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Color Purple star gets into character by hobnobbing with Oprah herself.

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New York native Jeannette Bayardelle clearly remembers the day she was going to meet the new producer of The Color Purple on Broadway. Little did she know that she was about to shake hands with one of her talk-show idols, Oprah Winfrey. "I was sitting in the dressing room. There were these cameras, lights, and Oprah!" says Bayardelle, who plays the show's resilient heroine, Celie, during its Playhouse Square run through the middle of next month. "We both cried. It was so inspiring."No kidding. Since Oprah captured an Oscar nod for playing Celie's friend Sofia in the 1985 film version, Bayardelle was bound to learn a thing or two about the play, in which Celie battles incest, bigotry, and betrayal in the deep South. "It teaches the audience to have faith," says Bayardelle. "That with family, friendship, and forgiveness, you can accomplish your dreams." Lights go up at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, through Sunday, April 13, at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $27.50 to $82.50. Call 216-771-8403 or visit www.playhousesquare.org.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 1:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: March 25. Continues through April 13, 2008

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