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THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS (MASSACHUSETTS) NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

Opening Night: August 17, 2011

Show
Did He Like It?
  Synopsis
Perfect Crime Off-Broadway

 

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is based on DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy and the play of the same name, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s. George Gershwin worked on Porgy and Bess in Charleston, SC and drew inspiration from the James Island Gullah community, which he felt had preserved some African musical traditions. The music itself reflects his New York jazz roots, but also draws on southern black traditions. Gershwin modeled the pieces after each type of folk song which the composer knew about; jubilees, blues, praying songs, street cries, work songs, and spirituals are blended with traditional arias and recitatives.

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Bess Claims Top Billing in New Version of Gershwins’ Classic

By BEN BRANTLEY
Published: September 1, 2011

"She never sings these particular lyrics, as it happens. But Audra McDonald has every right to say, “Bess, you is my woman now.” That assertion is implicit in every aspect of her performance in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” which opened on Wednesday night at the American Repertory Theater here, and it is made with a confidence and conviction that is otherwise lacking in this anxious and confused production. "

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