Porgy, a Play about the Gullah Culture: A Neglected Masterpiece in the History of the American Theater

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"To declare that Porgy, a play that has received only limited attention from critics and scholars, is one of the great works of American musical theater may seem hyperbolic. The following chapters, however, will present evidence supporting that contention. The book begins with an overview of the history of the people who came to reside in what became known as South Carolina. Emphasis is given to the Gullah, an African-American community that emerged during slavery. The early life of Dubose Heyward, the author of the novella upon which the play is based, is examined in some detail because his knowledge of the Gullah people was crucial to the development of the characters in the play. A synopsis of the play follows, then a chapter on Rouben Mamoulian, the play's director. ...Chapters on the play's critical reception and its legacy conclude this study." -George Harwood Phillips ("Preface")

Table of Contents

1. The People
2. The Authors
3. The Play
4. The Director
5. The Production
6. The Reception
7. The Legacy