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Unveiling Dana Harris: A Newark Native Shining in THE COLOR PURPLE

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

Actor Name: Dana Harris

Role in THE COLOR PURPLE: Jarene (Church Lady)


2. Where Are You From?

Hometown: Newark, New Jersey

Background: You can thank my mother and father for instilling within me a love for the performing arts.  As a little girl I remember watching my mother performing on stage as a dancer, actress, and spoken word artist.  She took me to see shows and musicals and of course got my love for singing started in our church choir. My father loved music, had an ear for piano and would often play the piano and ask me to sing along while he played.


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

Excitement: This opportunity feels like one that I’ve manifested ever since I saw saw the Broadway production’s final performance.  I remember being blown away by the message, the music, and the talent of each artist on stage.  I added this to the list of shows I must be apart of when the opportunity presented itself.  Now is the right time and this cast and production crew are amazing.  Excited is an understatement of how I feel.

Challenges: With any character I’ve ever played, I think the biggest challenge is finding a way to make the character your own. I want my interpretation of Jarene to be unique to me as much as I can.  



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

Character Description: Jarene is one of the church ladies and Darlene’s twin sister.  She, along with the other church ladies help to give the audience important information or what some might call the gossip, about the lead characters as they see it throughout the story.  

Connection: We both love the Lord and want to always stay connected to Him.  We also like to cut loose on the low from time to time.


5. What Makes THE COLOR PURPLE Special?

Impact: This production is so relatable on many levels, especially to those in the black community.  The struggles black women face and have had to overcome, the importance of religion/faith and how it can become twisted, domestic violence, racism, sexism, pride in our heritage, and the power of community are just a few points that are touched upon in the show.  

Message: As long as you are living, your life has a purpose, you have the power to change and evolve into your best self, you are uniquely and divinely made, and TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR WORDS!


6. Being an Actor:

Inspiration: My mother.  She was the original inspiration and an amazing story teller & educator.

Memorable Moments: My most memorable moments are when strangers come up to me after a show and tell me that I touched or moved them in some way on an emotional level, and that can be by bringing joy or laughter, making them uneasy, evoking thought, etc.  It truly lets me know that I’ve done my job well and that I’m walking in my purpose.


7. Behind the Scenes:

Favorite Scene: At this stage of production, I really love the opening scene and Push Da Button.

Offstage Fun:  Not yet, but as we continue to grow closer as a cast & crew, I’m sure those moments will pop up often, but plenty of fun is had on stage!


8. Advice for Aspiring Actors:

Words of Wisdom: Always be prepared and give every audition all that you’ve got and after its over, release it and let it go!  

Learning Experience: Remember that what is meant for you, will be for you.


• 9. Fun Facts:

Hobbies: I was apart of an NYC Improv team for about 3yrs called Loser Boy, I love to dance, I enjoy learning other languages, and I love to travel!  Next up…Italy!

Hidden Talents: I make a delicious cheesecake!


10. Closing Words:

Message to Fans: Thank you so much for loving this classic novel by Alice Walker, so much that it birthed the original 1985 movie, so much that it inspired the Broadway Musical, so much that it created a reimagining of the story with the 2023 musical movie, and so much that we are now able to bring it to our local communities for new generations to appreciate and be inspired! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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