Arachnophonia: The Color Purple

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library student worker Susie (class of 2019), and features the 2005 cast recording for the Tony award winning Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple. Thanks, Susie!

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

This is one of the best cast recordings for a Broadway musical I have ever listened to. Often it can be difficult to understand the musical and truly appreciate it when you only listen to the soundtrack without ever seeing the show. The Color Purple is different, the plot, heartbreaks, triumphs, and best moments are all captured within the cast recording.

While listening to the “Opening/Mysterious Ways”, the listener can imagine being in this small town filled with gossip and hardships.
In the series of songs “Big Dog”, “Lily of the Field”, and “Dear God” the listener is experiencing horrific events with Celie and mourning with her. Even a person who does not have strong faith can feel the glory of God in the musical’s title song “The Color Purple”. And the strength Celie shows in her songs “Miss Celie’s Pants” and “I’m Here” can give any listener the strength to get through the toughest of times. This soundtrack gives listeners the incredible experience of listening to an amazing musical, but it also takes listeners on Celie’s journey to hell and back and her strength and wisdom can lift up anyone.

I recommend laying back, closing your eyes, and letting this cast recording take you on a journey that will surprise and uplift you.

Playbill - The Color Purple

Cover of the Playbill for the 2016 revival of the show — which won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical in 2017.

Spider Sounds: Wicked

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by KyungSun, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features the Broadway musical Wicked based on “The Wizard of Oz” and Gregory Maguire‘s literary reimagining of the story. The musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz premiered in 2003 and is still going strong on Broadway and on tour. Thanks, KyungSun!



It’s one thing to see Broadway or even claim you love live musical theater. But we all know that as artists or avid fans, we LOVE to sing along (or at least try to).

Wicked is one of my favorite musicals. I saw it twice, and teared up both times. Why? If you haven’t seen it, it’s more than cheesy story about friendship. It’s also about the political manipulation, perception, and the power of language. Even more than that, Wicked has gotten me through some pretty tough times. If you haven’t heard of the song “The Wizard and I,” I highly recommend you listen or even better – sing it! – to find your inner confidence. The line, “My future is unlimited. And I’ve just had a vision almost like a prophecy. I know – it’s truly crazy. And true, the vision’s hazy. But I swear, someday there will be a celebration throughout Oz, that’s all to do with me.” This line reminds me to keep dreaming even when your own hometown is literally against you. If you’ve seen the beginning of The Wizard of Oz film, you’ll know why this particular lyric is important. Sure, other songs like “Popular” aren’t something we can (or should) sing as our life anthem, but it’s so much fun to try out…in your own room. Be sure to check out the Parsons Music Library‘s extensive collection of your favorite musicals if you’re ever in need of a sing your heart out moment!