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Finding Home: The Personal Connection Between Christa Syreeta and Her Role as Shug

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

  • Actor Name: Christa Syreeta

  • Role in THE COLOR PURPLE: Shug Avery

2. Where Are You From?

  • Hometown: South Orange, NJ

  • Background: My family is originally from Louisville Ky. My mother and father both college graduates, moved to New Jersey because of a gospel recording opportunity for my father, who later became a Pastor.  Although he went in that direction the love for the arts has always been a passion for both my father and my mother who is a retired art teacher.  So I have always had a love for the arts in so many ways.

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

  • Excitement: My insides are shouting! That's how excited I am.  I am excited, anxious, ready, and nervous, all at once.I have always loved musicals.  It gives you the opportunity to share with the world multiple gifts all in one setting.  So to be given the opportunity to display the gifts that I believe was given to me from God through a passion of mine, is everything.  And to be able to do that in a musical that is based off of a book/production that has been a childhood favorite is amazing and I feel blessed to be given this opportunity.

  • Challenges: The challenges that I faced are finding the time to prepare for my role when I still have other responsibilities and bringing “My Inner Shug” to life without taking away from the author's vision of the character.

4. Tell Us About Your Character in THE COLOR PURPLE.

  • Character Description: Shug is a blues singer, backslider, sexy, beautiful, vivacious, in your face, and loose woman who is also strong, loyal, soft in some ways and looking for acceptance.

  • Connection: I would say that I connect with Shug in a few ways. However, the one that stands out the most for me is the relationship between her and her father.  I am a woman and longing for the love of a father/ and or his presence is interesting.  It sometimes causes you to behave in ways or make choices in life that you probably wouldn’t have made if you experienced the love of your father or your father being present. Now, although I experienced my father loving me, he passed away when I was in the 8th grade and the important things in life that only a daddy and daughter can share were stolen from me.  I wished my father was alive to help me make choices in my life that had a huge impact on my future.  I believe with Shug, longing for the acceptance of her father, even though he was still alive caused Shug to behave in ways that, maybe, she wouldn’t have.  A father’s love and presence is everything.

5. What Makes THE COLOR PURPLE Special?

  • Impact: Based on the title alone, it symbolizes royalty. The color purple itself is  uplifting and promotes harmony of the mind and the emotions.  When I think about the story line and each character,  every character taught Celie or made her aware of the strengths that were inside of her. She was able to use each of the strengths  to find her voice. All the strengths created a great harmony.

  • Message:  I hope the audience will take away from this musical a story of triumph, of love, of second chances.

6. Being an Actor:

  • Inspiration: Shirley Temple and Ariel from the Little Mermaid

  • Memorable Moments: I really enjoyed playing a teenage girl name Larrya at the WIZ for an off broadway production called Tomorrow.  I was in my 20’s but I was pregnant with my daughter and still was able to pull it off.

7. Behind the Scenes:

  • Favorite Scene: I do not have a favorite scene yet.

  • Offstage Fun: N/A

8. Advice for Aspiring Actors:

  • Words of Wisdom: Ask God is his the plan and purpose for your life. Once you get that response run towards that purpose and keep the main thing the main thing.

  • Learning Experience: It’s perseverance, building confidence, and embracing the process of becoming your character.

9. Fun Facts:

  • Hobbies: I’m a Step Aerobics Instructor and I love wood-shop and spinning the potters wheel

  • Hidden Talents: I went to cosmetology school

10. Closing Words:

  • Message to Fans: Chase after your original design, your makeup and who God created you to be, the real you. And live life abundantly on purpose.

Don't miss Christa's performance

February 14 - 18th, 2024

Arts High School

550 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Newark, NJ 07102


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