Sunday, March 30, 2014

Porgy and Bess review at the Ordway

This past week brought another visit to the Ordway Theater in St.Paul for Blogger Night. This time around, I had, along with my theater buddy, Kim, the chance to see Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

I knew very little about this going in, except for a jazz album I have with Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong of the same name.

Having this jazz idea in my head, I was very surprised with what I saw.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess 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 theater’s most exhilarating love stories. (Ordway website)

It was a magnificently dramatic story and performance, one that I enjoyed at times and at others was a bit put off. I will say it again; singing almost every line truly loses the impact of the emotions the performer is trying to get across. Even though the voices of the actors were amazing, it became too operatic at times and too showy for me to appreciate. 

I did feel the love and conflict between Porgy and Bess. I also felt the oppression of the rest of the cast members and the lives they lived. Each and every actor on stage was impressive in singing and dancing. I just couldn't get over the theatrics. Music moves me and when it is sprinkled in a show, I feel it has more impact than having it be there the whole time. 

My guest's review: "None of the music is stuck in my head today, which is my measuring stick for a good musical. The choreography was great and the story line was good but a little slow moving. The cast was incredible but they didn't have enough to work with."

I think theater fans would enjoy it overall. My little hang up is probably just that; mine!

Show runs through March 30 at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul.

Happy Viewing and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child