Alicia Hall Moran and Nathaniel Stampley to Star in National Tour of Porgy and Bess
By Adam Hetrick
Alicia Hall Moran and Nathaniel Stampley will headline the national tour of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Diane Paulus staged the streamlined Tony Award-winning Broadway of the Broadway classic that will launch in late fall.
Hall understudied Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Bess in the Broadway revival of the musical last season, in addition to performing the role on Wednesday evenings. Stampley portrayed Robbins in the revival and also covered the roles of Porgy and Crown.
A launch city for the tour has not been announced, however, producers announced that it will play stops in Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theatre), Seattle (5th Avenue Theatre), Dallas (Winspear Opera House), Charlotte, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, Tampa, Las Vegas, Cleveland, West Palm Beach, Tempe and St. Paul. Additional cities will be announced in the coming days.
The Gershwin and Heyward estates enlisted Tony-nominated Hair director Paulus to help bring new context to Porgy and Bess for contemporary audiences, whittling the American folk opera down from four hours to a two-and-a-half-hour running time. It opened to critical acclaim on Broadway January 12, 2012, earning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
The production concluded its Broadway run Sept. 23 after 321 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Porgy and Bess has music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother Ira and a book and additional lyrics by DuBose Heyward. It is based on the play Porgy, by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward.
To reinvigorate the characters and bolster the dramatic impact of the story, Paulus brought on board Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Book of Grace), who is credited with adaptation and additional scenes, and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diedre Murray (Running Man), credited with musical adaptation.
According to the producers, Porgy and Bess "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 crippled but 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 theatre's most exhilarating love stories."
The work includes such songs as "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "I Loves You, Porgy," "My Man's Gone Now," "There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York," "Summertime," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."
The creative team includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Emilio Sosa and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Christopher Akerlind. Acme Sound Partners design sound. Orchestrations are by William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, with music supervision by Constantine Kitsopolous.
PS Classics recorded a cast album of the new incarnation of the work.
View highlights from the Broadway production below:
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