Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ouch, Sondheim Says Don't Mess with a Classic

I am heading up to Boston later this month for a long weekend and have been going back and forth about whether I should see the "re imagined" production of Porgy and Bess which begins previews tomorrow at The American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge. Since it is "re imagined" and will be coming to Broadway eventually, there was no great urgency on my part to spend one of my precious Boston evenings to see this production right now.

However, when I noticed Stephen Sondheim's letter in the NY Times, I had to sit back down at my desk and read it. Ouch, Mr. Sondheim really takes issue with the changes that Diane Paulus and Suzan Lori-Parks are making to this American classic (which is already controversial for its portrayal of African-Americans). I am not against re-imagining any classic. However, the updated version has to be clever and yes, superior to the original. If not, why bother; it simply falls flat. 

After all the controversy, I decided that I should see this production starring the talented Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis and witness first hand the journey from Cambridge to Broadway. Unfortunately, tickets are now sold out for all the days that I will be in Boston. I guess controversial press is good for ticket sales.

Stay tuned. I will be watching the journey from the sidelines.

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