Porgy and Bess



  • A work of musical theater by George Gershwin, often described as the first US folk opera. The show was not an immediate success, losing the entire production cost of $70,000 when first presented (with an all-Black cast) in 1935. A 1942 Broadway revival, in which much of the sung recitative wasreplaced by spoken dialogue, proved far more successful. Porgy and Besswas based on the 1927 play Porgy by Du Bose Heywood, who collaborated with Ira Gershwin on the lyrics. The songs include 'Summertime', 'I Got Plentyo' Nuttin'', 'It Ain't Necessarily So', and 'Bess, You Is My Woman Now'.

    The story is set in Catfish Row, a Black ghetto in Charleston, South Carolina. After Bess's boyfriend, Crown, murders a man during a dice game and flees, she settles down with the crippled beggar Porgy. When Crown returns to claim Bess, Porgy kills him in a fight and is briefly arrested. Learning thatBess has fallen into the hands of the drug pusher Sportin' Life, Porgy sets off to New York to find her.