The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Massachusetts) OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    August 17, 2011
    Closing:
    October 2, 2011

    Theater: Loeb Drama Center / 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138

    Synopsis: 

    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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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Massachusetts)

    Bess Claims Top Billing in New Version of Gershwins’ Classic

    BEN BRANTLEY

    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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