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Plaudits for 'Porgy'

David Alan Grier (center) and fellow cast members “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.’’ David Alan Grier (center) and fellow cast members “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.’’ (Michael J. Lutch)
September 11, 2011

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Don Aucoin’s review of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess’’ was a wonderfully sensitive, well written expression of our own feelings about this gem of an American Repertory Theater production (“A ‘Porgy’ with spirit and heart,’’ g, Sept. 2). Having read Stephen Sondheim’s attack, we didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t take longer than Nikki Renée Daniels’s lovely rendition of “Summertime’’ to change our skepticism into a joyous expectation of what was to come. And what came was, as Aucoin wrote, “a Bess for the Ages.’’ As Gershwin lovers, Bess will always be Audra [McDonald] for us now, and her “Bess, You Is My Woman Now’’ duet with Norm Lewis was about the best version of one of Gershwin’s creations we have ever heard. It brought tears to our eyes. Kudos to ART artistic director Diane Paulus, Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray [who adapted the original], and the whole cast - who gave us such an unforgettable evening.


Thank you to Don Aucoin for relegating the furor surrounding this production to its rightful place - a tempest in a tiny teapot (or should I say, Times spot?).

I’m just an average theatergoer with size 2 opera shoes. I loved this production and thought it was wrenching, alive, and perfect in every way. Beautiful and full. No genre crap (turning catfish row into a shanty town), just 100-percent-effort performances from amazing actors who sang beautifully. I was riveted throughout the entire performance.

Crown terrified me and reminded me of many bullies I’ve encountered. Sportin’ Life pointed out that buffoons do damage, too. And Porgy glowed with goodness. The constrained walk heightened the precarious feeling of being Porgy. The ensemble interactions were nothing short of astonishing. And of course, Bess. Bess was resplendent and so real she was painful to watch. She was indeed a Bess for the ages.

In short, the story stayed true and was made anew.


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