Love Notes for Fantasia
She’s pretty terrific. So terrific that this earnest but mechanical musical is more effective and affecting than it was when it yawned open a year and a half ago at the Broadway Theater... Fantasia exudes a sweetness, simplicity and honesty that gives it a core of authentic feeling.
--Charles Isherwood, New York Times
That she could sing, we knew... But that she could act . . . and act so wonderfully. So tenderly, so touchingly, so effortlessly. That came as a surprise. I'm talking, if you haven't guessed, about Fantasia, who has taken over so commandingly the role of Celie in the musical "The Color Purple" at the Broadway Theatre.
--Clive Barnes, NY Post
(Fantasia) establishes a direct line of communication with the audience that's fortified whenever she sings, whether it's the touching lullaby "Somebody Gonna Love You," sung to the infant about to be snatched from her arms, or the triumphant affirmation of her existence "I'm Here." And when her immersion in her sister Nettie's letters from Africa prompts her to cut loose in choreographer Donald Byrd's tribal dance, a surge of affection pulses through the house, as if the entire audience were proud parents of an awkward child stepping forward to shine.
--David Rooney, Variety
Fantasia Barrino - high-school dropout in ninth grade, single mother at 17, "American Idol" winner in 2004 - makes a phenomenal stage debut as Celie in "The Color Purple."Much as fellow "Idol" discovery Jennifer Hudson swept into the Oscar books as Effie in "Dreamgirls," the 22-year-old known as Fantasia steps confidently into the demanding role in which LaChanze won last year's Tony Award. With a startling mixture of subtle delicacy and raw power, she dares us to take our eyes off her.
--Linda Winer, NY Newsday
Wow. How many Broadway veterans would kill for reviews like that? Good for her!