Leave Porgy alone!

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus, and Obie Award-winning composer Diedre Murray are about to give “Porgy and Bess’’ a 21st-century update. Their musical-theater reinterpretation of the opera by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward is slated to open the American Repertory Theater’s 2011-12 season next September.

That’s the opening of an article from The Boston Globe which made my hackles rise. More hackles rose even further when I read this:

What she wants, she said, is to introduce it to contemporary theatergoers. That, she explained, means taking it out of the operatic form and cutting the score so that it’s not four hours long … It will also mean more fully developing the characters, but whether new music will be part of the equation is yet to be seen, Paulus said.

I’m very surprised to see that the Gershwin Trust have given the project their blessing. I doubt very much if George Gershwin would do the same.

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