Spoleto Festival USA Announces Free Live Broadcast of Porgy and Bess in Charleston’s Marion Square Monday, May 30 at 7:30pm; Encore presentation of the opera to be screened outdoors at West Ashley High School Tuesday, May 31 at 7:30pm

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Spoleto Festival USA Announces Free Live Broadcast
of Porgy and Bess in Charleston’s Marion Square
Monday, May 30 at 7:30pm

Encore presentation of the opera to be screened outdoors at
West Ashley High School Tuesday, May 31 at 7:30pm

Presented in association with Piccolo Spoleto Festival

Porgy and Bess ancillary events include exhibits and lectures throughout Charleston  

May 4, 2016 (CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA)—Festival General Director Nigel Redden today announced a live broadcast of the Spoleto Festival USA’s new production of Porgy and Bess onto a jumbotron screen in Charleston’s Marion Square on Monday, May 30. Thanks to generous sponsorship by Wells Fargo, the broadcast – a first of its kind for Spoleto Festival USA – will be free and open to the public. The live broadcast of the performance taking place at the Charleston Gaillard Center will start at 7:30pm. The following night, Tuesday, May 31, the same performance will be re-broadcast on a jumbotron screen at the West Ashley High School practice field at 7:30pm. This screening will also be free. The broadcasts demonstrate Spoleto Festival USA’s commitment to offering the highly-anticipated production, which is part of the Festival’s 40th season, to audiences throughout the community with thousands expected to attend the showings. The screenings are presented in association with Piccolo Spoleto Festival and the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. Additional sponsorship has been provided by the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, BET Networks/Viacom, and LiftOne.

“Last year, when I ran for mayor, I said that one of our goals should be to improve our citizens’ quality of life by making the arts more accessible to more residents in more areas of our city. Today, thanks to the Spoleto Festival USA and its sponsors, that vision is now starting to become a reality. Hats off to everyone involved in bringing this remarkable project together, and good luck and best wishes to the all the artists, performers, craftspeople and technicians who’ve been charged with creating such a magical night for our city and its people,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

“The response to Spoleto Festival USA’s production of Porgy and Bess has been remarkable. Charlestonians feel a deep connection to this opera that is based on a story by DuBose Heyward, one of the city’s native sons, that so evocatively represents the people of the Lowcountry. We are excited that this simulcast into Marion Square and screening in West Ashley provide a way for many more members of the community to experience this production,” said Mr. Redden.

The announcement of the screenings was made at the Charleston Gaillard Center during a break in a rehearsal of the opera. The new production is directed by David Herskovits who directed the Obie Award-winning production of Mamba’s Daughters by Dorothy and DuBose Heyward that was presented at Spoleto Festival USA in 1999. Soprano Alyson Cambridge will sing the role of Bess and baritone Lester Lynch will sing Porgy. All three were present for the announcement.

“Anyone can feel how this town loves Porgy and Bess. People in Charleston connect to the story and music in a uniquely powerful way. Our first days of rehearsal have brought together a talented, passionate team—we’re already cooking!—and we are excited to share the results with audiences in the Charleston Gaillard Center and beyond,” said Mr. Herskovits.

The 40th season of Spoleto Festival USA opens Friday, May 27 and continues through Sunday, June 12. The six performances of Porgy and Bess are among over 150 performances to be presented in the city during this time encompassing opera, music, dance, and theater.
Attending the screenings

Porgy and Bess is approximately 3 hours, 15 minutes including an intermission. Access to Marion Square will be via the entrances located at the corner of King and Calhoun Streets, and the corner of King and Meeting Streets. To best accommodate audience seating and public comfort, no hard-sided or wheeled coolers, canopies, or tents will be permitted. Attendees cannot bring alcohol into Marion Square, in keeping with City regulations.

West Ashley High School is located at 2060 W. Wildcat Blvd., Charleston. The screening will be held on the athletic practice field, adjacent to the west façade of the school building. Limited parking will be available. No alcohol is permitted on school property, including parking lots and athletic fields.
Porgy and Bess in Charleston

The Festival’s production of Porgy and Bess has sparked a citywide celebration. Other Porgy and Bess-related events and exhibitions, including free events, scheduled are:

164 King Street
May 27 – June 12
FREE and open to the public

Drawing from its extensive collection of rare historical publications, this exhibit includes the original handwritten manuscript and typescript of DuBose Heyward’s first novel, Porgy, the novel on which the Broadway play and opera are based. The handwritten draft is filled with Heyward’s notes and the typed manuscript still bears the handwritten title sheet with the original title for the novel, Porgo. The Charleston Library Society received these manuscripts from Dorothy Heyward after her husband’s passing. Additionally numerous editions of Porgy from the Society’s collection will be on display, including a 1925 first edition, and a 1928 “Charleston Edition,” with illustrations by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner. A first edition of the play, Porgy, c. 1927, written by Dorothy and DuBose Heyward is included and there are 1929 and 1935 Playbills from productions in New York, as well as a program from the 1942 New York revival with Al Hirschfeld’s iconic cover illustration alongside many other treasures.

360 Meeting Street
May 15 – July 31

I Got Plenty O’Nuttin’: George Gershwin’s Charleston will reflect the 1930s Charleston that DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin witnessed when writing and composing one of the most notable operas in American history. I Got Plenty O’Nuttin’ will display black and white images of Charleston during the 1920s and 1930s, period clothing and accessories, the very piano that George Gershwin used to compose the opera, as well as a goat cart in ode to Samuel Smalls, the inspiration for the character of Porgy. The Museum will offer exclusive curator-led tours and children’s educational programs during this exciting new exhibition.

Museum admission charges apply.

Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun Street  

Lecture and Book Signing
Tuesday, May 31, 4:00pm
FREE and open to the public

The College of Charleston Friends of the Library and Special Collections will host a public lecture, book signing, and exhibition to celebrate the creation, history, and staging of Porgy and Bess. Authors Karen Chandler, Damon Fordham, Harlan Greene, and Pam Wall will discuss the exciting new publication, Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story, from Home House Press. The book explores the origins, legacies, and controversies of the novel, play, and opera based on the work of DuBose Heyward, inspired by African-American life in the Lowcountry, and now known around the world. Copies of the books will be available for purchase.

Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story
Mid-May through August
FREE and open to the public

A new exhibit from Special Collections, Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story, will feature collections of art and rare manuscripts relating to the many forms of this beloved story. The exhibit will be on display mid-May through August 2016 in the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library.

135 Meeting Street
May 28 – October 9

Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess celebrates George Gershwin’s famed opera, as interpreted by visual artists since its creation. The exhibition includes a number of paintings from the 1930s era, including works by American realist George Biddle, who illustrated the original Porgy and Bess libretto in 1935. Beyond Catfish Row also includes paintings by Gershwin himself and works by American modernist Henry Botkin, who accompanied the composer to Charleston while he wrote the opera. The 1930s works are paired with more recent interpretations by contemporary artists Kara Walker and Jonathan Green. One of the foremost artists addressing issues of race, class, and gender in America, Walker created a suite of 20 lithographs as illustrations for the Porgy and Bess libretto, published by Arion Press in 2013. Green is the visual designer for Spoleto Festival USA’s 2016 production of Porgy and Bess.

Museum admission charges apply

SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA | CONVERSATIONS WITH . . . Sunday, May 29         3:00pm
FREE – Reservation required
Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, 54 St. Philip Street

Host Martha Teichner interviews Director David Herskovits and Visual Designer Jonathan Green.

spoletousa.org | 843.579.3100  

May 27 – June 12 | 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, and 2:00pm
Advance bookings required | Tickets $40 adults; $20 child (ages 6 – 12)

Explore the world of Porgy and Bess beyond the stage with this specially curated walking tour of downtown Charleston. Featuring locations made famous by the opera and DuBose Heyward’s novel, Porgy—including Catfish Row—the tour will feature sites associated with the fictional characters as well as the real people on which they are based. Your knowledgeable guide will provide a rich historical context for the work and its creators.

Approximately 2 hours

spoletousa.org | 843.579.3100

Present – June 12

Visual concepts created by Jonathan Green and seen in the opera have spilled into the streets of Charleston. The Porgy Houses are a series of Charleston residencies that have been enhanced by West-African design motifs seen in the final act of the Festival’s production of Porgy and Bess. The featured homes have been chosen for their significance in African-American history. Each installation is site-specific and seeks to draw attention to their importance in the history of this city. A map and descriptions of the houses—all of which are located on the Charleston peninsula—will be available from Spoleto Festival USA’s box office at the Charleston Visitor Center and the Charleston Gaillard Center. This map and information will also be available online at spoletousa.org.


Porgy and Bess is made possible by a generous gift from the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation.

Presented to the community by Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Additional support provided by The DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Philanthropic Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Phipps, Jr., The Albert Sottile Foundation, The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, and The Brand Foundation of New York, Inc.

Generously Supported by The Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Carlos E. Evans, and Mr. M. Edward Sellers and Dr. Suzan Boyd.

Additional support from Carolinas HealthCare System, The Duke Endowment, Foundation for the Carolinas, Mrs. Roger P. Hanahan, Mr. Nicholas C. L. Jones, SunTrust Bank, Ann and Michael Tarwater, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Opera programming is endowed by the Arthur and Holly Magill Foundation.

These performances are made possible in part through funds from the Spoleto Festival USA Endowment, generously supported by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

The Porgy Houses are sponsored by: Richard and Jill Almeida, The Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation, Mr. M. Edward Sellers and Dr. Suzan Boyd, and Dr. and Mrs. Kerry Solomon.

THE GERSHWINS®’ PORGY AND BESS® by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.


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