Porgy and Bess Pre-Show Cocktails – Speed Dating

In anticipation of an upcoming Drama Talk & Drinks review of Porgy and Bess, Katie and Brittany got to chat with the cast and crew, here’s their report:


When we got invited to a pre-show event for Porgy and Bess, opening at SHN’s Golden Gate Theater, we weren’t sure what to expect. We were, however, told there would be free drinks, so of course we went. This special event for SHN subscribers and Press, featured a talk from the Director and one of the show’s producers, as well as a sneak peek behind the scenes of a tech rehearsal. For press it also featured a speed-dating-like round robin of interviews with the Cast and Creatives. Crammed into our little post-it assigned space in the back of the theater against the wall between “Fashionista Lab” and “The Bold Italic”, we had 5 minutes with each interviewee to get the important questions answered. We were pretty nervous, since this is not the kind of thing we usually do, but we are always down for potentially humiliating and awkward yet interesting situations. So we prepped like any speed dater would, and rehearsed our 3 burning questions to get the conversation started: Why are they excited to be in our great city? What’s it like to work on Gershwin’s iconic American folk opera? And why should people come see it?

After some drama talk and drinks here are the highlights from our dates.

Interview date #1: ESosa (Costume Designer who was featured on Project Runway Season 7)

On SF: What I like about SF, coming from New York, is that it’s a walkable city and I love to walk. And the food here is amazing!

On The Show: As a designer I like to work on new things so Porgy and Bess is the first revival I’ve ever worked on. For me theatre design and fashion design are two sides of the same coin and I approach it the same way. I want to make my characters look good, feel good, and be able to tell their story.

Interview date #2: Roosevelt Andre Credit (Fisherman)

On SF: I was born and raised in Oakland and went to Skyline High School. I now live in New York, so I’m excited to be back in the Bay.

On the show: What Diane Paulus (the Director) did was take the opera, which is four and a half hours, and made it short enough to go on Broadway, because you have to have a show in three hours or less. We really wanted to focus in on the story and this story definitely translates to today.

Interview date #3: Kent Overshown (Mingo, the Undertaker, u/s Porgy)

On SF: I grew up in Oakland but I moved to New York 3 years ago but I wish I was still here honestly. I’m not a fan, but it’s where the business is most lucrative, but there is nothing like the Bay Area.

On the show: Unlike most theatre this isn’t about the spectacle, it’s not about this grandiose thing. It’s not above life, it is life. It’s about community. How we communicate with each other, how we struggle together and the challenges we face together. How we celebrate together as well. I think it’s an important story because people feel alienated by the theater especially young people but this is our story and they need to see it.

Interview date #4: Nathaniel Stampley (Porgy)

On SF: This is my first time here. I’m loving San Fran already [Ed. Note: Oops.], I was so excited to hear we were opening the show here. There is so much history and culture here, it’s such a great city.

On the Show: I think the biggest thing about this production is we are introducing this show to a younger audience and I think it’s in a way that they’re going to absolutely love. It’s two and a half hours. I think any night you are listening to Gershwin is a good night. If you have ears and you are alive you are going to love this show.


The Verdict: Our speed-dating-like round robin of interviews was fun but (let’s be honest) stressful. If we had to chose our favorite date Brittany would chose Kent, because who can say no to that deep seeded Bay Area love and Katie was all about ESosa because he’s into the amazing San Francisco food just as much as she is.

The Drama Talk: Based on the very little we saw of the tech-rehearsal, and our conversations with the actors, it sounds like this is a very fresh and real take on this beautiful show. We’re excited to see it and report back to you soon.

The Drinks: SHN knows how to treat their subscribers right. Open bar before a sneak peek tech-rehearsal? Yes please!

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