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Porgy & Bess

Self-Guided Multi-Media Experience

Mark Goins

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Porgy & Bess

Porgy & Bess Music - George Gershwin
Lyrics- Ira Gershwin
Libretto- DuBose Heyward Mark Warren Goins Is any of this music farmilar? George Gershwin September 26th, 1898

-left high school to work as a Tin Pan Alley song plugger and within three years, "When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em; When You Have 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em," was published.

In 1924, when George teamed up with his older brother Ira, "the Gershwins" became the dominant Broadway songwriters, creating infectious rhythm numbers and poignant ballads, fashioning the words to fit the melodies with a "glove-like" fidelity. Ira Gershwin December 6th, 1886
first lyricist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize -- for OF THEE I SING in 1932
Nom de plume of Arthur Frances for writings
Under this pen name, Ira supplied lyrics for his first Broadway show, TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE (1921), with music by Vincent Youmans. The Gershwins *LADY BE GOOD! First Hit! (1924)
*OH, KAY! (1937)
*Music for Films:
-Shall We Dance (1937)
-An American In Paris
*Crazy For You
*Nice Work If You Can Get It Porgy? Porgy was the name of a novel written by
DuBose Heyward.
- Porgy deals with African American life in the fictitious Caftfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina.
- Gershwin thought it would be great source material for an "American Folk Opera" using blues and jazz as an influence. Continued... - This was not the first time Heyward's novel had been used as source material

-Singer Al Jolson attempted to mount a musical version of Porgy starring himself in blackface, but the production did not sustain.

-This collaboration between the Gershwin's and Hayward would feature an almost all African- American cast of classical trained singers. REVOLUTIONARY for the 1930's Collaboration The Gershwin's would use the US Postal Service in order to communicate and write with Hayward only meeting face-to-face on occasion
Able to create some of the greatest songs in American Musical-Theatre history:
"It got plenty O' nuttin'"
"It ain't necessarily so"
"Bess, you is my woman now" Described by the Seattle Opera "Gershwin’s portrait of life and love on Catfish Row boasts some of the most beloved songs ever written, including “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin,’” “I Loves You, Porgy,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” Richly drawn characters experience real-life emotions in this one-of-a-kind masterpiece that combines action, humor, romance, struggle, and celebration to distill something universal about the American experience." Synopsis Porgy is a physically handicapped beggar and Bess a drug addict who lives with a vicious dockworker, Crown. When Crown kills someone, Bess takes refuge with Porgy and they fall in love. The local drug dealer, Sportin’ Life, still has an interest in Bess, but Porgy runs him off. At a picnic that she attends alone, Bess is raped by Crown and returns to Porgy distraught. Porgy eventually kills Crown, but Sportin’ Life feeds Bess drugs and convinces her to run off with him. At the end, Porgy heads to New York to find his love. Production History Boston Preview September 30th, 1935
-Broadway October 10th, 1935
- Major revivals in 1942, 1952, 1976, and 1983
-Made into a major motion picture by Samuel Goldwyn in 1959
-1993, Trevor Nunn production at the Glyndebourne Opera was recorded for television
-2012, The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess on Broadway Interesting fact! - After closing on Broadway, Porgy and Bess went on tour!
- Stops in:
- Tour ended in Washington D.C.
-On March 21st, 1936, The cast led by Tod Duncan protested segregation at the National Theater.
-This resulted in the first integrated audience for any performance at the National Theater. Summertime and the livin' is easy.... -Some of the most famous lyrics of the Gershwin's and also the first lyrics heard in the opera.
- Staple of the Soprano Repertoire
Recording of the Overture and "Summertime" from the original production! Summertime has even been arranged
for commercial music.... I've Got Plenty o' nuttin' 1993 Trevor Nunn Production "Bess, You is My Woman Now" 1993 Televised Production -Adapted for the screen by Trevor Nunn and Yves Baigneres.
- Based on the 1986 production at England's Glyndebourne Festival directed by Trevor Nunn
- "the finest presentation of the opera since its original performance." - Leonore Gershwin 2006 - Trevor Nunn - Trevor Nunn created another production in London. This production replaced recitatives with spoken dialogue.
- First production to work with the Gershwin and Heyward estates in order to change and adapt Porgy and Bess. 2011... 76 years later! - Both the Gershwin and Heyward estates authorized a new musical theater version of PORGY AND BESS by the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- This was to be Directed by Diane Paulus (B'way/A.R.T HAIR)
- Music Book Adapter- Suzan-Lori Parks
-Musical Scene Adapter- Diedre L. Murray L-R: Parks, Paulus, Murray A.R.T Production The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess First Preview: Dec 17, 2011
Total Previews: 28
Opening Date: Jan 12, 2012
Closing Date: Sep 23, 2012
Total Performances: 293
Total Previews: 28 Critics Reaction? Awards Tony Awards Performance "David Rooney, who reviews theater for The Hollywood Reporter and also writes for The New York Times, said the production “straddles with confidence the inherent divide of this ravishing work between opera and musical theater, making the production accessible, ripely theatrical and emotionally full-bodied.'” "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess: Broadway, You Is My Venue Now...Trimmed and renamed, a great opera has shrunk to become a good show" - Michael Feingold, The Village Voice The Associated Press' Mark Kennedy described the production as "gorgeous" and said the controversy surrounding the cuts is "plenty of nothing." Purists who are upset to hear about the changes "should leave the theater immediately. The rest of us can then sit back and enjoy a first-rate cast [giving] life to one of America's greatest love triangles. Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal described the production as "a sanitized, heavily cut rewrite that strips away the show's essence so as to render it suitable for consumption by 21st-century prigs. If you've never seen or heard 'Porgy,' you might well find this version blandly pleasing. Otherwise, you'll be appalled."
— Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical 2012
— Audra McDonald- Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical 2012
—Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Musical
—Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Musical
—Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Revival of a Musical "I imagine Gershwin purists will have their arrows in their bows, ready to shoot,” said Ms. McDonald, the four-time Tony-winning actress, “But the opera will always exist to be performed. What we wanted to do was a new conception that tries to deal with the holes and issues in the story that would be very, very obvious to a musical-theater audience.” - Audra McDonald Welcome What I have created is a self- guided Multi-Media experience for you to explore one of the greatest American Operas and how it has transitioned over the years. This is structured starting from the beginning and through the closing of the most recent Broadway revival. There are several videos, and I encourage you to watch them in their entirety. Enjoy!
-Mark Warren Goins http://www.gershwin.com/. Gershwin Enterprise, 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://www.gershwin.com/>.

"Gershwins Porgy and Bess." American Repertory Theatre. N.p., 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/gershwins-porgy-and-bess>.

David, Ng. "Los Angeles Times." Los Angeles Times. (2012): n. page. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2012/01/porgy-and-bess-on-broadway-what-did-the-critics-think.html>.

66th Annual Tony Awards- Porgy and Bess Performance. 2012. Web. 5 Dec 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7Kbbir4P58>.

Vermazen, Susan, prod. 'Porgy and Bess' reimagined at the ART. 2011. Web. 5 Dec 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXkWGLJ1O7Y>

.Getting to the Heart of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess . 2011. Film. 5 Dec 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BLZPEcpKuaA>.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. N.p., 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.porgyandbessonbroadway.com/>.

Porgy and Bess. Dir. Trevor Nunn. Perf. Willard White and Cynthia Haymon. EMI Classics, 1993. DVD.Porgy and Bess, the first great American opera, premieres on Broadway. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ porgy-and-bess-the-first-great-american-opera-premieres-on-broadway>.

Fantasia Barrino- Summertime. YouTube. N.p., 2007. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=4rOCwVsSW0Y>.

"The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess." Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League, 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://ibdb.com/production.php?id=490541>.

Porgy and Bess. YouTube. Los Angeles Opera, 2007. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=M5o4e5ofRcw>.

Porgy and Bess Synopsis. Seattle Opera, 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. <http://www.seattleopera.org/ tickets/2011-2012/porgy/synopsis.aspx>.

Healy, Patrick. "It Ain’t Necessarily ‘Porgy’." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 5 Aug. 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. Work Cited
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