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Published: Sun, November 10, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

newsmakers

‘Porgy and Bess’ on national tour

NEW YORK

Nathaniel Stampley ached to make the role of Porgy his own in the celebrated 2012 Broadway revival of “Porgy and Bess.” Instead, he kept dying.

Stampley was an understudy for Norm Lewis in the title role and bided his time by playing the small role of Robbins in the revamped version of the Gershwin classic. Robbins is killed with a cotton hook in a fight after a dice game on page 15 of the script.

Now Stampley, who first fell in love with the musical as a teenager in the chorus of a production in Milwaukee, will finally get his shot as Porgy: He leads the national tour that kicked off a 14-state tour this weekend in San Francisco.

“Let me tell you. It’s a dream come true,” he says. “This is a full-circle moment for me many, many years later. I’m humbled by that and yet I’m really excited.”

Stampley, together with Alicia Hall Moran as Bess, are among a cast of almost 30 that will crisscross the country until next summer in the Tony Award-winning production that wowed audiences on Broadway.

The musical, backed by a 23-piece orchestra on the road, looks at life in the fictitious Catfish Row in the early 1920s. It boasts such classic songs as “Summertime,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nothin”’ and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

Diane Paulus, the artistic director of the American Repertory Theater, adapted the Gershwin opera for the Broadway stage with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and Obie Award-winning composer Diedre Murray.

Associated Press


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