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Southern Spirit

Spend the evening in South Carolina, with Porgy and Bess.


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Original Broadway Cast of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess/ Photo by Michael J. Lutch

 

The Menu
Porgy and Bess is set in the South—specifically, Charleston, South Carolina. Here are five dishes to get you in the mood for the show.

Boudin Broiled Oysters
Oysters are bountiful off the coast of Charleston, and Picán serves them broiled with Carolina rice–stuffed boudin sausage. Picán, Oakland, (510) 834-1000, picanrestaurant.com.

Crispy Cornmeal Catfish
A no-brainer: Porgy and Bess is set in fictional Catfish Row. Farmerbrown, San Francisco, (415) 409-3276, farmerbrownsf.com.

Fried Chicken
OK, it’s not specific to the Southeast, but c’mon, it’s fried chicken. And this buttermilk-soaked version is one of the best around. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, Berkeley, (510) 548-6900, angelineskitchen.com.

Fried Gator
Fried alligator is common from Louisiana to Key West to the Carolinas. Boxing Room, San Francisco, (415) 430-6590, boxingroomsf.com.

Rabbit Brunswick Stew
This rich tomato-based stew has origins in the Southeast, where it is often cooked with squirrel. Hutch Bar & Kitchen, Oakland, (510) 419-0622, hutchoakland.com.

For Oakland native Roosevelt André Credit and the rest of the Porgy and Bess cast, the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad press was put to the test. Before anyone had even sung a line in the musical adaptation, The New York Times printed a letter from Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim criticizing the show for altering too much of the production’s original opera format.

“We were all a little shocked,” says Credit (pictured above, at far right), who plays a supporting role as Fisherman. “But after that letter came out, we pretty much sold out the first two weeks. You couldn’t find a ticket!”

More importantly, he says, the media spotlight motivated the cast to produce a better show, which went on to a successful run on Broadway, ultimately winning a Tony Award for best musical revival. And now, this love story depicting African-American life in 1920s Charleston, South Carolina, is debuting at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre on November 10, the first stop on a national tour.

For Credit, a Skyline High grad who grew up singing in youth choirs across Oakland, returning to his old stomping grounds as the member of a hit show is about as sweet as it gets. “I just couldn’t believe it when they said we were coming to San Francisco,” he says. “We’ve worked so hard on this; it’s something we’re really proud of.”

For information on Porgy and Bess, go to shnsf.com.

 

 

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