PHOTO ARCHIVE: Audra McDonald on Broadway
By Matthew Blank
On May 1 Audra McDonald received her 7th career Tony nomination for her leading performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. She is a four-time winner for Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime and A Raisin in the Sun. Playbill.com looks back at her Broadway career thus far.
McDonald made her Broadway debut in The Secret Garden.
The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess 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.
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.
The cast also includes two-time Tony nominee David Alan Grier (The First, Race, Dreamgirls) as Sportin' Life, Tony nominee Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, American Idiot) as Jake, 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."
For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com. The Richard Rodgers Theatre is located at 226 West 46th Street.
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