R&B singer Fantasia Barrino has become the first American Idol winner to garner huge success on Broadway. Reporting on her success since taking on the role of Celie in the musical production of The Color Purple in April, the Associated Press reported yesterday (Aug. 22) that Fantasia has “revitalized” the show, “boosted a box office that had started to slump and, some say, improved a successful commercial production that was lacking critically.” Scott Sanders, one of the show’s producers, told the A.P.: “When you bring in someone who is a household name, it brings out the cynics who think that it is just stunt casting and those who actually understand that she is a very talented woman who is going to take a big leap. … It’s turned out to be an incredible win for everyone.” Fantasia, who found playing her role so taxing, told the wire service, she had been reluctant to sign on for an additional four months. She was persuaded to do so, she says, by the intervention of Oprah Winfrey, one of the show’s producers. “She just began to tell me how much I touched her and all the things that she felt,” she said. Fantasia Monique Barrino or simply Fantasia, is a Grammy nominated R&B/Soul singer and Broadway actress who rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the television series American Idol in 2004. Her first album, Free Yourself, was a commercial success, earning her three Grammy nominations and selling over 2.1 million copies. Barrino was also named the number-one artist of the Adult Urban Contemporary format for 2005 according to the December 13, 2005 Billboard Magazine. Her second album, Fantasia, was released on December 12, 2006. On April 10, 2007, Fantasia began starring as Celie in the Broadway musical, The Color Purple.
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