I want to start this out with talking about when this show was made and why. The show Porgy and Bess was developed in the era of America that is associated with the Civil Rights movement. One of the weirdest things about the show is that, a show starring black people, and about black people in every aspect, they were only allowed to see one matinee showing of the (at the time) opera in the “whites only” National Theater in D.C.
The actors said they wouldn’t perform the show unless black people were allowed to see any show they wanted to and purchase any ticket, eventually the producers caved and colored people were allowed to get any ticket to any showing. Originally it was an opera, so it’s come a far way to be this jazz musical. The show focuses on the actions of the two characters Porgy (a crippled man who used two canes to walk) and Bess, who has a sort of complicated character. Bess in the beginning of the show is with this man named Crown, who doesn’t seem to be the best guy around, he starts the show out by killing a man. Bess then has to stick around with the friends of the man that Crown killed, she ends up staying with Porgy and they get married. Everything seems to go well until Crown shows up again to take her away. There were only maybe 10 main characters and the set was very minimal but the actors were all so extremely skilled. They all had different characters to themselves and none of them ever looked forced or bored on stage. A lot of the show was music so naturally there was a lot of singing, all of them had such amazing voices and they all got to show off their voices because although it followed Porgy and Bess it had parts of what everyone else thought or was going through.
I especially liked one of the characters that was referred to as Sport, he dressed really slick and had really good blues songs. He does some shifty stuff like keep “happy dust” if you can guess what that is and he even goads Bess to leave with him later in the show. I feel like it was still a good character to play though because there’s so many ways it could be interpreted and I think the actor had done it very well. All in all I think it was an amazing show and would’ve even seen it twice.
All the pictures were taken at the New Vic Theater with Ensemble Production Co. and credits for the production photos go to David Bazemore check his stuff out here