Ledyard's Kyle Baird In 'Color Purple' Tour


There are some shows that are fun to perform in and give an actor just starting out a chance to shine in escapist entertainment. And then there are those shows that mean so much more.

The latter is the case for the Ledyard-raised Kyle Baird, who is part of the ensemble for the tour of the musical The Color Purple, which comes to The Bushnell in Hartford Dec. 5-10.

“I saw one of my first musicals at the Bushnell,” Baird says during a break in rehearsals. “I saw Ain’t Misbehavin’ in the ’90s and I remember taking pictures with the cast after the show with one of those disposable cameras.”

Baird, who was also in Goodspeed’s Show Boat, says now being part of the acclaimed John Doyle-directed revival is a special experience for him. “I am both honored and humbled,” says Baird, whose professional role models include Brian Stokes Mitchell (a TV, film and stage veteran with a commanding baritone) and Denzel Washington. (“Denzel’s essence is so regal,” he says. “He sits there like a king.”)

“John Doyle’s work is perceived as minimalism because of his work staging shows like the Company and Sweeney Todd revivals, but it’s much more than that,” says Baird, who plays two characters, Buster and Bobby, in the Bushnell show. “John’s version of the story [based on Alice Walker’s novel] is clearer and cleaner because every moment is about Celie’s journey,” he says, referring to the show’s heroine.

“Yes, it’s from the standpoint of a downtrodden black female from the South, but it represents everyone’s struggle and that’s been an interesting takeaway from this. Celie’s journey is everybody’s journey.”