'Fisherman' from Catfish Row on The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Mar 14, 2014

The Gerswhins' Porgy and Bess continues on stage at Shea's Performing Arts Center Friday evening. A Western New Yorker is debuting in the first national tour of the show. WBFO's Eileen Buckley had a chance to meet with that cast member.

Tenor Tamar Greene has appeared in operas. Greene is a Rochester native who studied at the Eastman School of Music. He is portraying the role of The Fisherman in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and says he is thrilled the tour stopped in Buffalo, near his hometown.

In a WBFO News interview, Greene discussed the musical performance.

Tamar Greene of Rochester is a tenor touring with The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Greene appeared in our WBFO studio.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"People just love hearing the familiar tunes.  So a lot of the music is very similar," said Greene.

The story of Porgy and Bess is about the life of American Americans living the 1920s in a fictitious place called 'Catfish Row'.

"It's based in South Carolina in Catfish Row. It’s really a story about a community and how we work together. You can see all different people of any community you grow up in this story," noted Greene.

"We have a bully (Crown). Then you have Bess. Bess and Crown have this kind of toxic relationship. But they're still together. And the Porgy and Bess come together, and it’s more of a natural love and that's why Bess falls in love with Porgy," he adds.

Greene says the story delivers a "sense of community" with a love triangle happening.

Porgy and Bess was first performed in 1935 as an American opera. But at one time in history the story of Porgy and Bess was considered by some as a 'racist' portrayal of the African Americans as racists.

Greene disagrees.

"No, I don't find it to be racist. Again, it is a story about a community," said Greene. 

Greene’s said favorite part of the musical is the beginning of show. 

"I love how it begins just like gangbusters." There’s lots of fun in the beginning," said Greene. "We have a lot of fun."

The actors in this tour are performing eight shows a week. The Gerswhins' Porgy and Bess on stage at Shea's through this Sunday, March 16.

Greene is thrilled to be performing in Buffalo and at Shea's. 

"Shea's is just beautiful.  It is one of the most beautiful houses we've ever have played. I think it is actually is the biggest we've ever played. And that house was packed on opening night. You can hear and feel the audience everywhere. I think it is just brilliant. I love it," said Greene.