Cast Complete for Porgy and Bess National Tour; Alvin Crawford, Denisha Ballew and Kingsley Leggs Join Company | Playbill

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News Cast Complete for Porgy and Bess National Tour; Alvin Crawford, Denisha Ballew and Kingsley Leggs Join Company Complete casting has been announced for the national tour of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, starring Alicia Hall Moran and Nathaniel Stampley, which will launch in November at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre.

Kingsley Leggs
Kingsley Leggs Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Moran understudied Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Bess in the Broadway revival of the musical last season, in addition to performing the role on Wednesday evenings. Stampley portrayed Robbins in the revival and also covered the role of Porgy.

Alvin Crawford has replaced Tony Award nominee Phillip Boykin as Crown. Boykin earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance in the Broadway revival and was originally announced as part of the tour cast.

The cast will also feature Kingsley Leggs as Sportin' Life, Sumaya Ali as Clara, Denisha Ballew as Serena, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mariah and David Hughey as Jake.

Completing the company are Dan Barnhill, Vanjah Boikai, Adrianna M. Cleveland, Roosevelt André Credit, Cicily Dainels, Dwelvan David, Nkrumah Gatling, Tamar Greene, Nicole Adell Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Quentin Oliver Lee, Cheryse Mcleod Lewis, Sarita Rachelle Lilly, Kent Overshown, Chauncey Packer, Lindsay Roberts, Fred Rose and Soara-Joye Ross.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess will begin previews Nov. 10 and officially open in San Francisco Nov. 13. Additional cities on the tour include Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theatre), Seattle (5th Avenue Theatre), Dallas (Winspear Opera House), West Palm Beach, Tampa, Naples, Greenville, Cleveland, West Palm Beach, Tempe, St. Paul and Greenville. The Gershwin and Heyward estates enlisted Tony-winning Hair and Pippin director Diane Paulus to help bring new context  to Porgy and Bess for contemporary audiences, whittling the American folk opera down from four hours to a two-and-a-half-hour running time. It opened to critical acclaim on Broadway Jan. 12, 2012, earning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. 

The production concluded its Broadway run Sept. 23, 2012, after 321 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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.

To reinvigorate the characters and bolster the dramatic impact of the story, 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 theatre's most exhilarating love stories."

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."

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 Constantine Kitsopolous. Musical director-conductor for the tour is Dale Rieling.

PS Classics recorded a cast album of the new incarnation of the work.


View highlights from the Broadway production below:


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