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Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is now booking to 8 Jul 2012

The Broadway production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, re-imagined by director Diane Paulus, currently in previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre has extended its limited engagement by two weeks, and is now booking through to 8 Jul 2012. The show opens on 12 Jan 2012.

The musical, which was originally expected to play an open-ended run, announced on 6 Oct 2012 that it would play a 26-week limited engagement, closing 24 Jun 2012.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess - music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, book by DuBose Heyward - has been re-imagined by A.R.T.'s Artistic Director Diane Paulus, Pulitzer prize-winning writer Suzan-Lori Parks, and two-time Obie winner Diedre Murray.

The show has been specifically created for Broadway and features a revised book in a musical theatre format and jazz-oriented musical arrangements.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess 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 musical's score includes 'Summertime,' 'Bess, You Is My Woman,' 'It Ain't Necessarily So' and 'I Loves You, Porgy.'

The principal cast features Audra McDonald (Bess), Norm Lewis (Porgy), David Alan Grier (Sportin' Life), Phillip Boykin (Crown), Nikki Renee Daniels (Clara), Joshua Henry (Jake), Christopher Innvar (Detective), Bryonha Marie Parham (Serena) and NaTasha Yvette Williams (Mariah).

The newly re-imagined production premiered at the American Repertory Theatre The creative team features choreographer Ronald K. Brown, set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Emilio Sosa, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and sound designer Acme Sound Partners.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is based on DuBose Heyward's novel "Porgy" and the play of the same name, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

George Gershwin worked on Porgy and Bess in Charleston, SC and drew inspiration from the James Island Gullah community, which he felt had preserved some African musical traditions. The music itself reflects his New York jazz roots, but also draws on southern black traditions. Gershwin modeled the pieces after each type of folk song which the composer knew about; jubilees, blues, praying songs, street cries, work songs, and spirituals are blended with traditional arias and recitatives.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess first premiered at the Colonial Theatre in Boston on 30 Sep 1935. Broadway performances followed featuring a cast of classically trained African-American singers — a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time.

The show was last revived on the Great White Way in 1983.

Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis in Diane Paulus' re-imagination of Porgy and Bess

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