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The Boston Globe

Arts

Stage Review

On Broadway, a ‘Porgy’ with Bess at its core

Audra McDonald captivates in Paulus-directed musical

NEW YORK - Now that the far-from-happy dust has settled from Stephen Sondheim’s preemptive broadside, now that the American Repertory Theater production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess’’ has finally arrived on Broadway, it can be seen, and gloriously heard, for what it is: a fully realized work that pays homage to a classic while infusing it with new, thrilling life.

As in the premiere last summer at the ART’s Loeb Drama Center, Audra McDonald’s mesmerizing portrayal of Bess stands at the center of this musical-theater adaptation of the 1935 opera. Substantially though not entirely the same production that audiences saw in Cambridge, it opened Thursday night at the Richard Rodgers Theatre under the direction of Diane Paulus, costarring Norm Lewis as Porgy, the crippled beggar who nurtures an unconditional love for the drug-addicted Bess.

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