The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin

Live Opera is BACK!

Live, on stage, at the Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park.

Enjoy the masterful music of George Gershwin, sung by a stellar cast, and featuring the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra – LIVE OPERA IS BACK!

A MESSAGE TO SPRING 2021 SUBSCRIBERS: You should have received a letter and an email regarding your tickets to this concert. If you did not, or you have questions, please call the Box Office at (504) 529-3000 or send an email to



This photo is from the New Orleans Opera Archives and features Chauncey Packer as Sportin’ Life.

Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1 @ 7:30 pm


It’s a rare event, indeed, when an arts organization announces a concert that is already sold out. But, we are all aware of the many “rare events” that have happened almost daily during the pandemic. New Orleans Opera is so very proud and thankful that we are able to continue the grand tradition of opera in our city – rarities and all – for this semi-staged production of Porgy and Bess.

This concert not only closes the 2020-2021 season; it also brings with it a new beginning: Live opera is back!

Last summer when we announced the season, we felt certain we would be back in the Mahalia Jackson Theater by this time with our sets and costumes, and we were comforted by the preparations for just that scenario. A very large portion of our Season Subscribers were, too. Their quick response of support, combined with the COVID-19 audience size restrictions currently in place, are reasons our year-end production sold out so quickly.

To those of you wishing you could attend, stay tuned: more opera is coming soon! And, to our current subscribers, thank you. We’ll see you in person at Audubon Park!

The Cast

Kenneth Overton


Kearstin Piper Brown


Chauncey Packer

Sportin’ Life

Donovan Singletary


Angela Brown


Reginald Smith, Jr.


Imani Sarai Francis


Danielle Edinburgh Wilson


Gary Lee Randall


The Crew

Robert Lyall

Artistic Director and Conductor

Technical Director, Keith Christopher
Lighting Designer, Mandi Wood
Production Manager, Sarah McCall
Costumer, Julie Winn
Stage Manager, Emily Barber
Properties Mistress, Olivia Winter
Scenic Painter, Nathan Arthur
Sound Designers, Propaganda Group, Inc.
Rehearsal Pianist, Blair Salter
Supertitles Prompter, Beth Rota
COVID Compliance Officer, India Mack

The singers and staging personnel on this production appear through the courtesy of the American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO.

Featuring the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Kurt Munstedt – Zorica Dimova
Hannah Urdea
Byron Tauchi – Yaroslav Rudnytsky
Gabrielle Fischler
Bruce Owen – Catherine Matushek
Ila Rondeau
Jonathan Gerhardt – Rachel Hsieh
Kent Jensen
William Schettler – Paul Macres
Patti Adams
Sarah Schettler
Jane Gabka
Daniel Parrette
John Reeks
Michael Matushek
Mollie Pate
Jamie Leff
Vance Woolf
Craig Heinzen
Matthew Wright
William Hess
Jim Atwood
Dave Salay

H. Lloyd Hawkins Scenic Studio 
Technical Director – Keith Christopher 
Properties Mistress – Olivia Winter
Painter — Nathan Arthur
Carpenter – Keith Tujague

IATSE Local #39

President – Keith Christopher

Business Manager – Alan Arthur

Lighting Designer – Mandi Wood

Head Electric — Neil Ingles

Head Carpenter – William Borne

Head Properties — Amber Wolf

Head Audio — Joseph Barocco

Audio Assistant — Glenn Gandolini

IATSE Local #840 

Theatrical Wardrobe Union 

President – Shannon Muhleisen 

Secretary/Treasurer – Lesly Davi 

Business Agent – Bonnie Haase 

Wardrobe – Stephanie Kuhn  

Nuts and Bolts

A Pre-Show Lecture now on YouTube

In this Nuts and Bolts, Dr. Sakinah Davis of Xavier University discusses the history, music, and controversy of Gershwin’s barrier-breaking opera, Porgy and Bess. Dr. Davis’ presentation focuses on the real-life community that inspired George Gershwin and DuBose Hayword: the Gullah, a distinctive group of Black Americans from South Carolina and Georgia in the southeastern United States. Acknowledging both the celebratory and controversial aspects of this masterwork, Dr. Davis digs into the various ways that Gullah rhythms, traditions, and even specific community members appear in the opera. She also raises questions about the future of Porgy and Bess, pointing to the Spoleto 2016 production designed by Jonathan Green, an artist born and raised in a Gullah community.

PORGY AND BESS is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC.

About Newman Bandstand

Newman Bandstand, Photo Credit: Digital Roux Photography, LLC

The land that is now Audubon Park was acquired by the New Orleans Park Commission in 1871 and became known as “Upper City Park.” It was not until 1884, when chosen as the site for the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, that the Park received much-needed attention and appreciation.
Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park has been a central fixture in the social life of New Orleanians since the 1920s. The bandstand was named after Isidore Newman to honor his yearly donations to finance free concerts in the Park. The bandstand is a commanding presence at the edge of a lagoon. It suits both large and small gatherings, it is popular for weddings and parties, and it is used as a staging area for fundraising walks and runs. It has also hosted groups ranging from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to elementary school choirs and was prominently featured in the Academy Award-winning movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Click here for a Park Map.

The worldwide copyrights in the music of George and Ira Gershwin for this presentation are licensed by the Gershwin Family. GERSHWIN is a registered trademark and service mark of Gershwin Enterprises. PORGY AND BESS is a registered trademark and service mark of Porgy and Bess Enterprises.