September 26, 2005 08:00 AM

Oprah is coming to Broadway – at least in the form of her checkbook and her name.

The media mogul, whose net worth is said to be $1.1 billion, is investing as a producer in the Broadway-bound musical, The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – which, in turn, was adapted by Steven Spielberg as a 1985 movie that first introduced Oprah to a wide audience.

In Winfrey’s first Broadway venture, she will contribute more than $1 million of the musical’s $10 million production budget, The New York Times reports. In addition, her name will go above the title – Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Color Purple, the show will be called – and she promises to help boost the profile of the stage show by featuring the cast on her TV program.

“I hope to do for this production some of what I’ve been able to do for books – that is, to open the door to the possibilities for a world of people who have never been or even thought of going to a Broadway show,” Winfrey, 51, tells The Times, admitting that it has long been her “secret dream” to be part of Broadway.

The musical begins previews at the Broadway Theater on Nov. 1 and officially opens Dec. 1. Reviews out of town, for an Atlanta production last year, were mixed. The Times reports that the show has been extensively revised since then.

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