Everything about this production is top-notch – the gorgeous music by George Gershwin, the staging and choreography, the sparse but effective set (with working water pump!), and the cast. Oh the cast! Audra McDonald has long been one of my favorites, mostly because of the Ragtime soundtrack (not to mention her role on the pretty good TV show with the really good cast, Private Practice). She’s a four-time Tony winner, and will no doubt be nominated for her performance as Bess when the nominees are announced on May 1. So raw and real, tough and vulnerable. Not to mention her incredible voice singing these amazing (and difficult) songs. Matching her in excellence is the heretofore unknown to me Norm Lewis as Porgy. His body is painfully contorted, but his voice is easy and beautiful, and his presence strong. Surrounding the two main characters is a strong cast of supporting characters and ensemble. Joshua Henry (a Tony nominee for Scottsboro Boys, which played at the Guthrie before its Broadway run), brings his gorgeous voice and charismatic presence to the role of the doomed Jake. NaTasha Yvette Williams is great as the mother figure Myriah. David Allen Grier (who's more well known for his movie and TV roles, but is also a trained and experienced theater actor) is the comic relief as the smartly dressed drug dealer called Sporting Life, but he also has the musical and dramatic chops needed.
|with Norm Lewis (Porgy)|
|with the great Audra McDonald (Bess)|