In addition to several works of her own, she co-authored the play Porgy (1927) with her husband DuBose Heyward, adapting it from his novel by the same name. Their work is now known best in its adaptation as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935), with music by George Gershwin.
When her husband was writing his novel Porgy, Dorothy Heyward saw dramatic possibilities in the story. She convinced him that it would work as a play. They collaborated to adapt it to the stage. The 1927 Theatre Guild production ran for 367 performances.
Their play was later adapted as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935), with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by DuBose Heyward. This was adapted as a film by the same name in 1959.