Monday, October 14, 2013

'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' Cast Set

“A don’t-miss theater event.” TIME Magazine

An indispensable ticket!” The New York Times

“A great achievement that left me breathless.” The New Yorker


A gripping, in-your-face, vibrant revival that bursts with fierce immediacy.”  Newsday
Playing At The Ahmanson Theatre April 22 – June 1, 2014

            Casting has been announced for the national tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, which will open at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre on April 23 and play through June 1, 2014. (Preview on April 22.) The tour, accompanied by a 23-piece orchestra, is set to launch at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre this November. 

            Joining previously announced Nathaniel Stampley as Porgy and Alicia Hall Moran as Bess will be Alvin Crawford as Crown, Kingsley Leggs as Sporting Life, Sumayya Ali as Clara, Denisha Ballew as Serena, Danielle Lee Greaves as Mariah and David Hughey as Jake. 

            The cast also includes Dan Barnhill, Vanjah Boikai, Adrianna M. Cleveland, Roosevelt André Credit, Cicily Dainels, Dwelvan David, Nkrumah Gatling, Tamar Greene, Nicole Adell Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Quentin Oliver Lee, Cheryse McLeod Lewis, Sarita Rachelle Lilly, Kent Overshown, Chauncey Packer, Lindsay Roberts, Fred Rose and Soara-Joye Ross.

            “Every so often a project comes along that is so astonishing that one has to drop everything and just say ‘I’m going to do it.’  That’s what I felt when I was asked to do ‘The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, said Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus.  “The epic sweep of the story, the immense history of the musical itself and the unforgettable Gershwin score, highlighted by ‘Summertime,’ ‘I Got Plenty of Nothing’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ make this unquestionably one of the greatest American masterpieces.” This new adaptation of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess was specifically created for Broadway and features a revised book in a musical theatre format and jazz-oriented musical arrangements. The classic story is set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the courageous Porgy. Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown, and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life, Porgy and Bess’ relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theatre’s most exhilarating love stories.

            The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, features one of Broadway’s most accomplished creative teams, led by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus (“Pippin,” “Hair”), Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”), and two-time Obie Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray (“Running Man”). The creative team also includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Esosa, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, sound designer ACME Sound Partners, music supervisor Constantine Kitsopoulous and music director/conductor Dale Rieling

        The revival of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” had its world premiere at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater during its 2011/12 season. The production moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway for a limited engagement with an official opening on January 12, 2012.  The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bessclosed on September 23, 2012, after 322 performances, making it the longest running production of “Porgy and Bessto ever play Broadway.

Cast Bios:
NATHANIEL STAMPLEY (Porgy). West End: “The Lion King” (Disney U.K. Ltd.). Broadway: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “The Color Purple,” “The Lion King,”  “Fiorello!,”  Lost in the Stars,”  N.Y. City Center’s Encores!; “Abyssinia,”  North Shore Music Theatre; “Pacific Overtures,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater; “Strike Up the Band,” Auditorium Theatre’s Ovations!; “Violet,” “Big River,” Apple Tree Theatre; The Skylight Opera Theater’s “Girl Crazy,” “The King and I”;  Link Up with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall; Musical Introduction Series at 92Y. 

ALICIA HALL MORAN (Bess) is thrilled to portray Bess in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” after performing in the Company of the workshop, the A.R.T. premiere, and finally as the Bess alternate and understudy in Broadway’s Tony-winning production.  Moran’s musical background includes critically-acclaimed concerts and collaborations in dance, jazz, classical music and fine arts. A California native, Moran lives in New York with husband and frequent collaborator, pianist Jason Moran, and their sons.

ALVIN CRAWFORD (Crown). Broadway: “The Lion King,” “Candide,” “Miss Saigon,” “The Buddy Holly Story.” Off-Broadway/Regional: “Pirates Of Penzance,” “Big River,”  A Raisin In The Sun” (Phylicia Rashad, director), “Famous Orpheus,” “Martin Guerre,” “Street Scene.” Film/TV: “And So It Goes” (2014 release), “It Runs In The Family,” “Clarence,” “ Pray For Me,” “South Pacific.”  Alvin is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

KINGSLEY LEGGS  (Sporting       Life).  Broadway:  Sister Act,” “The Color Purple,” “Miss Saigon.”  Touring: “Sister Act,” “Ragtime,” “Miss Saigon,” “It Ain’t Nothing but the Blues.” Regional: NCT, 5th Avenue, Goodman Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Seattle Rep, Ford’s Theatre,  Baltimore Centerstage, Geffen Playhouse, Laguna Payhouse, Milwaukee Skylight, Alliance Theatre, Marriotts Lincolnshire, The MUNY, St. Louis Black Rep.  TV: “City of Angels,” “One Life to Live,” “Law and Order SVU.”

SUMAYYA ALI (Clara, u/s Bess). Broadway/New York: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “Ragtime!,” “Lost in the Stars.” Favorite Regional: “Master Class,” “Ragtime!” (Kennedy Center), “Oklahoma!” (Portland Center Stage). TV/Film: “Red Hook Summer,” “Something Whispered”; Boston District winner of Metropolian Opera Competition, Spelman College, BA, New England Conservatory, MM. Performance dedicated to my lovely teacher Mr. Bonds.

DENISHA BALLEW (Serena). Artist Highlights include: Eliza in “Baber’s River of Time” (Kennedy Center premiere), 1st Lady in Mozart’s “Magic Flute” (Nashville Opera), Bess in “Porgy and Bess” (Knoxville Symphony Orchestra) and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” (AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria).
DAN BARNHILL (Detective). Broadway: “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess.” Off-Broadway: “The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite,”  director William H. Macy (Atlantic Theater Company), “Graceland” (LCT3). Other:  “Benten Kozo” (The Flea), “As You Like It” (The Drilling Company), Emerging Artists Theater Co., NYC Fringe, DC Fringe. Toured Europe as the guitarist in a punk band.

DANIELLE LEE GREAVES (Mariah). Broadway: “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Rent,” “Hairspray,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Show Boat.”  New York: “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “Purlie.” National Tours: “The Lion King,” “Rent.”  Film: “Growing Up (and Other Lies).” Television: “Smash,” “The Big C,” “Rescue Me,” “Damages,” “Whoopi,” “100 Centre Street.” Other: Broadway Inspirational Voices.

DAVID HUGHEY (Jake). Broadway: Sporting Life/Jake (u/s) “The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess.”  Regional: Bernardo “West Side Story,” Rapunzel’s Prince “Into The Woods,” Harry “Easter Street Scene,” Father “Children Of Eden.”  Opera: Figaro “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” Schaunard “La Boheme,” Morales “Carmen.”  This performance is dedicated to my amazing parents, Calvin and Linda, for their undying love and support!

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