Where next for The Color Purple?

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Brexit has been delayed, the far-right is on the rise & global warming continues.

But fear not. An actress with extreme views on LGBTQ+ folk has just been cast as a lesbian in The Color Purple. Repeat. An actress with extreme views on LGBTQ+ folk has just been cast as a lesbian in The Color Purple.

At the time of writing this, Oluwaseyi Omooba will be leading the cast in the role of Celie in the upcoming Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome production.

Her theatre credits include Hadestown (National Theatre); Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (Regent’s Park); Martha in Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre) and Tilly in Junkyard (Bristol Old Vic and UK Tour).

Omooba has faced allegations of  fanatic, offensive views in recent days after an old Facebook status emerged online – that read: “I do not believe homosexuality is right” the social media post in question was posted in 2015.

But how Omooba herself, and the co-producers of Oprah Winfrey’s Broadway musical reconcile their thoughts on the evils of homosexuality with the lead playing a lesbian is a whole new level of crazy.

Because, for all the talk of inclusivity, it is quite obvious, that this is pretty low-grade stuff. The arts should lead the way with tolerance and respect. These kind of views are not welcome in my sector.

It’s a bridge too far.

This kind of scandal has become ubiquitous in the recent years: an offensive social media post is uncovered & it normally ends with a public apology, and often a firing.

As a result, Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippordrome responded rapidly to the post, which is currently spreading through theatre Twitter like wildfire.

“The views expressed in the historic social media post by a member of Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s The Color Purple cast in no way reflect those held by either of our theatres,” was the message rolled out on both Curve & Hippodrome’s social media handles. It continues, “We will be looking into the matter and will issue a full response in due course.”

Fair enough, but let us hope that Omooba does the right thing: apologises pronto and exits the production. It’s hard then to think of anyone less suited to a role in this musical or, in fact, any musical.

Where next for The Color Purple?

Omooba has remained silent on the topic, which is probably best. Because the more you delve into this one the more alarming it becomes.

Earlier this week, her father Ade Omooba a pastor who co-founded Christian Concern – was awarded an MBE for his work in voluntary service.

Hang on… WHAT?

Indeed, Christian Concern are a group that advocates for gay conversion therapy; the practice also known as “ex-gay therapy” or reparative therapy promotes the insane idea that being gay is something that should, and can, be “cured”.

Jesus wept.

The Colour Purple is a musical that ‘celebrates life, love and the strength to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.’

I am glad that Curve and The Hippodrome are taking it seriously and perhaps reconsidering the wisdom of this casting.

Then we will see how much they really believe in what they’re selling.