Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story


Edited By: Harlan Greene

ISBN: 978-1-6307503-2-9
10×10, 80 pages, paper

Available June 1

The opera Porgy and Bess has been acclaimed throughout the world, but it has always been, at heart, a story of Charleston, South Carolina. The Holy City was the inspiration for the music, the sets, and the relationships that have thrilled audiences since 1935.

Now, led by Porgy and Bess scholar Harlan Greene, many aspects of the book, play, and opera and their roots in Lowcountry South Carolina are explored by local and national experts.

Porgy & Bess: A Charleston Story provides insight not only into one of America’s greatest operas but also into, as DuBose Heyward called Charleston, the “ancient, beautiful city that time had forgotten.”

This volume was prepared to coincide with—and enhance—Porgy and Bess performances sponsored by Spoleto Festival USA in 2016 and an exhibition of opera-related artwork at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.

The book contains seven essays:

  • Harlan Greene: “An Always Thing”: Charleston and Porgy and Bess
  • Damon L. Fordham: Samuel Smalls: The Man Who Inspired Porgy
  • Karen A. Chandler: Prelude to Gershwin: Edmund Thornton Jenkins
  • Harlan Greene: Picturing Porgy
  • Harlan Greene: Porgy and Prejudice
  • Pamela S. Wall: Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess
  • Jennifer Scott: A New Porgy and Bess for Charleston

Introduction by Nigel Redden, general director of Spoleto Festival USA