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Pirates of Penzance Program Cover (1881)
Pirates of Penzance Program (1881) (Wikimedia Commons)

NOTE: This In Performance broadcast (10 June 2012) will begin at 3pm, one half hour earlier than usual.

HISTORY

W S Gilbert began writing plays when he was still in school, but after he graduated, he set his sights on a military career. As it turned out, though, the military didn’t need him. So he tried civil service as an assistant clerk.

He despised the job. When a bit of an inheritance came his way in 1863, he decided to try his hand at legal work. His career as a barrister was more satisfying, but not very successful. Gilbert averaged five clients per year.

Gilbert soon realized that such niceties as food and shelter were going to require a bit more income than law was bringing him, so he turned back to writing. Initially he used it as a supplement to his legal income, penning (often scathing) theatre reviews, magazine stories, and poems.

Gilbert’s Bab Ballads were named for his childhood moniker. He illustrated them himself. It was here that Gilbert developed the topsy-turvy style that would serve him so well in the theatre – taking an utterly absurd premise and following it faithfully to its logical conclusion. These publications would later provide feedstock for Gilbert’s plays and operettas.

At a rehearsal for his 1869 play Ages Ago, Gilbert was introduced to a young composer.

There was never any doubt that Arthur Sullivan would become a musician – he was composing for band when he was eight years old! His father tried to divert the hurtling freight train, thinking that a music career wasn’t apt to produce a son who could support him in his old age. It was all to no avail. Sullivan became a choir boy and soon was composing anthems. A scholarship cleared his way to the Royal Academy of Music and eventually to the Leipzig Conservatory.

After his 1861 graduation and a return from Leipzig, Sullivan dug into composing in earnest. His father’s warning quickly returned to haunt him, though. He found that composing music – even when it was amply salted with briskly-selling parlor songs and hymns – wasn’t much of a living. Fortunately, steady work and a stable income came with a gig as a church organist. Over the next decade Sullivan composed a good-sized catalog of moderately successful works, including a cello concerto, a symphony, an oratorio, overtures, ballet, and opera.

In 1869, Sullivan’s fellow composer Frederic Clay was working with a poet and author on a musical, Ages Ago, and introduced Sullivan to the librettist.

Two years later, Arthur Sullivan and W S Gilbert joined forces for the first time to create Thespis. It was a parody of grand opera in general, and of the then-popular Offenbach comic operas such as Orpheus in the Underworld in particular. I’d like to say that they immediately hit it off – but that didn’t happen. In fact, it was another 4 years before Gilbert and Sullivan teamed up again.

In 1875 producer Richard d’Oyly Carte was managing the Royalty Theater, and was about to produce Jacques Offenbach’s La Perichole. He needed a companion piece, and brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to create Trial By Jury.

The filler piece became the hit, far outdrawing – and outlasting – the Offenbach. The stage was set.

It took d’Oyly Carte another two years to raise the cash, but his next collaboration with Gilbert and Sullivan, The Sorcerer, did rather well, thank you very much. Encouraged by that modest success, the team launched the H M S Pinafore barely half a year later. Pinafore became a huge hit – and the trio were off and running.

When Gilbert had begun writing plays, English theatre’s reputation hadn’t been any too good. One of his objectives had been to improve its image, and to make theatre more "family-friendly."

d’Oyly Carte agreed – he wanted to produce comic opera for families. Not for him the risque reputation of Vaudeville. The plays he produced with Gilbert and Sullivan were thoroughly entertaining – and utterly innocent. With these three men at the helm, never would evil gain so much as an inch of dramatic traction.

Gilbert and d’Oyly Carte’s reputation management extended from the characters to the people playing them. They rigorously corraled the performers to forestall any hint of scandal. They forbade such temptations to perdition as cursing, loitering, flirting, and gossip. Men’s and women’s dressing rooms were on opposite sides of the theatre; as the players left the stage they were summarily shooed to their strictly segregated warrens.

With the Savoy Theatre, newly built for Gilbert and Sullivan in 1881, they and d’Oyly Carte gave us theatrical traditions that persist today, from free programs to numbered seating. The Savoy was also the first theatre to be lit entirely by electricity.

There was one thing that Gilbert, Sullivan, and d’Oyly Carte had trouble managing, though: performance rights. Not in England, mind you; between their trademark "natural" acting style and their youthful performers’ energy, they effectively owned the market. And when they didn’t, they successfully worked England’s legal system to their advantage.

But America had a more freewheeling attitude and far less aggressive copyright laws (things have changed appreciably since then). HMS Pinafore was a huge international hit, and G, S & C found it nearly impossible to rein in the hundreds of unauthorized American performances.

Thus Pirates of Penzance became the first – and only – G&S opera to have its official premiere in New York, opening on New Year’s Eve in 1879. They were hoping to establish theirs as the official production. They did succeed in making a tidy profit on it, but in the end, they still couldn’t prevent a plethora of pirates pirating Pirates. (Sorry.)

SYNOPSIS

Act 1 finds us with a rollicking band of brigands on the rocky Cornish coast of Britain. They’re drinking to Frederic, who is celebrating the completion of his pirate apprenticeship. At noon, just half an hour away, he will turn 21.

But Frederic has a secret. As his nurse Ruth explains, his apprenticeship is all a careless mistake. When Frederic was just a boy, his father sent Ruth with him to apprentice him to a sea pilot. But she misunderstood the boy’s father, and here he is with a band of sea pirates. Afraid to face up to her error, Ruth too signed on with the lawbreakers.

Frederic, ever the dutiful one, has faithfully served out the terms of his agreement. In 30 minutes, he’ll be free – and then it’ll be his obligation as a British citizen to betray the pirate band!

For this, the Pirate King compliments Frederic. After all, he’s only acting on his convictions when he resolves to exterminate his colleagues. But, the Pirate King points out, for the moment Frederic is still a pirate – and come to that, why haven’t they been successful pirates, anyway?

Frederic points out the problem: they’re just too nice. As orphans themselves, they feel a duty to release all the orphans they capture. And, somehow, curiously, these days every ship they capture is full of orphans.

The time comes and Frederic takes leave of his pirate friends, but not before trying to leave the long-suffering Ruth behind ("… yours is the only woman’s face I have seen … What a terrible thing it would be if I were to marry this innocent person and then find out that she is, on the whole, plain!"). Frederic even goes so far as to ask Ruth if she considers herself fair. Then he points out her advanced age and thoughtlessly renounces his companion of many years. In despair, she leaves him.

Just then Frederic spots a bevy of comely maidens. Their response is about what you’d expect: "A pirate! Horror!" Only one of them, Mabel, seems willing to accept Frederic as he is: "It’s true that he’s gone astray, but … why should you all be deaf to pity’s name?"

The young women soon find themselves surrounded by Frederic’s former pirate band. Just as the pirates are about to claim the maidens as their wives, the women reveal their identity. All are daughters of major-general Stanley – and here he is, "the very model of the modern major-general." Stanley knows the pirates’ secret, so he lies, claiming to be an orphan. Duty-bound, the pirates set the major-general and his daughters free.

Act 2 opens in a derelict chapel on major-general Stanley’s estate. Stanley, surrounded by his daughters, is racked with guilt for his falsehood. He has betrayed his ancestors’ honor – even if they aren’t really his ancestors. A crew of nervous policemen arrive. Frederic’s duty will be to lead them to the pirates’ lair.

Ruth and the Pirate King find Frederic alone in the chapel. They bring news – he’s still a pirate after all! It seems that his contract says he’ll be released on his 21st birthday. But Frederic was born on the 29th of February in leap year. So he’s celebrated only 5 birthdays, not 21. He still has another 16 "years" to serve in his pirate apprenticeship.

Duty calls yet again. Frederic will have to leave his beloved Mabel and return to the pirate life.

If there’s one thing Frederic knows, it’s duty. His duty now is to the Pirate King, so he reveals that major-general Stanley lied when he claimed to be an orphan. The Pirate King is livid. He vows "swift and terrible" revenge that very night.

Mabel, alone with Frederic, swears she will remain faithful to him until he has served out his full 21-leap-year term. The pirate band approaches and the fearful pirate-hunting policemen hide. Major-general Stanley appears with his daughters, and the pirates seize him. Despite all of Mabel’s entreaties, Frederic is powerless to help him – his duty is to the pirates, after all. The police try to save Stanley, but the pirates quickly repel the attack – "Don’t say you are orphans, for we know that game."

The police seargent, desperate, tries one last move: "We charge you yield, in Queen Victoria’s name!"

The words have a striking effect. Moments before, the pirates were standing over policemen with drawn swords. Now they are on their knees.

What is this? Ruth steps forward to explain. The pirates aren’t really orphans, she says. They’re "noblemen who have gone wrong."

Well then! "Peers will be peers," in major-general Stanley’s world. All is forgiven. Frederic and Mabel can wed. The pirates will return to their official duties in the House of Lords. And as a bonus, they’ll have the hands of Stanley’s daughters in marriage.

CAST
 
Frederic Stephen Faulk
Ruth Jacquely Kress
Pirate King Gary Moss
Mabel Karla Hughes
Major-general Stanley Nicholas Wuehrmann
Edith Lori Birrer
Kate Sarah Best
Isabel Natalie Ballenger
Sergeant Ted Christopher
Samuel David Kelleher-Flight
 
OHIO LIGHT OPERA
 
Artistic Director Steven Daigle
Conductor J Lynn Thompson
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Poster for the Broadway Premiere
Poster for a 1905 performance
(Wikimedia Commons; PD in USA)

NOTE: This In Performance broadcast (for 3 June 2012) will begin at 3pm, one half hour earlier than usual.

HISTORY

Victor Herbert was born in Dublin, but after his father died, he and his mother went to London to live with his grandfather. When he was 27, his mother married a German physician, and Herbert landed in Stuttgart.

There he expected to become a doctor like his stepfather, but that was not to be. His family fell on hard times. Then as now, the cost of a medical education was daunting. So music it was, and Victor entered the Stuttgart Conservatory, where he studied cello.

A gig as a cellist in Eduard Strauss’s orchestra took Herbert to Vienna, where he met soprano Therese Foerster. In 1886 they were married. Her career was on an upward trajectory that soon took her to New York and the Met. There she was offered the lead in Goldmark’s The Queen of Sheba for the 1886-87 season opener. She accepted, on the condition that her husband would be hired to play in the Met orchestra. He signed on as principal cellist.

Herbert threw himself into New York’s musical life, playing cello and composing, and eventually adopting America as his permanent home. For the first several years, he composed only instrumental music, but in 1894 he created his first operetta, Prince Ananias.

Except for a few years as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the theatre would be Herbert’s principal musical home for the rest of his life, with such major operetta successes as 1903′s Babes in Toyland, 1905′s Mlle Modiste, 1906′s The Red Mill, 1910′s Naughty Marietta, and 1913′s Sweethearts. He also composed operas; in later years, ballet music for musical theatre; and the score for the 1916 film, The Fall of a Nation.

Herbert’s first real success in operetta came in 1897 with The Serenade. This was thanks partly to his music, and partly to the impressive star power of soprano Alice Nielsen. The following season, Herbert composed The Fortune Teller for Nielsen and her opera company, giving her no fewer than three roles. His librettist was Harry B. Smith.

After a brief engagement in Toronto, The Fortune Teller premiered on Broadway on 26 September 1898. It ran for 40 performances. That may not seem like a long run, but at the beginning of the 20th century a Broadway premiere was just the beginning of a show’s life on the road.

SYNOPSIS

Act 1 opens at the Budapest Opera’s ballet school. Penurious Count Berezowski has learned that one of the ballet students is to inherit an imposing estate. The count has found the solution to his poverty: a wedding!

There are, however, two small catches. One is ballet master Fresco, who wants his cut of the fortune – a "finder’s fee," if you will. The other is a bit more daunting: the would-be heiress, Irma, doesn’t much like the count. Besides, she already loves another, Captain Ladislas. Not for her this wedding: she must escape before it’s too late!

As luck (and reports from Ladislas) would have it, Irma’s twin brother Fedor has just deserted his military post to elope with a French singer. Desertion is a capital crime. So Irma has a chance not only to escape the count, but also to save her brother’s life. All she has to do is dress up in Fedor’s uniform and take his place. With that, she’s off, leaving behind a bogus suicide note for ballet master Fresco.

Fresco is beside himself – not at Irma’s alleged death, but at the loss of the cash it represents! Just then a solution presents itself in the form of Musette, a fortune teller with a band of Romanies who have just arrived. Musette bears an uncanny resemblance to Irma. (The two roles are always played by the same singer.) Aha! Fresco will simply marry Musette to the count.

Not surprisingly, this idea doesn’t sit well with Musette’s real lover from the Romany band, Sandor. But not to worry, he says – they’ll just run off after the wedding, leaving Count Berezowski in the lurch.

Act 2 takes place at Count Berezowski’s chateau. The wedding is imminent, but the bride, Musette, is nowhere to be found. However, Irma has returned, wearing her brother’s uniform. Fresco persuades her to trade her uniform for the wedding gown.

Following all this so far? Good. Now, take a deep breath: Sandor takes Irma for Musette, his sweetheart. Captain Ladislas takes her for his love, Irma. Count Berezowski takes her for his bride-to-be. And the count is determined to take her for his bride.

The three men are about to come to blows, so Irma reveals her "true identity." She is, she says, Fedor, her brother. This ruse is threatened when Fedor’s fiancee, the French singer Pompom, appears. But just then a messenger arrives with the news that war has broken out. All head for the front.

Act 3 finds us at the Hungarian forces’ camp. Fedor is still missing, and Irma is still taking his place. Pompom arrives, and accuses "Fedor" of deserting her.

Just as the situation seems hopeless, an officer arrives with the resolution. Fedor hasn’t deserted either Pompom or the army. He’s been sent on a top secret mission, and he’s about to return a hero!

The subterfuge is undone and all is forgiven. Now Irma can marry her true love Ladislas, Musette can marry Sandor, and Fedor can tie the knot with Pompom. Count Berezowski and Fresco? They’re left with their just reward for their conniving and duplicity – nothing.

CAST
 
Irma / Musette / Fedor Amy Maples
Count Berezowski Logan Walsh
Fresco Gary Moss
Captain Ladislas Stephen Faulk
Sandor David Kelleher-Flight
Pompom Elisa Matthews
Boris Max Nolin
Vaninka Sarah Best
Rafael Lori Birrer
General Korbay Geoffrey Penar
Lieutenant Geoffrey Kannenberg
Wanda Natalie Ballenger
Vera Madeline Piscetta
Matosin Jacob Allen
 
OHIO LIGHT OPERA
 
Artistic Director Steven Daigle
Conductor Steven Byess
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Alvy Powell and Marquita Lister
Alvy Powell and Marquita Lister

NOTE: This In Performance broadcast will begin one hour earlier than usual, at 2:30pm.

Over the last decade, the Akron Symphony Orchestra has periodically programmed opera – collections of operatic excerpts, and complete concert-format and semi-staged operas. The latter have included Bizet’s Carmen in 2003 and Verdi’s La Traviata in 2007.

For the 2010-11 season, music director Christopher Wilkins set an even more ambitious goal – a large scale, semi-staged production of George Gershwin’s American "folk opera," Porgy and Bess.

Gershwin’s vision for Porgy and Bess specified an African-American cast and onstage chorus. In addition to the national and regional talent recruited for the singing roles, Wilkins called on the musicians who have brought several years of the orchestra’s Gospel Meets Symphony programs to life, augmenting them with performers from Akron’s Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW). An additional 68 voice chorus located in the upper balcony included members of the Akron Symphony Chorus.

HISTORY

In 1924, author DuBose Heyward read a newspaper account of a local African-American man accused of aggravated assault, a crime of passion. It caught Heyward’s attention and imagination. "Goat Sammy" was disabled, unable to stand or walk; a cart pulled by a goat was his only mobility.

Porgy, Heyward’s novel inspired by Goat Sammy’s story, became a best seller. Composer George Gershwin read Porgy in September of 1926 and immediately contacted Heyward, proposing that they work together on a folk opera adaptation of the tale. Heyward’s response was strongly favorable, but he was already involved in a collaboration to produce a stage production of Porgy with spirituals.

This was just two years after Gershwin’s sensational success with Rhapsody in Blue, and he was much in demand. So it wasn’t until late in 1933, more than 7 years after their initial contact, that the author’s and the composer’s schedules finally meshed. The month after that, though, Heyward began sending material to Gershwin. The following spring he spent a month in New York with George and his brother Ira, who was helping with the lyrics.

Heyward had set Porgy in his native Charleston, South Carolina. Since almost the inception of the project he’d been trying to draw Gershwin there for a visit. Finally, in June 1934, Gershwin rented a cottage on an island off the Charleston shore. Heyward and his wife Dorothy, who had assisted with the theatrical Porgy, joined Gershwin there.

Gershwin spent quite a bit more of his summer enjoying the island than he did working on the opera. Nevertheless, he was able to absorb some of the African-American musical culture on a neighboring island.

When he returned to New York late in July, Gershwin set to work in earnest, wrapping up the recitatives and orchestrating his opera. This time he soloed on the orchestration (Paul Whiteman had orchestrated Rhapsody in Blue for him). A year later, Porgy and Bess – now bearing the second character’s name to distinguish it from the earlier spiritual-based musical – was finished.

Gershwin’s next tasks were casting and production. He was seeking classically trained African-American singers for his cast, and Todd Duncan’s name surfaced almost immediately. However, Duncan taught at Howard University, and Gershwin "didn’t want any university professor to sing" in Porgy and Bess. When Gershwin actually heard Duncan sing, though, he gave Duncan the lead on the spot.

Gershwin may have thought of Porgy and Bess as an opera, but he was careful to book its Broadway run at the Alvin Theater, assiduously avoiding the word "opera" in connection with it. The show opened in New York on 10 October 1935. It ran for a rather modest 124 performances and was not a financial success.

Nevertheless, Porgy and Bess went on tour in January 1936, playing in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington DC. In Washington the cast protested the National Theatre’s policy of discrimination. Eventually, the theatre management gave in. Porgy and Bess became the first performance there to have an integrated audience.

Porgy didn’t achieve real audience and financial success for another half-dozen years. The turning point was a 9-month 1942 run at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre. However, what played at the Majestic was not Gershwin’s original work. The show’s director had made draconian cuts in the libretto, halved the size of the cast, pruned the orchestra, and eliminated many of the recitatives in favor of spoken dialogue.

A 1952 version reversed many of the cuts, and brought in sizable European audiences. Although that production made a few appearances here in the States, the first really successful American performance of Porgy and Bess as the full opera Gershwin had envisioned didn’t take place until nearly 40 years after the premiere.

In the summer of 1975, Lorin Maazel led the first essentially uncut modern performance of Porgy and Bess with the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. It was recorded by London/Decca. The recording was out of print for some years, but was reissued in 2007.

That same year, Houston Grand Opera presented a fully staged, full length performance, which they later took to Broadway’s Uris Theater. That performance was recorded by RCA.

At last, a half-century after Gershwin had first conceived the idea for Porgy and Bess, it was the fully-fledged American opera he had meant it to be. Its international stature has only grown since then.

SYNOPSIS

Act I, Scene 1

It is night in Catfish Row, a shantytown near the Charleston waterfront. A piano plays "Jassbo Brown’s Blues." Clara sings her infant to sleep with the lullaby, "Summertime." Jake, Clara’s husband, sings "A Woman is a Sometime Thing" to the baby.

Porgy enters (in the Akron performance, he supports himself with a crutch rather than riding a goat cart) as a crap game is in progress. The others tease him for his interest in Bess. Bess enters with her lover, Crown, who is intoxicated. Crown joins the crap game. Enraged at his losses, Crown attacks another player, Robbins, and kills him with a cotton hook.

Crown runs away to hide. As the police arrive, the Catfish Row residents scatter. Bess, now abandoned by her runaway lover, pleads to the nearly empty scene for help and shelter. Sportin’ Life, Catfish Row’s drug dealer, offers to take her to New York, but she refuses. Porgy opens his door to her.

Act I, Scene 2

Robbins’s corpse lies in his and Serena’s room, a saucer on his chest for burial cost donations ("Overflow, Overflow"). The police arrive on the scene and accuse Peter, a half-deaf elderly man, of the murder, expecting the others to finger Crown. No one does, so Peter is hauled off as a "material witness." Serena mourns Robbins with "My Man’s Gone Now." His friends commend his soul to heaven with "Leaving for the Promised Land."

Act II, Scene 1

It’s a month later on Catfish Row. Jake and the fisherman mend their nets and prepare to take to sea, despite warnings of September storms ("It Takes a Long Pull to Get There"). Porgy sings "I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’," and his friends remark on how he’s changed since he’s been with Bess. Sportin’ Life once again tries to entice Bess with his "magic dust" and life in New York, but Porgy’s example has helped her change her ways. She refuses both. Porgy sends the dope peddler packing. He and Bess sing the love duet "Bess, You is My Woman Now."

A picnic is in the offing ("Oh, I Can’t Sit Down"), but Porgy can’t go. Bess says she’ll stay home too. Porgy insists that she join their friends at the picnic.

Act II, Scene 2

It’s evening, and the picnic is in full swing on Kittiwah Island ("I Ain’t Got No Shame"). Sportin’ Life extols the virtues of religious skepticism in "It Ain’t Necessarily So." Serena arrives and casts "Shame on All You Sinners." Now they have to hurry, or they’ll miss the last boat home.

As the others pack up to leave, Bess lingers. Abruptly, Crown appears; he has been hiding on the island. She begs him to leave her alone ("What You Want With Bess?"), but he compels her to stay. The boat leaves without her.

Act II, Scene 3

It’s early morning, a week later. Jake and the fishermen make final preparations for their fishing excursion, with a partial reprise of "It Takes a Long Pull to Get There." The police have released Peter.

Bess has returned from Kittiwah Island, incoherent. She lies delerious in Porgy’s house. Serena prays for her recovery ("Oh, Doctor Jesus"). Catfish Row awakens as the Strawberry Woman, the Crab Man and Peter the honey man offer their wares.

Bess calls for Porgy. She admits to having been with Crown. Porgy replies that he knows, but it’s all right. Bess has promised Crown that she will go with him, but now she’s afraid. She wants to stay with Porgy ("I Loves You, Porgy"). Porgy swears that he will protect her from Crown.

Anxiously, Clara watches the sea. A storm is brewing. The hurricane bell rings its urgent warning. Fearing the worst, Clara falls to her knees.

Act II, Scene 4

The storm rages outside Serena’s room, where all have gathered to wait and pray. Peter sings "I Hear Death Knockin’ at the Door" – and just then there is a loud, violent knock at the door! Crown bursts in, returning to claim Bess. Serena warns Crown that the storm may kill him, but he sings "If God wanted to kill me, He had plenty of chance ‘tween here and Kittiwah Island." He taunts the entire company with a bawdy song ("A Red-Headed Woman").

Clara spots Jake’s boat, capsized ("Jake’s Boat In the River"). She hands her baby to Bess and rushes out into the storm. Bess urges all the men to follow her, but it is Crown who does so, shouting that he will return for Bess.

Act III, Scene 1

In the courtyard the next night, all mourn Clara, Jake, and Crown – surely lost in the storm ("Clara, Clara"). Sportin’ Life, however, hints that Crown is not dead. Bess sings "Summertime" to Clara’s baby. The courtyard empties.

Crown slinks into the abandoned courtyard, creeping toward Porgy’s door. As he passes the window, an arm reaches out and plunges a long knife into his back. Crown staggers. Porgy stumbles out of the house, seizes Crown, and throttles him. "Bess, Bess, You Got a Man Now," he proclaims.

Act III, Scene 2

The next afternoon, the police arrive to investigate Crown’s death. Serena says she knows nothing – and that all in Catfish Row will swear that Crown murdered her husband Robbins. The police ask Porgy to identify Crown’s body. He refuses out of fear; Sportin’ Life has told him that if a man’s killer looks at his corpse, the corpse’s wounds will bleed. The police haul him away.

Sportin’ Life approaches Bess. Porgy could be in prison for years, he tells her. He might even be executed. The dope peddler offers Bess his "happy dust" to assuage her fears. At first she refuses, but then she succumbs to the temptation. Sportin’ Life again presses her to accompany him to the big city ("There’s a Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York"). He reminds her that she is now again all alone.

Act III, Scene 3

A week later, life in Catfish Row seems normal ("Good morning, Sister"). Porgy returns. Everyone sings "It’s Porgy Coming Home." Porgy has been in jail for contempt of court after refusing to identify Crown. Even there his luck held up; he’s won cash at jailhouse crap games. He brings gifts for all, including a red dress for Bess.

But – "Oh, Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess?" Serena and Maria join in, excusing and explaining her actions: Bess has gone to New York with Sportin’ Life. Porgy calls for his goat cart. He will find Bess, wherever she is, and bring her back. He and the chorus sing the finale, "Oh Lord, I’m On My Way."

CAST
 
Bess Marquita Lister
Porgy Alvy Powell
Crown Lester Lynch
Serena Angela Renee Simpson
Sportin’ Life Emmanuel LeGrair
Jake Brian Keith Johnson
Clara Candice Hoyes
Maria Carla J Davis
Mingo Jaron LeGrair
Robbins Jason Davis
Jim Ernest Jackson
Peter Allen Maxwell
Annie Julissa Faw
Lily Angeleine Valentine
Nelson, Honey Man Brian Tartar
Crab Man Jaron LeGrair
Strawberry Woman Brenda Justice
Wake Woman Samantha Garner
Wake Man Durrell LeGrair
Hurricane Woman Merissa Coleman
Detective Frederick Reader
Policeman Henry Beazlie
Policeman Kenton Kober
 
PRODUCTION STAFF
 
Chorus Master Levi Hammer
Production Manager Tony Kovacic
Stage Manager Matty Sayre
Stage Director Frank McClain
Lighting Designer Deb Malcolm
Hair / Makeup Designer Karlise Brown
Costume Designer Debbie Meredith
 

The Porgy and Bess Chorus
The Akron Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Wilkins, conductor

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