This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Porgy and Bess
Outside the Richard Rodgers Theater

Outside the Richard Rodgers Theater

Okay, so I was totally blown away by the whole cast’s performance last night at the Broadway premiere of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess!”

Thank you!

Today, a little about how the role of Bess has grown:

Norm Lewis is a warm sweet Porgy. His acting and singing are spot on, and give Audra as Bess a strong man to propell her to become herself. But lets take on one star at a time.

Audra McDonald is an emotionally intense Bess. She blasts the audience out of the water with her psychologically three-dimensional portrayal of a woman in conflict with herself.

There is no holding back her willful and vulnerably child-like Bess. As a damaged woman, who mainly experiences the world, and men in particular, through abuse, she melts to a sad girl-child in Porgy’s arms, only to be rebirthed as a strong woman and lover in the classic duet (exquisitely sung, by the way) I Loves You Porgy. It’s a powerful experience to see her move between the three roles.

We root for her, wholeheartedly, as she struggles to keep out from under the influence of Sportin Life (played with aplomb and style by David Alan Grier) and he struts and snakes around, luring her whenever he is near, to the Big City of New York and a life of glamour and success (and what would seem to be a high class prostitute)

It seems the drug addiction (they call it “happy dust”) keeps her out of her power, and lust for Crown when he does “come round” weakens her like Kryptonite.

Porgy understands, giving her a second chance to make good with him, and she even gets so far as to adopt Clara’s orphaned baby, but is again brought down by fear whispered in her ear by Sportin Life.

Congratulations all!

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