I didn’t watch the third season of “American Idol” when Fantasia won, but after seeing “The Color Purple,” all I can say is … WOW. I didn’t even recognize the soul siren as the lead, Celie, for the first half hour – that’s how immersed in character she was.

Following her as she cowers in fear as a raped 14-year-old to the day she is wed to a man who beats and does not appreciate her, through her down-and-out days until she meets Shug Avery, the woman who teaches her the meaning of love and changes her life forever, Fantasia embodies sorrow, suffering and the unswerving hope for a better day – and then forcefully channels it all to the audience.

Not only is Fantasia incredibly moving and vocally awe-inspiring, but the rest of the cast is equally as remarkable. Sophia (Felicia P. Fields) and Harpo (Stu James) are funny, powerful, sexy and comforting all at once. The dancing and singing ensemble pieces – “Mysterious Ways,” “Big Dog,” “Shug Avery Comin’ to Town,” “Push Da Button” – are joyful, stirring and energetic.

“The Color Purple” is no doubt a woebegone tale; it’s hard not to surrender your hearts and tears. At times, the emotion is so intense, you feel like you’ll burst. But that is exactly the impact this show is looking to bowl you over with; It’s a musical drama with a lead that’ll make you believe.

Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit broadwayla.org.