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The Color Purple: The Musical - National Tour

Houston's Broadway at the Hobby Center Chats with The Color Purple Tour's N’Jameh Camara

Houston's Broadway at the Hobby Center Chats with The Color Purple Tour's N’Jameh Camara
Adrianna Hicks & N'Jameh Camara in 'The Color Purple'
(Photo: Matthew Murphy)
'It constantly challenges and forces me to surrender to the fact that I am enough.'

The New Year kicks off at the Hobby Center with the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival, The Color Purple. Here, N’Jameh Camara (Nettie) shares some insight into this stunning re-imagining of the soul-raising musical.

We are thrilled to have you coming to Houston as part of the national tour of The Color Purple. Have you ever performed here in the past or will this be your first time?
This is the first time I will be performing in Houston and only the second time being in the city.

The staging of this Tony-winning revival is quite different than the original. It is very intimate and stripped down. How does this inform your performance?
It constantly challenges and forces me to surrender to the fact that I am enough. There's no set piece or props to play with. It's just my scene partner and I, and I have to concentrate on everything being real and specific for me. And another thing, it forces me to breathe. That's how concentration gets made.

What is one thing you would want Houston subscribers to know about this show before it hits the Hobby Center stage?
Don't feel pressured to read or, especially, watch the movie before you see our production. But do read the novel in your own time because there are still many thematic points that are juicy in Alice Walker’s novel that are hard to put in the timeframe of a musical.

The relationship between the different female characters is one of the focal points of The Color Purple, including the relationship between your character Nettie, and her sister Celie. Are there any experiences from your own life you used to build your character and her relationship with her sister?
I love that Nettie is on a quest for knowledge and is on a quest to full self-expression, which leads her out of Georgia. I left Wisconsin when I was 18 for college, then grad school, and now I've lived on both coasts and I am getting to travel the country. Also, my father is from The Gambia and has told me some stories about the transition from British Colonial rule to Gambian Independence and peace-keeping. I pull from my roots when I think about Nettie's witnessing of the atrocities that came from, and still remain, from colonization. In terms of her relationship to Celie, I've found it very fun to imagine Adrianna and our given circumstances as characters, rather than pulling from my own relationships with my sisters.

There are a number of very powerful and soul-raising songs in this show. What is your favorite?
My favorite songs are "Too Beautiful for Words" and "What About Love."

How did you come to be a part of this tour?
My agent submitted me for the audition while I was preparing a presentation for a conference in Singapore. I auditioned this past July and I received a callback with director John Doyle and associate director Matthew DiCarlo. My agent called me in Singapore and said that I was offered the role.

Where did you get your start and who inspired you to become a performer?
I started realizing that I was comfortable presenting things in front of people when in grade school I did scripture readings during mass, or had small solos at school Christmas concerts. I received positive feedback from my family and then in eighth grade my school was doing The Sound of Music. They did other musicals before then but I loved that musical and I wanted to be Liesl so bad. They ended up casting me as Maria and that was the first time I ever had to really think about memorizing lines and going to rehearsal. I was a girl who played soccer, and my world for theater was opening before my eyes. My parents didn't take me to the theater, which is not uncommon for so many actors growing up, so I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do as a 14-year-old. My freshman year of high school, my life changed and performing became a love. All of this to say, my start came when people along my path affirmed my talent or literally said to me, "Do this." The people who first inspired me to perform were the people I saw or heard from VHSs: Bernadette Peters, Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews, Bette Midler, Jodi Benson, Lea Salonga, Judy Kuhn, women who sang beautiful ballads. In many ways, they have influenced my singing style.

Broadway at the Hobby Center is presented by the Hobby Center Foundation. Sales tax exempt pursuant to Texas Tax Code Section 151.3101 (a)(3). Broadway Across America is an agent of and production services provider for the Hobby Center Foundation.

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