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Cambridge-Born 'Porgy', 'Once' Garner Tony Nominations

This article is more than 11 years old.
Porgy and Bess (Courtesy)
Porgy and Bess (Courtesy)

"The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," a reinterpretation of the classic folk opera that began production in 2011 in Cambridge, has garnered 10 Tony Award nominations.

The musical, which began at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge last year before heading off to Broadway, is nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. Among the other nominations, the ART's artistic director, Diane Paulus, is nominated for Best Musical Director.

Back in August 2011, WBUR's Andrea Shea reported on the re-imagining of the 1935 original. Andrea found that the creative team behind this current iteration understood that "messing with an iconic work will always get people riled up."

“We haven’t touched the opera, actually,” Suzan-Lori Parks said. "We’re making another show. We’re not saying this will replace the original brilliant opera called 'Porgy and Bess.' "

Indeed Andrea reported on many of the changes the adaptation made to the original's characters and plot.

Those changes were appreciated by our critic-at-large, Ed Siegel, who in his September 2011 review wrote, in part, this:

[N]ot only is the new version thoroughly respectful toward the original opera, its changes are mostly subtle and, as far as I’m concerned, improvements on the original.

NPR's Monkey See blog has much more on the rest of the Tony nominations.

5/2 Update: An ART spokeswoman emails to say that "Once," which received the most Tony nominations — 11 — also has deep Cambridge roots.

"Once" was workshopped at the ART before heading to New York and, the spokeswoman wrote, "its nominated Sound Designer, Clive Owen, is the A.R.T.'s resident Sound Designer, A.R.T. Institute actor Erikka Walsh is a member of the 'Once' company, and its director, John Tiffany, returns to the A.R.T. next season to direct 'The Glass Menagerie.' "

-- Radio Boston also talks to "Porgy's" Paulus this afternoon.

This program aired on May 1, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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