Edwin DuBose Heyward (August 31, 1885 – June 16, 1940)was an American author best known for his 1925 novel Porgy . He and his wife Dorothy, a playwright, adapted it as a 1927 play of the same name. The couple worked with composer George Gershwin to adapt the work as the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess . It was later adapted as a 1959 film of the same name.
Heyward also wrote poetry and other novels and plays. He wrote the children's book The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (1939).
Heyward was born in 1885 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a descendant of Judge Thomas Heyward, Jr., a South Carolinian signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and his wife, who were of the planter elite.
As a child and young man, Heyward was frequently ill. He contracted polio when he was 18. Two years later he contracted typhoid fever, and the following year fell ill with pleurisy. He described himself as "a miserable student" who was uninterested in learning, and dropped out of high school in his first year at age fourteen, but he had a lifelong and serious interest in literature. While confined to his sickbed, he wrote numerous verses and stories.
In 1913 Heyward wrote a one-act play, An Artistic Triumph, which was produced in a local theater. Although described as a derivative work that reportedly showed little promise, Heyward was encouraged enough to pursue a literary career. In 1917, while convalescing, he began to work seriously at fiction and poetry. In 1918 he published his first short story, "The Brute," in Pagan, a Magazine for Eudaemonists .
The next year, he met Hervey Allen, who was teaching at the nearby Porter Military Academy. They became close friends and formed the Poetry Society of South Carolina. It helped spark a revival of southern literature. Heyward edited the society's yearbooks until 1924 and contributed much of their content. His poetry was well received, earning him a "Contemporary Verse" award in 1921.
In 1922 he and Allen jointly published a collection, Carolina Chansons: Legends of the Low Country. They jointly edited an issue of Poetry magazine featuring Southern writers. During this period Heyward and his friend Henry T. O'Neill together operated a successful insurance and real estate company.
Heyward met his wife Dorothy when they were both at the MacDowell Colony in 1922. After they married, they lived for many years in Charleston. Their only child, Jenifer DuBose Heyward, was born in 1930 in New York City. She became a sculptor, actress and dancer, a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She married Judson Wood Jr., and died in 1984.
By 1924, Heyward had achieved a measure of financial independence, allowing him to give up business and devote himself full-time to literature. That year he published his first poetry collection, Jasbo Brown and Other Poems (1924). Between stints of writing, he supplemented his income by lecturing on southern literature at colleges and the Porter Military Academy.
In 1925 he published his novel Porgy , set in the black community of Charleston, which had many Gullah people. Given the positive reception for the book, he and Dorothy, a playwright, adapted it as a dramatic play. While working on that adaptation, he was approached by composer George Gershwin, who proposed collaborating on an opera of the material.
His and Dorothy's play Porgy opened on Broadway in 1927, and it was a considerable success, running for 367 performances.
Describing Heyward's achievement in Porgy, the African-American poet and playwright Langston Hughes said Heyward was one who saw "with his white eyes, wonderful, poetic qualities in the inhabitants of Catfish Row that makes them come alive." [ citation needed ]Heyward's biographer James M. Hutchisson characterized Porgy as "the first major southern novel to portray blacks without condescension" and said that the libretto to Porgy and Bess was largely Heyward's work. Critics have described Heyward as sympathetic in his portrayal of the Southern blacks in his work. Others, however, have noted that the characters in Porgy, though viewed sympathetically, are described in stereotypical ways.
For the opera Porgy and Bess, both Heyward and Ira Gershwin, the composer's brother and regular partner, worked on the lyrics. Heyward did not get much credit for that work. In his introduction to the section on DuBose Heyward in Invisible Giants: Fifty Americans Who Shaped the Nation But Missed the History Books (2003), Stephen Sondheim wrote:
DuBose Heyward has gone largely unrecognized as the author of the finest set of lyrics in the history of the American musical theater – namely, those of 'Porgy and Bess'. There are two reasons for this, and they are connected. First, he was primarily a poet and novelist, and his only song lyrics were those that he wrote for Porgy. Second, some of them were written in collaboration with Ira Gershwin, a full-time lyricist, whose reputation in the musical theater was firmly established before the opera was written. But most of the lyrics in Porgy – and all of the distinguished ones – are by Heyward. I admire his theater songs for their deeply felt poetic style and their insight into character. It's a pity he didn't write any others. His work is sung, but he is unsung.
The Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess was produced in 1935, featuring top African-American singers and chorus. Large sections of dialogue from the play were set to music for the recitatives in the opera. Although it had limited success when first produced, it has since had numerous successful revivals, toured Europe, North America, and other continents, and been recognized as an American operatic masterpiece.
Heyward continued to explore black Charleston with another novel set in Catfish Row, Mamba's Daughters (1929). He and Dorothy also adapted this as a play.
Heyward wrote the play Brass Ankle , produced in 1931 in New York. The title refers to a Southern term for a person of mixed-race ancestry, and was long used in a pejorative way. The play addressed issues of mixed-race, featuring a couple in a small southern town who have grown up believing they were white and learning about some African-American ancestry. Reviewers treated his play favorably as a version of the "tragic mulatto" genre, but it was not a commercial success.
He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play The Emperor Jones (1933). Heyward wrote a children's book, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (1939), which was quite popular.
His novella Star Spangled Virgin (1939) was set in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. It deals with the domestic life of Adam Work and his woman Rhoda. It was described as "singularly charming and very original", covering their and friends' interpretations of "the relations of men and women".
Heyward died from a heart attack in June 1940,at the age of 54, in Tryon, North Carolina.
Porgy is a novel written by the American author DuBose Heyward and published by the George H. Doran Company in 1925.
Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin. It was adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward's play Porgy, itself an adaptation of DuBose Heyward's 1925 novel of the same name.
Thomas Heyward Jr. was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a delegate of South Carolina.
Anne Brown was an American soprano who created the role of "Bess" in the original production of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess in 1935. She was also a radio and concert singer. She settled in Norway in 1948 and later became a Norwegian citizen.
"Summertime" is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.
Dorothy Heyward was an American playwright.
Porgy and Bess is a 1959 American musical film directed by Otto Preminger. It is based on the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, which is in turn based on Heyward's 1925 novel Porgy, as well as Heyward's subsequent 1927 non-musical stage adaptation, co-written with his wife Dorothy. The screenplay for the film, which turned the operatic recitatives into spoken dialogue, was very closely based on the opera and was written by N. Richard Nash.
Jazbo Brown was, according to legend, a black delta blues musician from around the turn of the 20th century.
Mamba's Daughters (ISBN 1570030421) is a 1929 book authored by DuBose Heyward and published by the University of South Carolina Press. The book is set in the early 20th century, following three different families in scenes of deception and social transformation. The book also explores racial boundaries during that period of the 20th century. The book received positive reviews, with the Georgia Historical Quarterly commenting that it provided "a unique perspective not only of Charleston's racial tensions, but also of the unique subculture shared by Charleston's elite whites and poorer blacks".
"My Man's Gone Now" is an aria composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by DuBose Heyward, written for the opera Porgy and Bess (1935).
The Dubose Heyward House is a historic house at 76 Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Now a wing of a larger house, this modest two-story structure was the home from 1919 to 1924 of author Dubose Heyward (1885–1940), author of Porgy, one of the first works to portray Southern African-Americans in a positive light. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
Porgy and Bess is a 1976 album by pianist Oscar Peterson and guitarist Joe Pass featuring music from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess. This is the only album on which Peterson plays the clavichord.
Porgy & Bess is a 1997 album by jazz saxophonist Joe Henderson, released on Verve Records. It contains Henderson's arrangements of music from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
Porgy and Bess is an album by Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, released by RCA Victor in 1959. It features songs from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess. Belafonte and Horne sing two songs together: "There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now". The album was re-issued on a 2-CD set in 2003 together with Jamaica by BMG Collectables in Stereo.
As it has with every aspect of Charleston, South Carolina culture, the Gullah community has had a tremendous influence on Music in Charleston, especially when it comes to the early development of jazz music. In turn, the music of Charleston has had an influence on that of the rest of the country. The geechee dances that accompanied the music of the dock workers in Charleston followed a rhythm that inspired Eubie Blake's "Charleston Rag" and soon later James P. Johnson's "The Charleston", as well as the dance craze that defined a nation in the 1920s. "Ballin' the Jack", which was the popular dance in the years before "The Charleston", was written by native Charlestonian Chris Smith.
Porgy: A Play in Four Acts is a play by Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward, adapted from the short novel by DuBose Heyward. It was first produced by the Theatre Guild and presented October 10, 1927 – August 1928 at the Guild Theatre in New York City. Featuring a cast of African Americans at the insistence of its authors—a decision unusual for its time—the original production starred Frank Wilson, Evelyn Ellis, Jack Carter, and Rose McClendon. Porgy marked the Broadway directing debut of Rouben Mamoulian. The play ran a total of 55 weeks in New York, and the original cast toured the United States twice and performed for 11 consecutive weeks in London.
"I Got Plenty o' Nuttin' " is a song composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 "folk-opera" Porgy and Bess (1934). The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, and Ira Gershwin. It is one of the most famous songs from the opera and it has been recorded by hundreds of singers and music groups.
The Charleston Renaissance is a period between World Wars I and II in which the city of Charleston, South Carolina, experienced a boom in the arts as artists, writers, architects, and historical preservationists came together to improve and represent their city. The Charleston Renaissance was related to the larger interwar artistic movement known as the Southern Renaissance and is credited with helping to spur the city's tourist industry.
Cabbage Row is a set of pre-Revolutionary buildings at 89 and 91 Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The buildings are most notable for having been the inspiration for "Catfish Row" in the DuBose Heyward novel Porgy and later the opera Porgy and Bess by Gershwin. DuBose Heyward had lived nearby on Church Street.
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