Fleetwood-Jourdain's Porgy and Bess | Bleader

Fleetwood-Jourdain's Porgy and Bess

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Although the Bess is in over her head and the "Summertime"'s not so good-soundin', there are still plenty of reasons to get yourself to Evanston for Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre’s concert version of Porgy and Bess. This is a streamlined (87 minutes), intimate, yet fully staged production of the classic 1935 folk opera by the Gershwin brothers and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward--complete with set, costumes, and live keyboard accompaniment. A hugely ambitious undertaking for a community theater, it's beautifully directed by Ebony Joy, with music direction by June Smith and vocal direction by Vernon Clark. There are terrific performances by Kiel Williams as Porgy, Frederick Harris as Jake, Steven F. McClain as Crown and Varris Holmes as Sportin’ Life. Wanda Scott renders a gorgeous “My Man’s Gone Now,” and, as Maria, Tina L. Brown belts out a show-stopping “Struttin’ Style.” Evanston high-schooler Jordan A. Harris, double cast as Peter and Honeyman, is clearly a talent to watch. The ensemble singing is a joy. Lyric Opera, with its megabudget, will do a full-out production next season; until then, don’t expect perfection, but don’t miss this. Through July 6: Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM, theater, Noyes Cultural Arts Center , 927 Noyes, Evanston, 847-448-8260, $7-$15. 

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