A Fine Bess

The Beck Center opens with its most ambitious piece yet.

There's a good reason why Porgy and Bess isn't staged as often as other 20th-century theater classics. "It's such a gargantuan effort," says Scott Spense, who directs the Beck Center's production of the George Gershwin musical, which opens tonight.

The musical's setting is in a black fishing village, where the notorious Bess hooks up with the handicapped Porgy after her murderous beau skips town. Not only do the townsfolk frown on the relationship, but Bess' jealous man returns.

Porgy and Bess is one of the most ambitious plays ever produced at the Beck Center (which celebrates its 75th anniversary this season). The production includes a huge cast, a 27-piece orchestra, and an extensive set. "We're always looking for something to stir things up and stretch us," Spense says. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us."
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Sept. 15. Continues through Oct. 8