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David Alan Grier & Norm Lewis Will Join Audra McDonald In Suzan-Lori Parks “Porgy & Bess” Revival

We already know that four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will star in Pultizer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks‘ (Topdog/Underdog) revival of the George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward opera Porgy and Bess, which will bow at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, this September, to be directed by Diane Paulus (the Tony Award-nominated director for her revival of Hair).

I just learned that David Alan Grier and Norm Lewis will join McDonald in the stage production.

Lewis (pictured below-right, whose credits include Les Miserables) will star as “Porgy” to Audra’s “Bess;” while the 2-time Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier, will play “Sportin’ Life,” the dope pusher.

This revival I believe will be a contemporary reworking of the original, so, don’t expect to see the same kinds of characterizations of black people as there were in Gershwin’s work – a work that’s certainly a product of its time, which has sparked racial controversy since its debut in 1935.

While the work is slated to open the American Repertory Theater’s 2011-12 season this September, the producers certainly aren’t counting out an eventual Broadway run as well, which wouldn’t be a first for the work. Of course there was the 1959 film adaptation, which starred Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, directed by Otto Preminger.

So, who knows? We just might eventually see a contemporary retelling of the story on film again as well.

Additional casting will be announced shortly.

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