Mon’Quez Deon Pippins, a 2003 graduate of the Department of Theatre & Dance, is appearing in the first national Broadway tour of The Color Purple, a musical revival of the 1982 novel. The production is coming to The Whiting in Flint on November 1-2. Tickets are available online.
Before he took to stages across the country, Mon’Quez honed his craft in the UM-Flint Theatre. He remembers his professors fondly for pushing him to constantly improve.
“Professors like Carolyn Gillespie and Janet Haley, all the professors, they pushed us to use our chops. They didn’t want us to sit comfortably. They wanted us to work hard to make these characters come through,” Mon’Quez says.
He is not sitting comfortably with The Color Purple. Mon’Quez is playing both The Preacher and Old Mister in the production–highly contrasting characters. Where The Preacher is happy and uplifting, Old Mister is a dark role, an abusive father. “I love this kind of challenge, U of M got me doing this,” Mon’Quez says.
Preparing for any Broadway production is an intense experience, but it is particularly true for a nationwide tour. There was a three-and-a-half week rehearsal period. Some people would be tempted to “phone it in” during some of the preparations. Not Mon’Quez.
“To me, it’s always a performance, even in rehearsal. I’m in it 100 percent, that’s how you win,” Mon’Quez explains. “The stage is my safe space, that’s where I leave everything.”
What to expect from the show?
At its core, The Color Purple is a woman’s journey, from being oppressed to being self-actualized, and embracing her faith.
“It’s a breath of fresh air. The show helps you connect with yourself and it helps you to love yourself,” Mon’Quez says. “It’s so close to home that I feel like I’m just reliving a story I’ve already lived. This show is going to change hearts.”
Interesting in learning more about the Fine & Performing Arts at UM-Flint?
Current & prospective students interested in disciplines like Theatre, Dance, Music or Visual Art are invited to join us for our Fine & Performing Arts Showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 30! Join us in the first-floor University Center lobby (campus map).
If you’re a current UM-Flint student: Meet in first-floor UCEN at 6 p.m. Please RSVP here.
If you’re a prospective student considering UM-Flint. Meet in the first-floor UCEN at 5 p.m. Please RSVP here.