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Arts and Theater 1
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Porgy and Bess


Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. Photo by:  Michael J. Lutch


Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. Photo by:  Michael J. Lutch


Incredibly stunning Gershwin "Porgy and Bess"

revived at the Richard Rogers Theatre


By Ward Morehouse III


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 (RagtimePrivate Practice), Drama Desk nominee Norm Lewis (Les MisérablesSondheim 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 Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man), adapted George and Ira Gershwin’s masterwork for the current production magnificently. 

 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!

Joyce Brooks

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