Northeast Times

‘Porgy and Bess’ comes to the Academy of Music

On stage: Pic­tured are Alicia Hall Mor­an as Bess and Dani­elle Lee Greaves as Mari­ah in The Ger­sh­wins’ Porgy and Bess. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MICHEAL LUTCH

Dani­elle Lee Greaves rel­ishes her role as Mari­ah in The Ger­sh­wins’ Porgy and Bess, which comes to the Academy of Mu­sic next week.

“Mari­ah is like the mat­ri­arch,” she said. “She kind of over­sees her little corner of Char­le­ston, S.C. People tend to look to her for guid­ance and dir­ec­tion. I love her. She’s a com­plex wo­man. She’s in­ter­est­ing to delve in­to.”

Greaves is a vet­er­an act­ress who has per­formed ex­tens­ively on na­tion­al tours, on Broad­way and at oth­er New York ven­ues, on tele­vi­sion and in film.

Her stage cred­its in­clude A Street­car Named De­sire, Hair­spray, Sun­set Boulevard, The Im­port­ance of Be­ing Earn­est and The Li­on King.

Greaves joined Porgy and Bess, a mu­sic­al, last Oc­to­ber.

“I love to tour,” she said. “This isn’t my first tour. You get to see dif­fer­ent cit­ies throughout the coun­try. Audi­ences in their own way ap­pre­ci­ate the show. It’s an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney every single night.”

Geaves is mak­ing her second ap­pear­ance in Phil­adelphia. She re­calls be­ing in town for a 1998 pro­duc­tion of Rent.

Right now, she is in Clev­e­land as Porgy and Bess is at Palace Theatre for two weeks.

The show is set in South Car­o­lina in the 1930s in Char­le­ston’s Cat­fish Row. It’s a love story cen­ter­ing on the char­ac­ters of Porgy (played by Nath­aniel Stampley) and Bess (Alicia Hall Mor­an).

Greaves is a Har­lem nat­ive who still lives in New York, so she is look­ing for­ward to get­ting home for a short peri­od of time and wel­com­ing fam­ily and friends to see her per­form at the Academy of Mu­sic.

Fans will en­joy the dia­logue, storytelling and the 23-piece or­ches­tra, she said. The live mu­sic will be a blend of op­era, jazz and pop­u­lar clas­sics.

“The mu­sic is ex­tremely spe­cial,” Greaves said. “It’s an icon­ic op­era with hugely icon­ic songs. People will be sur­prised how many beau­ti­ful songs they know. It’s one of my fa­vor­ite parts of be­ing a part of this pro­duc­tion.”

Greaves, who wears a gray wig to play the older char­ac­ter of Mari­ah, said the cos­tumes are not ex­tra­vag­ant, but non­ethe­less spe­cial.

“The cos­tumes are col­or­ful and beau­ti­ful,” she said. “When you see them, you think the 1930s. They im­me­di­ately set you in the en­vir­on­ment.”

Porgy and Bess will play at the Academy of Mu­sic, at Broad and Lo­cust streets, on Feb. 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 22 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Feb. 23 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.

“Any­one who comes to the show will love it,” Greaves said. “I know I do.” ••

For tick­ets or more in­form­a­tion, call 215-731-3333 or vis­it kim­mel­cen­ter.org/broad­way 

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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