Alice Walker’s book The Color Purple (also adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg) is required reading in some schools, but — required or not — it’s one of those books everyone should read. It tells the story of Celie, an African-American woman living in the deep south of Georgia during the 1930s. Because the story tackles tough issuses of racism, sexism and violence, it will most likely have you crying (ladies don’t wear mascara that’s not water-proof) in one scene or another. But, it’s all worth it in the end. Be sure to check out live performances of The Color Purple at Belk Theater through May 24. Contains adult content and is appropriate for ages 10 and up. $30-$95. May 20-21, 7:30 p.m.; May 22, 8 p.m.; May 23, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; May 24, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalcenter.org.