Baker, Mitchell, Lynch, Brown and More Bring Porgy and Bess to Life in NJ Starting May 21

News   Baker, Mitchell, Lynch, Brown and More Bring Porgy and Bess to Life in NJ Starting May 21
The New Jersey State Opera's production of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, featuring Gregg Baker as Porgy and Laquita Mitchell as Bess, plays May 21 and May 23 at Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, NJ.

Jonathan Eaton, artistic director of Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, makes his NJ State Opera directing debut. Jason C. Tramm, NJ State Opera's artistic director, conducts a 55-piece orchestra.

This is a rare Newark staging of the groundbreaking work that walks the line between opera and musical theatre. It last played Newark in 1944 at Mosque Theater, now Newark Symphony Hall. It premiered on Broadway in 1935.

Bass-baritone Baker (Metropolitan Opera, NYCO, Radio City Music Hall, The Wiz, Timbuktu!) and soprano Mitchell (San Francisoc Opera's Porgy and Bess, Kennedy Center's Master Class with Tyne Daly, 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner) is joined by baritone Lester Lynch (NYCO, Washington National Opera, L.A. Opera, Chicago Lyric) as Crown, soprano Angela Brown (Metropolitan Opera) as Serena, soprano Janinah Burnett (Metropolitan Opera) as Clara, bass-baritone Eric Greene (Washington National Opera, SF Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera) as Jake, Sabrina Carton as Maria, and baritone Jermaine Smith (Washington National Opera, L.A. Opera) as Sportin' Life.

Performances of this fully produced 75th anniversary production of the folk opera will play 8 PM May 21 and 3 PM May 23.

Supporting roles are played by Richard C. Alston (Jasbo Brown), Michael Austin (Robbins), Patrick Blackwell (Undertaker/Jim), Roland Burks (Lawyer Frazier), Melanie Campbell (Strawberry Woman), Michael Janaros Cofield (Detective), Patrice Eaton (Lily), Elias Hendricks (Mingo/Crabman), Calvin Lee (Peter), Shannon Levy (Annie), Norman Miller (Policeman). Members of the ensemble include Ronald Baltimore, Charles Carter, Jeryl Cunningham, Martin Fisher, Jonathan Gentry, Makeda Hampton, Ernest Jackson, Joanne Jennet, Naiomi Jones, LaToya Lain, Shannon Levy, Lisa Lockhart, Aran McClary, Kenny Smith, Andrea and Phumzile Sojola, Morris Thomas, Nathaniel Thompson and Gregory Wright. According to NJSO notes, "Set in the fictional Catfish Row, SC, Porgy and Bess is the story of the crippled beggar Porgy transformed by his unexpected and improbable love for Bess." The musical includes some of the greatest songs in musical theatre, including "Summertime," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."

Music is by George Gershwin. Lyrics are by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, drawing from the Heyward's novel "Porgy." Heyward penned the libretto.

Single tickets are priced from $46.20-$135.45. To purchase tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Newark Symphony Hall Box Office, (973) 792-1730 or



This production is not related to the national tour of Porgy and Bess.

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