Gershwin, George. (1898 - 1937) & Brown, Anne. (1912 - 2009)
Autograph Signatures from 1936 Porgy & Bess Production
Bold autograph signature in pencil "George Gershwin" on an album sheet, dated 1936 at the left in another hand, together with a second signature from the same album and apparently same occasion, being that of Anne Brown (signed "Anne Brown / 'Bess' / 'Porgy and Bess'"), creator of the role of Bess.
Porgy and Bess was first performed at the Colonial Theater in Boston on September 30th 1935. It opened in New York at the Alvin Theater on October 10th of that same year, starring Anne Brown as Bess and Todd Duncan as Porgy. The work includes a number of Gershwin's best-known and loved tunes, including Summertime and I Got Plenty o' Nuttin, both of which were among the pieces performed here. After the Broadway run, a tour started on January 27, 1936, in Philadelphia and traveled to Pittsburgh and Chicago before ending in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 1936. During the Washington run, the cast—as led by Todd Duncan—protested segregation at the National Theatre. Eventually management gave in to the demands, resulting in the first integrated audience for a performance of any show at that venue. Given the dating of the Gershwin signature, we understand that these were both obtained during that historic run of the performance.