Huron Lake, PA (August 4, 2014) – Last night, The Murray Abraham Social Hall on the grounds of Camp Huron Lake was transformed into the American south for the 2014 summer production of “The Color Purple”. Although the elaborate sets were stunning, the show opened to mostly negative reviews from campers and staff who sat through two and a half hours of depressing, lifeless theatre.
“The Color Purple”, a Tony Award Winning Musical, takes place mainly in Georgia between 1909 and 1937. The shows tells the life of an African American woman named Celie Harris, played by Whoopi Goldberg, whose abuse from her father starts at a way too early age. The show, adapted from the Steven Spielberg directed movie of the same name, focuses on the strong female characters looking to better their lives in a time and society where the odds are firmly stacked against them.
Super Senior girl, Jana Finkelbaum of Woodbury, Long Island, played the lead role of Celie. Finkelbaum, daughter of hedge fund honcho Murray Finkelbaum, just couldn’t seem to grasp the internal struggle faced by Celie throughout her adolescence. The audience was clearly able to sense that misconnection. “Let’s face it, there’s only one Whoopi, and Finkelbaum ain’t it,” sassy junior boy, Jake Rossenfeller, 9, opined, snapping his fingers as his head bobbed side to side. “The only suffering she’s ever done is when her father couldn’t get One Direction to play at her Bat Mitzvah. Holla!”
Her performance shaky at best, Finkelbaum just couldn’t seem to capture the raw, unbridled emotion as well as grit and determination that Goldberg was able to bring to the screen. In one particular scene, Celie is supposed to be working on the family’s farm but Finkelbaum went off script by having Celie refuse to walk in the muddy rows of cotton without her blue Hunter boots that match her Soffee tie-dye shorts. Drama director, Steve Cohen, fumed after the unapproved liberty was taken by Finkelbaum. “I’m fine with actors interpreting a character’s feelings and taking some risks, but this was just ridiculous. Everyone knows her red Hunters match perfectly with those shorts.”
As the show mercifully came to a close, campers and staff alike were eager to leave the horrible performance as soon as possible.
“I thought we’d try to do something a bit different this summer. But next year we’ll go to the old standby, “Fiddler on the Roof.” Who doesn’t tear up when Tevye sings Sunrise, Sunset?” admitted camp director Marty Feldstein. “Plus, we already have the outfits and fake beards.”