Porgy and Bess Will Receive Proclamation and Keys in Honor of Black History Month

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27 Feb 2012

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

The cast of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess will be honored by New York State politicians Feb. 29 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in celebration of Black History Month.

State Committee Woman Theresa Freeman, Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Borough President Scott Stringer, Congressman Charles Rangel, Comptroller John Lui, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and Councilwoman Inez Dickens will be on hand to present the company with proclamations and keys following the 8 PM performance on Feb. 29.

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.

Norm Lewis (Sondheim on Sondheim, Side Show, Les Miserables) stars as the crippled beggar Porgy opposite four-time Tony Award winner Audra 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.

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."

The revival also reflects new dramatic context from 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.

The creative team includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Emilio Sosa and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Christopher Akerlind. Acme Sound Partners design sound. Orchestrations are by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, with music supervision by David Loud.

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