Porgy & Bess – A Stirring Presentation

Porgy and Bess New York

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Photo Credit: Francesco Carrozzini

Before attending the show last night, I knew nothing about The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. I didn’t know the story, and I was unfamiliar with the music. The musical had never been on my radar before.

Well, it is now.

The story takes place in the early 1920’s in the fictitious Catfish Row (Charleston, South Carolina). It’s about a disabled beggar, Porgy (Nathaniel Stampley), who tries to rescue Bess (Alicia Hall Moran) from her scarlet past. And he does rescue her, again, and again, but sex, drugs, and money are a siren’s call to her. In a way it reminded me of Hosea (from the Bible). Hosea marries the prostitute Gomer, who keeps returning to her old life, and he keeps going after her. It’s about true, sacrificial love.

The score is part opera, part jazz, and part spiritual. All were delivered with excellence. The one critique I would have is that the opera sections were difficult to understand at times.

The play began with a goose-bump rendition of Summertime sung by Sumayya Ali (Clara). How could this show maintain that level of emotion? Intensity? Talent? Well, it did. Each performer wowed me with their vocals.

And the dance numbers, which were few, were full of energy. I especially enjoyed the number at the beginning of the second act, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”.

All in all, It’s a show I would highly recommend.

There is some rough language and a few suggestive sequences (appropriate for the play), so take that into consideration if you’re looking for a family outing.


The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess runs through March 30, 2014, at the Ordway
Wednesday-Sunday at 7:30 PM
Matinee shows at 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday 

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
345 Washington Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

Ticket Office: 651.224.4222

Groups: 651.282.3111

I would like to thank the Ordway Theater for providing this opportunity to review The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess the Broadway Musical. I have given my honest evaluation of this performance.


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