Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Gershwins’ PORGY AND BESS
Aurora Fox Arts Center: 11/25 – 1/1/17

                Leonard Barrett and Tracy Camp

Who couldn’t love an opera that’s wall-to-wall Gershwin? The most famous of its now classic songs are so delicious to the ear that one wishes they could have encores.
     Director Donnie Betts (2015 Marlowe Award for Best Director for “Ain’t Misbehavin'”) has enlisted the talents of some of the very best actors in Denver as well as a few from out of town.
     Leonard Barrett’s (Porgy) “I Got Plenty of Nuttin,” Erica Papillion-Posey ‘s “Summertime’ and Tyrell D. Rae’s (Sportin’ Life's)“It Ain’t Necessarily So” are three unforgettable musical moments. Anna High (Serena) breaks hearts with her singing of “My Man’s Gone Now.”
     Tracy Camp’s soprano soars with Bess’s glorious “I Loves You, Porgy.”
     Upon entering the auditorium one is regaled with Jen Orf’s outstanding scenic representation of Catfish Row.     
     The technical aspects of the show are overseen by the astute eye of Brandon Philip Case. 
     Playwright Susan Lori-Parks has reimagined the piece in her recent adaptation. Why, however, would one wish to fix something that ain’t broken? Something which has been such a part of the respected repertoire for so long? So if you happen to be one of us who is in love with the original be aware that what you remember “ain’t necessarily so.”
     To make the opera more accessible to an audience Parks believes is more in love with the Broadway musical some of the recitative has been clipped or changed to spoken dialogue. Fans of the original may also be surprised to find that Porgy is now ambulatory. His goat cart has been replaced by a cane.
     Younger theatregoers may not even notice these things. Stephen Sondheim did though and wrote a scathing letter to the New York Times regarding Parks’ choices. Regardless of where one stands with regard to these changes, there is so much of the magnificent in this production you simply must see it.

For tickets call 303-739-1970 or go online at aurorafox.orgMarlowe's Musings

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