Charleston Jazz Orchestra presents Porgy & Bess Reimagined
Sat., May 18, 7 & 10 p.m. 2013
$30-$40/adults, $24-$35/senior, $10/18 and under, Free/children 6 and under
It’s just about summertime here in Charleston, and as Porgy and Bess’ opening lyrics suggest, the livin’ is easy. The cusp of Charleston summer is a more than fitting time for a production of the iconic Gershwin opera, which takes place right here in the Holy City. The musicians at Charleston Jazz Orchestra want to emphasize the setting in this reimagined version of the classic work. “It’s a love letter to Charleston,” says CJO’s president Leah Suárez. “Our focus is on the music’s distinctive Charleston sound, showing how inspirational the city was to Gershwin.” This production of Porgy is unlike other recent interpretations, such as last year’s contentious Broadway revival. There are no sets or props, just a story unveiled concert-style, which allows the music to speak for itself. CJO’s lead alto saxophonist and composer Robert Lewis has crafted a completely new musical arrangement that is adapted to local, modern audiences, says CJO’s artistic director Charlton Singleton. “Most people are familiar with the hit songs, but I think the audience is going to be really pleased with our new take on them,” he says.