Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Porgy and Bess

To the delight of every audience member, the orchestra at the Richard Rogers Theatre roars to life from the first bar of the George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward's luxurious operatic musical, Porgy and Bess, and completely fills every nook and cranny of ornate theatre on West 46th until the very last bar 2 1/2 hours later.

Norm Lewis (Porgy) and Audra McDonald (Bess) turn in flawless performances along with a top-notch ensemble cast including the devilishly slick David Alan Grier (Sporting Life).  The stage is simply and appropriately shabbily adorned and the costumes are equally appropriate and well designed for the period.

Adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray, the story moves us swiftly through the poor neighborhood of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1930's and weaves a hopeful yet sad tale of the poor black residents who form a deFacto family to both provide for each other and protect each other.  The story and this adaptation displays their strengths and weaknesses, devotion, and desires with aplomb.

Superbly orchestrated, the show is simply a magnificent example of an appropriately refreshed revival with all its roots firmly grounded in the original.  Don't hesitate for a single minute in getting your tickets.   The price of the ticket is well worth the value received in return - and as a matter of fact, Tony-nomination worthy performances aside (one for each of the leads and many more i predict), the focus on the orchestrations and execution by a full and robust orchestra in the pit is worth the trip alone!