Suzan-Lori Parks/Audra McDonald "Porgy & Bess" Revival Will Head To Broadway In January 2012

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 29, 2011 7:43 AM
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As I said in previous posts about this revival, while the work is slated to bow at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, this September, the producers certainly weren’t counting out an eventual Broadway run as well, which wouldn’t be a first for the work.

Today brings news that Pultizer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks' (Topdog/Underdog) revival of the George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward opera Porgy and Bess, will indeed make its way to the bright lights of Broadway, starting on December 17th, with its official opening on January 12th, 2012, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, according to the New York Times.

The American Repertory Theater cast ( Audra McDonald, David Alan Grier, Norm Lewis, Joshua Henry, Philip Boykin, and Trista Dollison) will also star in the Broadway run of the production.

As already noted, this revival will be a contemporary reworking of the original, so, don't expect to see the same kinds of characterizations of blacks as there were in Gershwin's original work – a work that’s certainly a product of its time, which has sparked controversy since its debut in 1935.

Diane Paulus (the Tony Award-nominated director for her revival of Hair) is directing.

"The Gershwin and Heyward estates have given us the charge to create a version of Porgy and Bess that will have a unique identity as a musical... I am delighted to be working with Suzan-Lori Parks on making the characters in the story more fully realized. With one of the most incredible scores ever written, we want to bring Porgy and Bess to life on the musical stage in a way that feels essential, immediate, and passionate,"" said Paulus.

And Suzan-Lori Parks added, "Our approach is fresh and respectful; we're working to retain all the best-loved elements of the original while crafting a piece that speaks to contemporary audiences."

I'm undoubtedly intrigued and curious to see what this ends up looking, sounding and feeling like.

Also, don't discount an eventual filmed version of this new rendition of the work. Of course there was the 1959 film adaptation, which starred Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, directed by Otto Preminger.

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