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‘Color Purple’ B’way bound in early ’05

Co. also developing musical with AC/DC singer

The musical version of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” is slated for an early 2005 arrival on Broadway following a tryout run at a regional theater in fall 2004.

Creative Battery, which produced “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” is in final negotiations with a regional theater to mount “The Color Purple.” Tuner will receive a workshop in New York in February; act one was workshopped earlier this year in Chicago.

“We’ll make any creative changes during and after the one (tryout), but we feel real good about the creative direction,” said Creative Battery founder Scott Sanders. Company has financed the tuner’s development to date and will seek financial partners after the regional production is staged.

CB secured the rights to Walker’s novel and the Steven Spielberg-directed film, which has helped in the direction of the musical. “Alice wrote it in a way that doesn’t lend itself to linear storytelling, so we have watched the film several times and may very well borrow from Steven’s instincts about how to stage the novel,” Sander said.

Creatives on the team include songwriters Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray (Daily Variety, Feb. 21, 2002).

Gary Griffin, associate artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is reported to be directing; playwright Regina Taylor, artistic associate at Chi’s Goodman, is penning the book.

In addition to “The Color Purple,” Creative Battery is developing a musical with AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson. CB has partnered Johnson with the scribes who penned “The Commitments,” Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Sanders said the tuner is in “the embryonic stage.”

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