George Gershwin, who died in 1937, is alive and well in
the hauntingly beautiful revival of Porgy and Bess,
one of the two best musicals I have seen since I first
saw Mary Martin in "Peter Pan" as a young child with my
drama critic father, Ward Morehouse, in 1954. My other
favorite musical is Show Boat, Hal Prince's
1994 Broadway production - - or any production of it.
Starring four-time Tony
Award winner Audra McDonald (Ragtime, Private
Practice), Drama Desk nominee Norm Lewis (Les
Misérables, Sondheim on Sondheim), and with
legendary songs such as "Bess, You I My Woman Now," “Summertime,”
“It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Got Plenty of
Nothing,” Porgy and Bess is incredibly
beautiful to listen to and thrilling to watch. I predict
that Norm Lewis will not only win the Tony Award for
Best Actor in a Musical this year but go on the be a
huge recording and film star so effortlessly and
movingly does he play Porgy.
The classic story by
DuBose and Dorothy Heyward of the doomed romance between
gentle Porgy, a crippled beggar, and outrageous Bess, --
torn between Porgy and her ugly, abusive lover, Crown --
is poignantly and dazzlingly directed and choreographed
by Diane Paulus and Ronald K. Brown respectively.
The character of
Sporting Life, played by David Alan Grier, who dances as
well as he sings, as well as Phillip Boykin, who plays
Crown give equally memorable performances along with Ms
McDonald and Mr. Lewis. Riccoardo Hernandez' s scenic
design of a section of old "Catfish Row" in Charleston
and ESosa's costumes are equally realistic and stunning.
Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog),
and two-time Obie
Diedre L. Murray
and Ira Gershwin’s masterwork for the current production
I hope this first
Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess in 36 years
will be at the Richard Rodgers Theatre long past
summertime of 2013!