PORGY AND BESS National Tour Runs Now thru 3/30 at The Ordway

PORGY AND BESS National Tour Runs Now thru 3/30 at The Ordway

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts announced today that The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, will perform today, March 25-30, 2014 at the Ordway.

Based on DuBose Heyward's novel "Porgy" and the play of the same name, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward, the Broadway revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is a stunning and stirring new staging with a magnificent 23-piece orchestra, including such legendary songs as "Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So," and "I Got Plenty of Nothing."

"This Tony Award-winning Broadway revival was created specifically for new musical theater audiences. The creative team, selected by the Gershwin and Heyward Estates, are among the best in the business and they've succeeded on all counts!" said James A. Rocco, vice president of programming for the Ordway. "This is a powerful story told with trailblazing music, worth seeing again and again."

The cast features Nathaniel Stampley as Porgy, Alicia Hall Moran as Bess, Alvin Crawford as Crown, Kingsley Leggs as Sporting Life, Sumayya Ali as Clara, Denisha Ballew as Serena, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mariah and David Hughey as Jake.

The cast also includes Dan Barnhill, Vanjah Boikai, Adrianna M. Cleveland, Roosevelt André Credit, Dwelvan David, Nkrumah Gatling, Tamar Greene, Nicole Adell Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Quentin Oliver Lee, Cheryse McLeod Lewis, Sarita Rachelle Lilly, Kent Overshown, Chauncey Packer, Lindsay Roberts, Fred Rose and Soara-Joye Ross.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin; Dubose and Dorothy Heyward; and Ira Gershwin features one of Broadway's most accomplished creative teams led by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair); Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog); and two-time Obie Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man). The creative team also includes set designer Riccardo Hernandez; costume designer Esosa; lighting designer Christopher Akerlind; sound designer Acme Sound Partners; wig, hair and makeup designers, J.Jared Janas and Rob Greene; music supervisor Constantine Kitsopoulos, orchestrators William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, and music director/conductor Dale Rieling.

The creative team also includes award-winning choreographer Ronald K. Brown, who will visit Saint Paul on February 25. The Ordway will host a reception and conversation with The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess choreographer. He will discuss his artistic process and his role in re-envisioning the award-winning production, as well as his connections with the Twin Cities.

The classic story is set in Charleston's fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the courageous Porgy. Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown, and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life, Porgy and Bess' relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theater's most exhilarating love stories.

Porgy and Bess first premiered at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on September 30, 1935. Broadway performances followed featuring a cast of classically trained African-American singers - a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. This new adaptation of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess was specifically created for Broadway and features a revised book in a musical theater format and jazz-oriented musical arrangements.

Before presenting the world premiere production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess during its 2011/12 season the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University first produced the groundbreaking immersive theater event Sleep No More in an empty school in Brookline, MA and developed Once the Musical in its club theater venue OBERON. Following its sold-out engagement at A.R.T., The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway for a limited engagement with an official opening on January 12, 2012. After extending the show twice, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess closed on September 23, 2012 after 322 performances, making it the longest running production of Porgy and Bess to ever play Broadway. The 2012 Broadway Cast Recording of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is now available on PS Classics.

The musical theater performance of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is part of the Ordway's ongoing initiative Taking Our Place Centerstage: The African Diaspora in Harmony. A pre-show presentation, Ordway Extra: Our Place Centerstage: The Contribution of African Americans on Broadway, will take place on Wednesday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m. Austene Van, Tonia Hughes and Cameron Wright will highlight some of the greatest African American Broadway artists from Eubie Blake to Ethel Waters, from Lena Horne to Jennifer Holliday, and dozens of others who made major contributions to American Performing Arts.

Taking Our Place Centerstage: The African Diaspora in Harmony was created to enhance specific Ordway programming from January-June 2014 to increase cross-cultural understanding and promote the awareness of the vibrant Afro-centric cultural heritage in the Twin Cities.

For tickets and more information, please visit www.ordway.org

Photo Credit: Michael J. Lutch

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