“Purple” Overamplified, Overheated, And Overhyped

John Lahr writes that “The Color Purple” fails on a number of levels. “Marsha Norman’s libretto is a kind of color-me-purple comic-book outline: it gives us the externals of the plot but not, in any meaningful sense, the internal life of the characters, who function more as anecdotes than as dramatic influences on Celie. As a result, what is earned sentiment in the novel becomes mere sentimentality in the musical. Everything is as literal as a street sign, and sometimes not as interesting.”