My introduction to The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess was when the late Whitney Houston performed a medley at the American Music Awards, which included the song “I Love You, Porgy.” I was immediately infatuated with the story set in Catfish Row of a crippled man in love with a drug addict. Unfortunately, I wasn’t alive when the original production hit the stage in 1936, but I was able to see a new interpretation of the musical this year featuring five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis.
Initially I was disturbed with the stereotypes of black folks dancing and jive talking while gambling on a dock, but then the score, created by George Gershwin, pulled me in. “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” is a heart-wrenching opus sung full-voice by the character Porgy; and “Street Cries,” performed by the characters Strawberry Woman, Honey Man and Crab Man, gave me chills while I sat in the Richard Rodgers Theatre. I wish I could say, “Hurry up and see the musical,” but the show just ended its run on Broadway. If your musical theatre palette has been whet by the review, click here for a sample of “Porgy and Bess.”