Read more on "BOSTON Regional Reviews by Nancy Grossman The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess American Repertory Theater" »
“Like a human hurricane, the menacing Crown (Phillip Boykin) arrives to join the game, accompanied by his moll Bess.”
“Boykin is a one-man low pressure system, allowing Crown’s presence to suck the air out of the room. He has sung the role in numerous operatic productions of Porgy and Bess, and his strong performance is informed by that experience. He is both intimidating and magnetic, making Bess’ attraction to him understandable.”
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In Phillip Boykin this production has the best possible Crown. From his first moment on stage he was terrifying and menacing. His strong physical presence was enforced by a deeply resonant voice of operatic quality. Boykin embodies the rarest of assets, superb acting, combined with a boomingly powerful voice.
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The impressive Phillip Boykin is powerfully threatening as Bess’s murderous lover, Crown, but there’s no sexual allure in his characterization—he is all brute.
Read more on "Bloomberg/Harvard’s ‘Porgy’ Brings McDonald Back To N.Y.: Jeremy Gerard" »
McDonald and Lewis don’t carry the show alone. David Alan Grier’s vampy Sporting Life and Phillip Boykin’s vicious Crown are both beautifully sung.
Read more on "The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess by Robert Nesti" »
Phillip Boykin, surprisingly nuanced as the villainous Crown. He is electrifying in his second act confrontation with Bess where the two face-off – she challenges him in song (“What You Want With Bess?”), only to give in when he lifts her in a carnal position that Porgy could never duplicate, underscoring the differences between the two men and Bess’s conflicted nature.
Read more on "A CurtainUp Review The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess By Lawrence Switsky" »
“Philip Boykin’s Crown, happily, does not succumb quite so easily. He is unapologetically operatic, and is allowed the full play of his heavy villain brutality. He exudes animal magnetism. His misogynistic rant against Bess’s alleged conversion to respectability, “A Red Headed Woman,” is terrifying and a great deal of fun, a jack-o-lantern who dares us to laugh at his contrived grimaces. He’s perfectly cast against Mr. Lewis, as a kind of ironic counter-foil to the sincerity of Porgy and the actor who portrays him.”
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Phillip Boykin (Crown) is a massive, resonant and convincing brute.
Read more on "“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” at the A.R.T. By Jason Rabin" »
“Crown, played charismatically by hulking bass, Philip Boykin, is in many ways a stock villain, yet toward the end of the play, he’s actually given a Calvinist moral argument to explain his behavior. For him, the facts that he’s on the top of the Catfish Row heap and that he’s survived his many risks in life, prove that he’s blessed. He calls God his “big friend” and believes that he’s secured a divine endorsement to take what he wants. In the world of the play, it’s pretty clear that Crown is wrong, but it’s also poignant that his Catfish Row compatriots, who openly root against him, also lament his downfall.”
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“Still, David Alan Grier is perfection as the dealer/pimp – more cool cat than evil seducer. That job falls to Bess’ bully of a boyfriend (commanding Phillip Boykin, with a voice like thunder). Their transgressive embrace – once Bess has committed herself to the safe harbor offered by Porgy – is a murky blend of capitulation (i.e., rape) and mutual opportunism.”
Read more on "WickedLocalArts By Alexander Stevens" »
“The sinister element lurking on the fringe is drug dealer Sporting Life (Grier), or worse, the imposing Crown (a compelling Phillip Boykin), a crime boss and a tinderbox that could go off at any moment.”