GE.D4.2One of the things I was looking forward to while house-sitting this week just south of Boston was taking advantage of all the great culture the area has to offer. I was thrilled to learn that the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) just outside of Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA was mounting a revival of George and Ira Gershwin’s masterpiece Porgy and Bess.

I was even more thrilled to find out the production was set to star the wonderful Audra McDonald and would be running while I was in the area. I immediately purchased a ticket and was looking forward to seeing the show.  So there I was yesterday, while waiting for hurricane/tropical storm Irene to hit the area, I was fortunate to have a great seat for the afternoon matinee of this amazing new production, which will be transferring to Broadway next season.

From A.R.T.’s production notes: “In 1935, Porgy and Bess premiered at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. Now, 76 years later, the A.R.T. brings back Porgy and Bess in a new production. This classic American tale is set in the 1930s in Catfish Row, a neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. Bess, beautiful and troubled, turns to Porgy, the crippled beggar, in search of safety after her possessive lover Crown commits murder. As Porgy and Bess’s love grows, their future is threatened by Crown and the conniving Sporting Life.”

The heartbreaking love story of Porgy and Bess includes some of the most enduring music of the Gershwins including “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Summertime.”

The American Repertory Theater always does a great job, and with the iconic material by the Gershwins and the incredible talent of three-time Tony award winner Ms. McDonald and the whole cast, this was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

The show has been – somewhat controversially – re-imagined for modern audiences.  However, the core of the piece is intact and as beautiful as ever.  If you are in the Boston area in the coming weeks and love great musical theater, I highly recommend checking this show out.  Or, wait for what is sure to be a hot ticket when it hits New York and beyond.

Click here to see the A.R.T.’s interactive guide to Porgy and Bess.