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Kiarra Keith 
Office of University Communication
202.238.2330

Alumni Actors from The Color Purple Return to Howard to Talk Theater

 

Howard alumni Traci Allen, center, and Mark Hall, members of the award-winning musical "The Color Purple" currently playing in D.C., returned to the University recently with cast member Allison Semmes to talk about their life as working actors. (Photo by Justin D. Knight)

WASHINGTON D.C.--Howard University alumni Traci Allen and Mark Hall, both currently starring in the traveling version of the award-winning musical “The Color Purple,” returned to the University last week to tell aspiring actors what it’s like in the real world.

Allen, a 2007 graduate theater arts, plays the role of Nettie in the production while Hall is part of the ensemble cast. 

The two met with about two dozen students in Ira Adridge Theater and talked with them about their careers and what their lives are like day-to-day.

Hall and Allen were joined by their cast members Cameron J. Ross, who pays Harpo,  Allison Semmes, who splays Squeak, and Allyson Daniel, who is part of the ensemble.


The two credited the Department of Fine Arts with much of their success.

“This department allowed me to hit the ground running,” Hall said.

Hall came to the University at the age of 27 after leaving the Army. He said he was determined to follow his passion for music and knew Howard could help.

During his time at Howard, Hall was involved in many productions and served as house manger.

“Every play at Howard, I was somehow how involved in,” he said.

Allen said Howard helped shape her in the performer she is today.

“Howard allowed me to find a greater sense of myself,” she said.

She reflected back on her first auditions as a freshman. In spite of being nervous and discouragements from upper classmates, Allen landed a role on the  University’s Spring Musical. 

 “If you are not determined and don’t know who are, people will try to tell you,” says Allen.

Allen left the students with a few words of encouragements.

 “Push yourself the way Howard pushes you,”

“The Color Purple” is based on the novel of the same name written by Alice Walker and the film directed Steven Spielberg.  The musical was adapted for the stage by Marsha Norma, with Brenda Russell, Allen Willis and Stephen Bray
.
The color purple will be running at The National Theater from April 12 to the 24th with special musical guest star Lil’ Mo. For more information on tickets, visit Telecharge.com or TicketsNow.com

   
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