Casting is complete for the upcoming Broadway production of Porgy and Bess. As previously announced, four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis, and David Alan Grier will star in the revival as Bess, Porgy and Sporting Life, respectively. Diane Paulus’ production of the Gershwin classic, featuring a reworked book by Suzan-Lori Parks, will begin previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on December 17 and open on January 12, 2012.
Joining McDonald, Lewis and Grier are Tony nominee Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, American Idiot) as Jake, Phillip Boykin as Crown, Nikki Renée Daniels (Promises, Promises) as Clara, Christopher Innvar (The People in the Picture, 110 in the Shade) as Detective, Bryonha Marie Parham as Serena and NaTasha Yvette Williams (The Color Purple) as Mariah.
Rounding out the company are Allison Blackwell, Roosevelt André Credit, Trevon Davis, Joseph Dellger, Wilkie Ferguson, Carmen Ruby Floyd, 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.
The new production is described as a re-imagining of the classic musical opera by Paulus (the Tony-nominated director of Hair), Pulitzer Prize winner Parks and two-time Obie winner Diedre L. Murray, who serves as musical director. Featuring music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, the show includes such classics as "Summertime," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."
Set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, Porgy and Bess follows beautiful Bess (McDonald) as she struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the crippled but courageous Porgy (Lewis). Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown (Boykin), and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life (Grier), Porgy and Bess’ relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theater’s most exhilarating love stories.
The creative team for Porgy and Bess includes choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer ESosa, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and sound designer Acme Sound Partners.