The Story
Porgy And Bess
Music
GEORGE GERSHWIN

Lyrics
DuBOSE HEYWARD & IRA GERSHWIN

Original Book
DuBOSE HEYWARD

Adaptation
SUZAN-LORI PARKS & DIEDRE MURRAY
Porgy and Bess is an American opera, first performed in 1935, that tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the fictitious African-American slums of Charleston, South Carolina in the early 1930s. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin' Life, the drug dealer.

PHOTOS
2012 Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

VIDEOS
Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis, David Alan Grier and company perform a medley including "Summertime", "I Got Plenty of Nothing", "It Ain't Necessarily So", and "I Loves You, Porgy" on the 2012 Tony Awards.

MUSIC
Summertime
Audra McDonald
2012 Broadway Cast Recording

THE STORY

ACT ONE

Catfish Row. In Catfish Row, a tenement building in Charleston, the community begins its ritual of Saturday evening with Clara singing a lullaby to her infant child while the men call to order the sacred game of craps. Sporting Life, a drug dealer who peddles a narcotic called "Happy Dust," is caught introducing a pair of heretical dice, while Serena reprimands her husband Robbins for gambling. Jake, a fisherman, invites Jim to leave the cotton fields and join him on his boat, The Seagull. Jake takes the baby from his wife Clara and sings his own lullaby. Enter Lily's husband Peter, the honey man, partially deaf. Porgy enters, a disabled beggar, the community's burden. Taking the money he's earned begging on the streets of Charleston, he joins the craps game; so does Crown, a powerful stevedore. With him is Bess, Crown's mistress, an outsider whom the women of Catfish Row shun. Porgy watches her from afar. Meanwhile, the ritual of craps is interrupted by a fight. Crown, who is drunk and high on Happy Dust, kills Robbins; the community disperses. No one will give shelter to Bess except the lowliest among them: Porgy.

Serena's Room. The community mourns the death of Robbins and raises money for his burial. Porgy and Bess enter the room together. Serena refuses to take Bess's money, but Bess explains that it is Porgy's. Porgy steps forward and, for the first time, leads the community, encouraging them to give money to the saucer. Mr. Archdale enters to investigate the murder, taking away Peter as a witness. Serena mourns her dead husband, and it is Bess's turn to step forward and lead; she sings a hopeful spiritual that culminates in a ring shout.

Several weeks later. Jake and the fishermen say a prayer before they depart in their boats. Meanwhile, Porgy enters, transformed by his new life with Bess. Maria, the community's matriarch, threatens Sporting Life and refuses to sell his drugs. At that moment, a buzzard flies past, portending bad fortune for Catfish Row, but Porgy defies it. Meanwhile, seeing Bess's positive effect on Porgy, the community begins to accept Bess by inviting her to go to Kittiwah Island with them. Unable to follow, Porgy stays behind.


ACT TWO

Kittiwah Island. On Kittiwah, the community's spiritual prayer is interrupted by Sporting Life, who offers a skeptical perspective on their religion. Serena quickly reprimands Sporting Life and the community. As they depart the island, Crown, hiding out on Kittiwah, reveals himself to Bess; the two are reunited.

Catfish Row. Jake prepares to leave, despite Clara's anxiety about impending storms. Peter returns from jail, in disbelief at his treatment there. Meanwhile, Serena calls upon Doctor Jesus to help cure Bess, who has suffered from a strange fever ever since returning from Kittiwah. Serena promises Porgy that Bess will recover by five o'clock. In the meantime, Lily proffers her strawberries and Peter his honey, while Sporting Life taunts the community as the "Crab Man." At five, Bess awakens. She confesses to Porgy about her rendez-vous with Crown, and she asserts that it is with Porgy she wants to stay. Porgy promises to protect her when Crown returns. Suddenly, the hurricane bell rings, and the community takes shelter from the storm in Serena's room.

Serena's Room. While the storm rages, the community prays. Clara stands anxiously by the window, searching for Jake. A mysterious knocking sound is heard, and Crown enters, looking for Bess, defying God. The community begs God not to listen to his blasphemy. Suddenly, Clara sees Jake's overturned fishing boat outside the window. Clara throws herself out into the storm. Crown taunts Porgy to follow and save her, but Porgy is not physically able. Instead, Crown dives out into the storm.

The next day. The community mourns the deaths of Jake, Clara, and Crown. Sporting Life has learned that Crown survived the hurricane, but he tells no one. Bess, who has adopted Clara's child, passes the baby over the grave of its parents, a Gullah mourning ritual. She sings it Clara's lullaby. That night, Crown returns for Bess, with Sporting Life there to meet him. He steers Crown into the path of Porgy. They fight; Porgy kills Crown.

The next day. Mr. Archdale orders Porgy away to identify Crown's body. Sporting Life warns Porgy that if a murderer comes near the corpse of his victim, the victim will smile. Terrified, Porgy goes with Mr. Archdale. Sporting Life tries to persuade Bess to come with him to New York. They leave together.

One week later. After so much loss, the community of Catfish Row is unable to return to normal life. Porgy returns from jail eager to see Bess, but the community is hiding a terrible secret. He reveals a red dress purchased for Bess, but Bess, he learns, has left for New York with Sporting Life. Porgy makes the decision to follow her to New York on foot, without the aid of crutches. As they watch Porgy go, the community begins its path to spiritual recovery.

LIBRETTO

Check back soon when libretto and/or lyrics for Porgy And Bess becomes available.

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CAST & CREATIVES
Creative
Producer JEFFREY RICHARDS, JERRY FRANKEL, REBECCA GOLD, HOWARD KAGAN, CHERYL WIESENFELD/BRUNISH TRINCHERO/MEREDITH LUCIO TBC, JOSEPH & MATTHEW DEITCH, MARK S. GOLUB & DAVID S. GOLUB, TERRY SCHNUCK, FREITAG PRODUCTIONS/KOENIGSBERG FILERMAN, THE LEONORE S. GERSHWIN 1987 TRUST, UNIVERSAL PICTURES STAGE PRODUCTIONS, JUDITH RESMICK, TULCHIN/BARTNER/ATG, PAPER BOY PRODUCTIONS, ALDEN BADWAY, IRENE GANDY, WILL TRICE
Direction DIANE PAULUS
Choreography RONALD K. BROWN
Scenic Design RICCARDO HERNANDEZ
Costume Design ESOSA
Lighting Design CHRISTOPHER AKERLIND
Sound Design ACME SOUND PARTNERS
Cast
Porgy NORM LEWIS
Bess AUDRA McDONALD
Crown PHILIP BOYKIN
Sporting Life DAVID ALAN GRIER
Clara NIKKI RENEE DANIELS
Serena BRYONHA MARIE PARHAM
Mariah NATASHA YVETTE WILLIAMS
Creative
Producer THE THEATRE GUILD
Direction ROUBE MAMOULIAN
Scenic Design SERGEI SOUDEIKINE
Cast
Porgy TODD DUNCAN
Bess ANNE WIGGINS BROWN
Crown WARREN COLEMAN
Sporting Life JOHN W. BUBBLES
Clara ABBIE MITCHELL
Serena RUBY ELZY
Maria GEORGETTE HARVEY
MUSICAL NUMBERS
ACT ONE

SummertimeClara and Jake
A Woman Is a Sometime ThingJake and Ensemble
Crap GameEnsemble
Gone, Gone, GoneEnsemble
My Man's Gone NowSerena
Leaving for the Promised LandBess and Ensemble
It Takes a Long PullJake and Ensemble
I Got Plenty of NothingPorgy
I Hates Your Strutting StyleMariah
Bess, You Is My Woman NowPorgy and Bess
Oh I Can't Sit DownEnsemble


ACT TWO

It Ain't Necessarily SoSporting Life and Ensemble
What You Want With Bess?Bess and Crown
Oh, Doctor JesusSerena and Ensemble
Street CriesStrawberry Woman, Peter (The Honey Man) and The Crab Man
I Loves You, PorgyBess and Porgy
Oh, The Lord Shake the HeavenEnsemble
A Red Headed WomanCrown and Ensemble
Clara, Don't You Be DownheartedEnsemble
There's a Boat That's Leaving SoonSporting Life
Where's My Bess?Porgy, Mariah and Serena
I'm On My WayPorgy and Ensemble

Pippin
The Band's Visit
Preludes
SIGHTS & SOUNDS

2012 Broadway Production
Artworks/ Posters

Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis, David Alan Grier and company perform a medley including "Summertime", "I Got Plenty of Nothing", "It Ain't Necessarily So", and "I Loves You, Porgy" on the 2012 Tony Awards.
Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and company of the 2012 Broadway-bound production by American Repertory Theatre in a promotional video.

Summertime Audra McDonald 2012 Broadway Cast Recording
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