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The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess 2012 Broadway Revival

Bringing America's Folk Opera Back to its Broadway Birthplace


The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess 2012 Broadway Revival

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess Broadway Revival

The Gershwins

The 1935 classic love story of Porgy and Bess returned to the Broadway stage in 2012 with a stellar lead cast and creative team.

Called an "American folk opera," Porgy and Bess was first performed on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on October 10, 1935, and ran for 124 performances. The show features music by George Gershwin, a libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward.

DuBose and Dorothy Heyward's iconic love story centers on the crippled "Porgy" and the scandalized "Bess" in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row. "Bess" longs to escape her notorious reputation but is caught between her oppressive former lover, "Crown," and the easy-going charms of "Sporting Life." As the action develops, "Porgy" and "Bess" fall deeply in love, proving that love can conquer all obstacles.

Renamed The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, the 2012 Broadway revival was developed at a sold-out engagement at Boston's American Repertory Theater. The re-imagined production features an adapted script and new staging, along with the legendary songs that have become entrenched in the American songbook, such as “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Got Plenty of Nothing.”

Cast & Creative

In the lead roles of "Porgy" and "Bess" are two of Broadway's most respected performers. Norm Lewis plays "Porgy" after wowing audiences in Sondheim on Sondheim, Side Show, and Les Miserables. Audra McDonald brings her veteran Broadway savvy to "Bess." McDonald has won four Tony Awards: two Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play Tonys for Master Class and A Raisin in the Sun, and two Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical Tonys for Carousel and Ragtime.

"Sportin' Life" is played by David Alan Grier, who has been nominated for two Tony Awards, the Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for The First and Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Race. In the role of "Jake" is American Idiot's Joshua Henry, who was nominated for a Best Actor Tony for Kander and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys.

Diane Paulus was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Director for her work on the Broadway revival of Hair. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks of Topdog/Underdog adapted the script, and the music was reworked by two-time Obie Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray of Running Man.

The creative team also includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer ESosa, Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind who won the Tony Award for The Light in the Piazza, and 2011 Tony Award and Drama Desk-nominated Sound Designers Acme Sound Partners.

The supporting ensemble includes Phillip Boykin as "Crown," Nikki Renée Daniels as "Clara," Christopher Innvar as "Detective," Bryonha Marie Parham as "Serena," and NaTasha Yvette Williams as "Mariah," The cast is rounded out by Sumayya Ali, Allison Blackwell, Roosevelt André Credit, Trevon Davis, Joseph Dellger, Wilkie Ferguson III, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Gavin Gregory, Heather Hill, David Hughey, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Alicia Hall Moran, Cedric Neal, Phumzile Sojola, Nathaniel Stampley, Julius Thomas III, J.D. Webster, and Lisa Nicole Wilkerson.

Producers for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess include Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Rebecca Gold, Howard Kagan, Cheryl Wiesenfeld/Brunish Trinchero/Lucio Simons TBC, Joseph and Matthew Deitch, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Terry Schnuck, Freitag Productions/Koenigsberg Filerman, The Leonore S. Gershwin 1987 Trust, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Ken Mahoney, Judith Resnick, Tulchin/Bartner/ATG, Paper Boy Productions, Christopher Hart, Alden Badway, Broadway Across America, Irene Gandy, and Will Trice.

Music and Cast Album

A Broadway cast album of the 2012 Broadway revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess is set to be released on PS Classics in May 2012.


  • “Overture” - Orchestra
  • “Summertime” - Clara and Jake
  • “A Woman Is a Sometime Thing” - Jake and Ensemble
  • “Crap Game” - Ensemble
  • “Gone, Gone, Gone” - Ensemble
  • “My Man’s Gone Now” - Serena
  • “Leaving for the Promised Land” - Bess and Ensemble
  • “It Takes a Long Pull” - Jake and the Fishermen
  • “I Got Plenty of Nothing” - Porgy
  • “I Hates Your Strutting Style” - Mariah
  • “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” - Porgy and Bess
  • “Oh, I Can’t Sit Down” - Ensemble


  • "Entr’acte” - Orchestra
  • “It Ain’t Necessarily So” - Sporting Life and Ensemble
  • “What You Want With Bess?” - Bess and Crown
  • “It Takes a Long Pull” (Reprise) -Jake and the Fishermen
  • “Oh, Doctor Jesus” - Serena and Ensemble
  • “Street Cries” - Strawberry Woman, Honey Man, Crab Man
  • “I Loves You, Porgy” - Bess and Porgy
  • “Oh, The Lord Shake the Heaven” - Ensemble
  • “A Red Headed Woman” - Crown and Ensemble
  • “Clara, Don’t You Be Downhearted” - Ensemble
  • “There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon” - Sporting Life
  • “Where’s My Bess?” - Porgy, Mariah, Serena
  • “I’m on My Way” - Porgy and Ensemble

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess plays at the Richard Rodgers Theatre located at 226 West 46th Street). Tickets are available at the box office and the website.

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