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Porgy and Bess, 1977 Tony Award-winning Houston Grand Opera production of George Gershwin's masterpiece was designated the official Opera of the State by the General Assembly by Act 94, 2001, it was adopted on August 29, 2001.
This timeless American opera was adapted from the 1925 novel Porgy, set in Cabbage Row across from his house on Church Street (changed to Catfish Row in the book). Based on a newspaper account a disabled man's escape from police after assaulting a woman, Dubose Heyward and his wife Dorothy first dramatized the novel in 1927. The play ran for 367 performances to enthusiastic audiences. Among those interested in the production was famed composer George Gershwin. After years of correspondence with the author, George and his brother Ira in 1934 joined Heyward in Charleston to research and write Porgy and Bess, the first American opera, including its famous song "Summertime." The first cast included Todd Duncan, Anne Brown, John W. Bubbles and the Eva Jessye Choir. Years of successful touring inspired the 1959 motion picture version of the same name.
(A94, R143, H4015)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-1-693 SO AS TO DESIGNATE PORGY AND BESS AS THE OFFICIAL OPERA OF THIS STATE AND TO PROVIDE THAT COPYRIGHTED OR PROPRIETARY MATERIAL FROM PORGY AND BESS MAY NOT BE USED WITHOUT CERTAIN WRITTEN PERMISSION; AND TO ADD SECTION 1-1-677 SO AS TO DESIGNATE INDIAN GRASS (SORGHASTRUM NUTANS) AS THE OFFICIAL GRASS OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AND TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN LIMITATIONS ON THIS DESIGNATION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Porgy and Bess as official state opera; limitation on use
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 1-1-693. Porgy and Bess is designated as the official opera of this State. The State and any of its agencies, departments, or political subdivisions may not use any copyrighted or proprietary material from Porgy and Bess without the express written permission from the estates of Dubose Heyward, George Gershwin, and Ira Gershwin or the management company responsible for licensing productions of this opera in part or in its entirety."
Indian Grass official state grass; limitation on designation
SECTION 2. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 1-1-677. Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans, is designated as the official grass of the State. In making this designation, the General Assembly makes no warranty or endorsement of Indian Grass as a commercial product, but recognizes Indian Grass as a native, nonnoxious plant, with a historical, continuing, widespread, and beneficial existence in South Carolina."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 7th day of June, 2001.
Approved the 29th day of August, 2001.
The law designating the Porgy and Bess as the official South Carolina state opera is found in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 9, Section 1-1-693.
Title 1 - Administration of the Government
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 9. STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES
SECTION 1-1-693. Official State opera.
Porgy and Bess is designated as the official opera of this State. The State and any of its agencies, departments, or political subdivisions may not use any copyrighted or proprietary material from Porgy and Bess without the express written permission from the estates of Dubose Heyward, George Gershwin, and Ira Gershwin or the management company responsible for licensing productions of this opera in part or in its entirety.
HISTORY: 2001 Act No. 94, Section 1.