Arts coalition treats hundreds to “The Color Purple” at Citi center

“I would go back again, and again, and again if I could!” exclaims Cindy Reed, one of scores of Dorchester residents who received free tickets for the June 16th Community Night performance of “The Color Purple,” the hit “musical about love,” currently running at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre.

“When I went, I was extremely tired and was hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep. When I left there, I wanted more,” she adds. “The singing was phenomenal, and oh my goodness, the African dancing piece!”

Reed, who is affiliated with Dot’s PeaceBoston, received the complimentary seats through SpectrumBoston (SpectrumBoston.org), a city-wide collaboration aimed to engage diverse audiences in Boston’s varied culture through interactive programming. Thanks to the generous support of the Paul A. Kaplan Ticket Access Fund and the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, over 60 area schools and community organizations, in all more than 1,000 individuals, attended Community Night.

Among the Dorchester community partners bringing groups to the Wang were Bird Street Community Center, Boston Latin Academy, Bowdoin Street Health Center, DotWell, Freedom House, Greater Love Tabernacle Church, Franklin Park Development Tenants Association and Griffin House of Boston.

Marisa Luce, Director of Community Programs at Dotwell, who describes herself as a “true believer in the arts programs,” sees Spectrum’s efforts as crucial now that arts programs have been curtailed in schools. She called the trip different from previous shows DotWell had gone to.

“It was a special treat because everyone was familiar with the book and movie. The show was enriching for both the young people and their families, and we really appreciate the opportunity,” said Luce.

“Our community partners have helped make SpectrumBoston, including ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ ‘ at the Strand Theatre, a huge success,”said Josiah A. Spaulding, President /CEO of the Citi Performing Arts Center. “The collaboration really helped to highlight how integrated educational outreach, community programs, and theatrical performances can engage diverse audiences in the various arts opportunities in our city.”

The Kaplan foundations had previously allowed approximately 500 underserved youth and families to attend the mid-April Strand performances of “Ain’t Misbehavin,’ ” starring American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. With 1,000 spectators at the Strand on Easter Sunday, the enthusiasm for live musicals was very strong. Boston University film grad student Andrea Peterson captured the excitement of Dot residents for the show and the revitalization of the Strand in a mini-documentary for Spectrum, viewable at the Reporter’s website, DotNews.com.

Performances of “The Color Purple” continue through Sunday, June 28 starring petite powerhouse Kenita R. Miller, as the lead character Celie, the role she performed on Broadway along with several other members of the Broadway cast. Details at citicenter.org/ColorPurple.

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