Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

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Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

Post  pinhedz on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:08 am

Gershwin originally wrote the part to be played by Cab Calloway--who was paler than most of the people around him:




In the book, Mariah calls Sportin' life a "yellow [n-word]."

But Cab was not available for the Broadway opening, so Gershwin gave the part to Charlie Bubbles:


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Re: Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

Post  pinhedz on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:08 am

Sportin' life sells something he calls "happy dust."


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Re: Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

Post  pinhedz on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:10 am

He reminds me of a character in Scott Joplin's much earlier opera "Treemonisha" (set in 1884).

This character sells something he calls "goofer dust:"


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Re: Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

Post  pinhedz on Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:17 am

I've often wondered if Gershwin was familiar with Joplin's "Treemonisha."

It was performed in a read-through at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem in 1915, with Joplin at the piano.

Gershwin would have been 17 then, and he liked messing around the Harlem clubs and theaters. Suspect

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Re: Charlie Bubbles was the first ever to play Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"

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