, don’t miss a chance to chantay right into this beloved musical before it struts out-of-town this Sunday. Seriously..don’t. Go here now. 

3.Because Rolling Stone magazine really, really, really likes ‘Hedwig:’ It is an evening of spirit, wit and crunch worthy of Madison Square Garden — that is, if there really were a Hedwig. She is actually a brilliant work of fiction, the creation of actor-writer John Cameron Mitchell and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask, and she is the centerpiece of their dynamite one-act theater piece, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Since opening last Valentine’s Day at the tiny Jane Street Theater in lower Manhattan, Hedwig — with Mitchell in kinetic drag as Hedwig; Trask and his real-life band, Cheater, as the Angry Inch; and Miriam Shor in reverse drag as the grumpy Yitzak — has been getting rave reviews and playing to ecstatic houses. An original-cast album is due shortly on Atlantic Records, and Mitchell and Trask have signed with New Line Cinema to put Hedwig on the big screen.”

And RS goes on to spill……”All this good fortune is for good reason, too. In the whole long, sorry history of rock musicals, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the first one that truly rocks.” 

Enough said. For much, much more on all things Hedwig and the Angry Inch, peep these Rolling Stone’s from May 7th, 2014 and July 20th, 2001 and prepare yourself for the whole thing. 

4.Because your respect for Doogie Howser, M.D. is the true reason the show’s here right now…  And much like our soon-to-be Philly love for Hedwig, it’s a certain kind of love and respect that will never, ever end. Grab those tickets. 

5.Because no warm weathered season in Philly is complete without taking in one or two hundred shows…    Whether you live for every single grand performance that takes place at the Forrest Theatre, Walnut St. Theatre, Kimmel Center and The Academy Music, or if you love to rock and/or groove it out at NOTO, Tabu, The Fillmore, The Foundry, Johnny Brenda’s and Rumor or any other fab venues the City of Brotherly Love has to offer, just get out there and show your love to the performance arts community. It’s really that simple. 

And you know what else is simple? Getting those tickets for Hedwig (here’s that code again…HWFGNA329) and a chance to sashay straight into not just a fabulous season at the Forrest Theatre, but of your life. Now, rock…and walk. 

Are you an entertainer, promoter or event planner who’s struttin’ along fabulously in Philadelphia? Then Philly Mixtape wants to hear from you! For questions, comments and everything else in beat-tween (everyone’s welcome here, so don’t ever be shy), become a fan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and/or email Patrick DeMarco at iluvbeatz96@gmail.com and let’s promote it ALL up proper!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch cover photo courtesy of The Kimmel Center