The Color Purple may be based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book and an Academy Award-nominated movie, but the musical version is an entirely different experience.

“Music is able to capture the story in a way that maybe the movie and the book don't,” says the show’s assistant director Patricia Darbasie.

“It goes for the heart in a way that the other two mediums do not.”

The musical, which is playing at the Citadel Theatre, tells the story of Celie, a downtrodden African American woman in the southern United States during the early 1900s. Her journey and personal awakening over the course of 40 years forms the arc of The Color Purple.

“It is about finding who you are, and how to trust, and how to heal from that, and what your next steps are”, says Darbasie.

The production, which won a Tony on Broadway, also boasts a Grammy-winning score.

“There’s all different genres of music," says Darbasie. “There’s opera, there’s honky-tonk, there’s R&B. It covers the gamut.”

The show features a live band and an all-Canadian cast.

“It’s exciting to see 16 black performers from across the country on our stage here in Edmonton. It’s kind of historic actually.”

And those performers deliver an emotional story of hope and the healing power of love.

“We should sell Kleenex,” says Darbasie.

The Color Purple is on until Oct. 13 at the Citadel Theatre.