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Experiencing THE COLOR PURPLE from a New Perspective: Jeané Takes on the Role of Nettie with Progressive Theater

Updated: Jan 29

What's Your Name and Role in THE COLOR PURPLE?

My name is Jeané Cummins and I play the role of Nettie.

Where Are You From?

I am from Hoboken, New Jersey. Music has always been apart of my life considering my entire family is musical. I always loved entertaining, I loved it so much I put together tumbling shows for my parents. They had no choice but to put me into all star cheerleading, and I performed in front of thousands from the age of 8 til 16. My mother continued my love for performing when she put my siblings and I in the school plays. She took us to every audition and the more she worked on my stage fright, the bigger roles I got. I realized how much I loved theater and from then until now I haven’t stopped.

How does it feel to be a part of THE COLOR PURPLE Musical?

This is actually my second time doing The Color Purple, the first time I was Doris and now I get to be Celie’s sister. I couldn’t be more excited to bring her to life in my own way. 

Preparing for Nettie was challenging only because Nettie is a little more confident then I am, and she’s not afraid to let anyone know how she feels. So having to push aside my own insecurities was challenging but so rewarding in the end.

Tell Us About Your Character in THE COLOR PURPLE.

Nettie is Celie’s younger sister. She is the only one to love Celie and because of this she is very much her protector. Whenever Celie was feeling down, she was the one to give her a reason to smile. She is highly intelligent and teaches Celie everything she learns at school, because Celie wasn’t able to. She is Celie’s reason to keep going, even without 30 years of communication she always looked to her little sister. Her role in this storyline is to be Celie’s light at the end of the tunnel. 

What connection do you have to your role?

Nettie is like me because I am the exact way with my siblings. My parents have 5 children, I am the oldest. They keep me going and I want nothing but for them to succeed. I never want to see them down, I can’t be away from them too long or I don’t feel complete. You can mess with me all you want, but when it comes to them I will protect them. They are my heart and I will never take them for granted and that’s exactly how Nettie feels about her Celie.

What Makes THE COLOR PURPLE Special?

As a cultural impact, a lot of Black stories/movies have to deal with slavery or poverty and seeing black people in a negative light. This story may not be as uplifting at first but in the end we get to see almost like a generational curse come off of black peoples life and how we are seen. At the end of the day I think what’s important is that the audience takes away from this story that God is always on time. Though the weight seems heavy, the more you wait the less the weight is.

Who inspired your career as an actor?

My mother is the reason I am acting today. She was the one to push me past stage fright. She kept uplifting me when I felt like this wasn’t for me. My mother had me at a young age and wasn’t able to follow her dreams and become an actor, so I do this for her.

I remember when I was in acting school (shoutout AMDA) in acting class doing a monologue. My teacher gave this one instruction and it clicked for me. I instantly became the character and began to cry as she would, while doing the monologue. He said “now that’s acting, you should be proud of yourself”, after hearing how much I need to work on my acting it really did something to me.

What is your favorite scene?

My favorite scene is definitely Africa, or Easter Sunday dinner!

What advice do you have for young actors?

Before I get onstage I love to take a swig of honey, it really helps the voice.

I would say to ignore the naysayers. They just don’t understand how you are so successful, so instead of trying to let them understand, leave them speechless and keep doing great things. You got this!

Something I have learned is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Because if you don't, who will?

Tell us about your hobbies?

You know what’s so funny? All my hobbies have to do with acting or theater in some way but if I had to think it would be going on GarageBand, looking up hard harmonies and recreating them.

What about your hidden talent?

I can sing with my mouth closed! Oh and do a backhand spring!

Any closing words?

I hope you all enjoy the show! I hope it makes you cry, laugh, get angry, dance, just have a good time and escape reality tonight!

Don't miss Jeané's performance!

February 14th - 18th, 2024

Arts High School

550 Dr MArtin Luther King Jr Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102

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