March 17, 2012


Photo Credit: Chante Ramsey/VySyn Photography
Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” was resuscitated and earlier this year brought back on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers theatre starring critically acclaimed screen/stage actors Audra McDonald (Bess), Norm Lewis (Porgy) and David Alan Grier (Sporting Life). It is a must see – even if you’ve seen it reprised a thousand times!!!

I kicked off my Friday night theatre experience at Virgil’s for some southern cuisine for this southern-enriched show that I was about to partake. Virgil’s sure know how to treat a lady’s appetite with an endless sea of yum (real cornbread!) - what a great start to a wonderful evening!

“Porgy and Bess” is set in the 1920’s in a small town in Charlestown, South Carolina and it tells of the ups & downs of love in the pursuit of that inevitable happiness that we all long for, and, the concurrent triumphs and setbacks of the internal struggles of self worth.

Based on a novel by DuBose Heyward, this folk opera was first performed in 1935 on Broadway with music scored by George & Ira Gershwin and since then it has been reprised several times over.

Photo Credit: The New York Times
The song "Summertime" is the best-known selection from Porgy and Bess. Other popular and frequently recorded songs from the opera include "It Ain't Necessarily So", "Bess, You Is My Woman Now", "I Loves You Porgy" and "I Got Plenty 'o Nuttin'". The opera is admired for Gershwin's innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.

The actors in this recent Broadway reprisal gave their all from start to finish and the orchestra was beyond extraordinary! What can I say but go see it! It is a must! This is one heck of a spiritual experience that will have you cheering for Porgy, rooting for Bess to overcome her demons and, at times, leave you at a loss for words.

S/O to memorable cast actors/characters Phillip Boykin (Crown) who made his Broadway debut in Porgy & Bess, Nikki Renee Daniels (Clara) and Natasha Yvette Williams (Mariah).

Sidenote: At last night's show, Audra couldn't perform due to illness- wishing her a speedy recovery!! But honey, Ms. Alicia Hall Moran, played one fierce Bess-glad to have seen her work that stage!