PS Classics Will Record The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

By Adam Hetrick
24 Feb 2012

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

PS Classics will record a two-disc cast album of the Broadway revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, starring Norm Lewis and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, in mid-March.

PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill.com that the Porgy and Bess company will gather in a Manhattan recording studio March 12 and 13 to record the two-disc album. Krasker is aiming for a May 8 in-store release.

Krasker began his producing career with an acclaimed series of Gershwin studio cast recordings in the early 1990's. 

The cast album of Porgy and Bess is currently available for pre-order from the PS Classics website. Orders placed via PS Classics will ship two weeks prior to the in-store release.



For other show recordings, visit the Playbill Store.

The opera has music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother Ira and a book and additional lyrics by DuBose Heyward. It is based on the play Porgy, by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward.

Porgy and Bess includes such songs as "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "I Loves You, Porgy," "My Man's Gone Now," "There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York," "Summertime," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."

Lewis (Sondheim on Sondheim, Side Show, Les Miserables) stars as the crippled beggar Porgy opposite four-time Tony Award winner McDonald (Ragtime, Marie Christine, Master Class) as Bess. They are joined by two-time Tony nominee David Alan Grier (The First, Race, Dreamgirls) as Sportin' Life and Tony nominee Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, American Idiot) as Jake.

The cast also features Nikki Renee Daniels as Clara, Phillip Boykin as Crown, Bryonha Marie Parham as Serena, NaTasha Yvette Williams as Maria, Cedric Neal as Frazier, J.D. Webster as Mingo, Heather Hill as Lily, Phumzile Sojola as Peter and Nathaniel Stampley as Robbins.

The ensemble includes Allison Blackwell, Roosevelt Andre Credit, Trevon Davis, Joseph Dellger, Wilkie Ferguson, Alicia Hall Moran, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Lisa Nicole Wilkerson, Christopher Innvar, Carmen Ruby Floyd, David Hughey and Julius Thomas III.

Tony-nominated Hair director Diane Paulus directs the streamlined, two-and-a-half-hour version of the musical, which replaces portions of the sung recitative with dialogue. It opened Jan. 12 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and recently extended its run through Sept. 30. The Gershwin and Heyward estates gave Paulus their blessing to take a fresh approach to the four-hour opera. Paulus brought on board Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Book of Grace), who is credited with adaptation and additional scenes, and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diedre Murray (Running Man), credited with musical adaptation.

According to the producers, Porgy and Bess "is set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the crippled but courageous Porgy. Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown, and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life, Porgy and Bess’ relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theater’s most exhilarating love stories."

Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin, and a six-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music and Sondheim on Sondheim), PS Classics celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song through its award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by Kate Baldwin, Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Jessica Molaskey and Christine Andreas; and recordings drawn from rare sound archives, including "Sondheim Sings." The company recently released a lavish, two-disc album of the Broadway revival of Follies.

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com. The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 West 46th Street.