This highly-acclaimed production - winner of the 2012 Tony Award® for Best Musical Revival - features a revised book in musical theater format, jazz-oriented musical arrangements performed by a 23-piece orchestra, and one of Broadway’s most accomplished creative teams, led by Tony Award®-winning director Diane Paulus, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and two-time Obie Award-winning composer Diedre L Murray.
When it opened on Broadway at the Richard Rogers Theatre in January 2012, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess was greeted with immense enthusiasm by the critics. Time Magazine referred to it as the “#1 musical of the year”, and Associated Press as “A gorgeous version of the Gershwin masterpiece”. The critic from The New Yorker wrote of “A great achievement that left me breathless”, The New York Times described it as “A big hit! An indispensable ticket!” and Newsday as “A luscious piece of musical theatre!”.
The production stars Alicia Hall Moran as Bess and Nathaniel Stampley as Porgy, with a cast which includes Alvin Crawford as Crown, Kingsley Legg as Sportin’ Life, Sumayya Ali as Clara, Denisha Ballew as Serena, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mariah and David Hughey as Jake.
Porgy and Bess, the only opera which Gershwin wrote - he referred to it as an “American folk opera - was based on Dubose Heyward’s novel, Porgy, and the play of the same name, co-written by DuBose Heyward and his wife, Dorothy. Set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, it tells of the attempts of Porgy, a disabled beggar, to rescue the beautiful Bess from her violent and possessive lover, Crown, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer - and how their relationship develops into a deep romance, described as “one of theater’s most exhilarating love stories”.
The original production was first performed at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on September 30, 1935, with libretto by DuBose Heyward, who co-wrote the lyrics with Ira Gershwin. Porgy and Bess then moved to Broadway, featuring a cast of classically trained African-American singers - considered a daring and visionary artistic decision at the time.
“Every so often,” says director, Diane Paulus, “a project comes along that is so astonishing that one has to drop everything and just say I’m going to do it. That’s what I felt when I was asked to do The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. The epic sweep of the story, the immense history of the musical itself and the unforgettable Gershwin score, highlighted by Summertime, I Got Plenty of Nothing and It Ain’t Necessarily So make this unquestionably one of the greatest American masterpieces.”
This production comes to San Francisco courtesy of SHN - Shorenstein Hays-Nederlander Theatres - the city’s foremost theatrical entertainment company for more than 30 years, presenting pre-Broadway world premieres, original Broadway cast productions, award-winners and current hits fresh from Broadway.
The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess opens at the Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St (at 6th & Market), San Francisco, on November 10, and is booking through December 8, 2013. Tickets are on sale at shnsf.com and by calling SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799. For more information visit: