Hickory – Out of all the character relationships in THE COLOR PURPLE, the most important is the one between two sisters, Nettie and Celie. In spite of being separated when they were very young, the bond between them is unbreakable. The musical shows these characters at two different ages and in the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production, the roles of Nettie and young Celie will be played by two area high school students. THE COLOR PURPLE, will run from January 21 through February 5, 2022, in the Jeffers Theatre.

Nettie and Celie’s relationship is a significant part of the story because Nettie is the only character who loves Celie consistently and unconditionally throughout their lives. Because she loves Celie so strongly, Celie reciprocates the care. Their mutual love for each other remains steadfast even after the sisters are separated for thirty years without any contact.

Rayna Christian, from Boone, plays young Celie. The Watauga High School sophomore has performed most recently in THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER at The Rock Boone Church in 2021. She also acted in the WHS productions of BEANSTALK and SHREK THE MUSICAL as the Fairytale Creature in 2015. She will be onstage again at WHS in April 2022 as a member of the ensemble for SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL.

“My favorite thing about HCT is the chance to do shows that tell stories of Black women,” says Christian. She’s acting in THE COLOR PURPLE alongside two of her siblings. She says that it’s a great show and also likes that “the songs are really pretty.”

Senquajja Hardeman, from Newton, plays young Nettie. Hardeman’s substantial acting experience includes her role in 2019 in SHINE at Tractor Shed Theatre. In 2018, the high school junior at Newton Conover High School portrayed Veruca Salt in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and had roles in ROMEO AND JULIET and PRINCESS MERMAID at The Green Room. She received an Excellence in Drama 2018-2019 award.

“My favorite thing about HCT is that it was the startup of my acting career. I love the positive energy and experience,” Hardeman says. She chose THE COLOR PURPLE to explore her ethnicity. She says her role is “young, energetic, and driven.”

Performances of THE COLOR PURPLE will be held on Fridays and Saturdays, January 21 through February 5, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, January 30, 2022, at 2:30 p.m., and Thursday, February 3, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. Opening night, January 21 features reduced-price tickets: $12 for adults and $10 for youth & students. Tickets for all other performances are $16 for adults and $10 for youth and students.

Tickets are available online at hickorytheatre.org or by calling the box office at 828-328-2283. Weekday box office hours are 12-5, Wednesday through Friday, or one half-hour before any performance.

Due to the rising rate of Covid-19 cases in Catawba County HCT is now requiring that patrons wear a mask or other face covering while inside the building.

The HCT’s 73rd season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and Sunbelt Xpress. THE COLOR PURPLE is produced by the United Arts Council of Catawba County, in association with Shurtape Technologies, LLC. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Photo by John Koval.

PHOTO: Senquajja Hardeman is young Nettie and Rayna Christian is Young Celie in THE COLOR PURPLE, opening Friday, January 21, 2022, in the Jeffers Theatre at the Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets and information visit hickorytheatre.org or call 828-328-2283. Photo by John Koval.