Hickory – Eric Seale, the Artistic Director of the Hickory Community Theatre, has gathered an experienced and talented creative team to stage the upcoming production of the powerful Broadway musical THE COLOR PURPLE. The team includes guest director Tiffany Christian, music director LaKeisha Ross-Johnson, choreographer Anyea Gibson, and stage manager Allison Finch. The show begins performances in the Jeffers Theatre on January 21.

THE COLOR PURPLE is Christian’s fifth time in the director’s chair at HCT. Her previous credits include SKELETON CREW in 2021, A RAISIN IN THE SUN in 2020, I AND YOU in 2019, and DREAMGIRLS in 2018. Her other stage work includes roles in RAGTIME, NUNSENSE, THE REVOLUTIONISTS, and NOISES OFF.

This is Ross-Johnson’s second outing with HCT. She directed last season’s smash production of EVITA. She began pursuing her dream of a musical career at Lenoir-Rhyne University. She has created a soundtrack for Hickory Museum of Art’s digital presentation called “Rhythm & Rights” and works with 3M Productions in their stage plays. The most enjoyable times in her theatre career were playing the roles of Geneva Lee Brown in 1940s Radio Hour and Sarah in Ragtime.

This is also Gibson’s second time out with HCT, as well as her second time working with Ross-Johnson. They collaborated on EVITA when Gibson was the choreographer. She is a fifth-grade teacher at Viewmont Elementary School and was named Teacher of the Year by Hickory Public Schools in June 2020. She also teaches dance at Ann Freeman Dance Academy. Gibson holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University.

Finch has been involved in four HCT productions, the most recent being THE THANKSGIVING PLAY last month, where she played Logan. Other theatre credits include MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with the Green Room Community Theatre. Her other previous HCT experiences were SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and NOISES OFF. Finch has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC Greensboro.

Performances of THE COLOR PURPLE will be held on Fridays and Saturdays, January 21 through February 5 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, January 30 at 2:30 pm and Thursday, February 3 at 7:30 pm. Opening night, January 21 features reduced-price tickets: $12 for adults and $10 for youth & students. Tickets for all other performances are $16 for adults and $10 for youth and students.

Tickets are available online at hickorytheatre.org, or by phone at 828-328-2283. Weekday box office hours are 12-5, Wednesday through Friday, or one half-hour before any performance.

Due to the continued rate of Covid-19 cases in Catawba County, and in accordance with the latest guidance from the CDC, the Hickory Community strongly recommends that patrons wear a mask or other face covering while inside the building.

The Hickory Community’s 73rd season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and Sunbelt Xpress. THE COLOR PURPLE is produced by the United Arts Council of Catawba County, in association with Shurtape Technologies, LLC. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

PHOTO (L-R): Allison Finch, Anyea Gibson, LaKeisha Ross-Johnson, and Tiffany Christian Finch are the production team behind THE COLOR PURPLE, opening Friday, January 21 in the Jeffers Theatre at the Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets and information visit hickorytheatre.org or call 828-328-2283. Photo by Lauren Albers.