3-28-12: Why “Porgy and Bess” Was Originally Just “Porgy”
10 years ago, a beautiful new fine arts center opened on the campus of Morgan State University. The Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center includes the Gilliam Concert Hall as well as space for theatrical productions and rehearsal space for Morgan’s many musical ensembles,
including its internationally renowned choir. This weekend, as the main event in a year of performances celebrating the center’s 10th anniversary, the Morgan State Opera Workshop will present George Gershwin’s legendary opera, Porgy and Bess, with a cast that includes some of Morgan’s most distinguished graduates in the lead roles. One of those distinguished alums is Kevin Short, who will sing the role of Porgy. He, along with, Vincent Stringer, the director of the opera workshop at Morgan State, talk with Tom about the production–and the roles available to African Americans in opera.
You can also hear Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Story about Anne Brown, who originated the role of Bess, at this link. The show was called just “Porgy”–until George Gershwin heard her sing.