Porgy and Bess is getting new context thanks to Tony Award-nominated Hair director Diane Paulus, who has collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Book of Grace) and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diedre Murray (Running Man) to bring the American folk opera to contemporary Broadway audiences.
Porgy and Bess began previews Aug. 17 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, where it will continue through Oct. 2, prior to arriving on Broadway Dec. 17 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It will officially open Jan. 12, 2012.
The traditionally sung-through, four-hour opera, is now a two-and-a-half-hour musical with dialogue. Tony-winning producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel co-present the engagement with A.R.T.
Lewis (Sondheim on Sondheim, Side Show, Les Miserables) stars as 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) as Jake.
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 will design sound. Orchestrations are by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, with music supervision by David Loud. Sheilah Walker will conduct.
Porgy and Bess has music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother Ira and a book by DuBose Heyward. It is based on the play Porgy, by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward. The work 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."
According to A.R.T., "This classic American tale tells the story of the beautiful and troubled Bess, who turns to Porgy, the crippled beggar, in search of safety after her possessive lover Crown commits murder. As Porgy and Bess’s love grows, their future is threatened by Crown and the conniving Sportin' Life."
For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com.