I’m late the game, extremely. Considering that Porgy and Bess opened in December at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and it’s now April (well, March when I saw it). I bought a ticket from TDF and finally sat down last week, ready to take it in. I had no idea what Porgy was about, I only knew that it was an operetta and that it was long. Honestly, I had mixed feelings about seeing it. I wanted to see Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis onstage together, but I wasn’t sure this was the show for me.
Porgy is about a small town in South Carolina in the 1930’s, and two people who meet (Porgy and Bess). Bess is a harlot of sorts and has been with the same abusive boyfriend for a while, so we’re lead to believe. While Porgy is a crippled man who’s a recluse most of the time, though he has a friend here and there. They meet, fall for each other, and the rest is the story.
The score is absolutely gorgeous, especially when sung by McDonald and Lewis, but the script itself left a lot to be desired. It felt slow (although I have to say the show in it’s entirety didn’t actually feel that long – it went by pretty quickly) and I think the topic matter was just a tad boring, maybe dated is the word.
And the ending? Well, that was a let down. It was depressing (but operas are usually depressing, right?). I’m glad I saw Porgy and Bess, and I think that if you’re a theatre person, you should definitely see it too.