Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Editor's Letter

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

We do pay attention to what Stephen Sondheim has to say. As this issue of The Sondheim Review was coming together, he reacted to comments made by the artistic team assembling a new production of Porgy and Bess at Boston's American Repertory Theatre that's planned for a Broadway transfer late in 2011. Sondheim has often stated his affection for the show. (In fact, he's said that, for him, "There's Porgy, and then there's everything else.") So it was no surprise that he responded passionately to a New York Times feature in which director Diane Paulus said her production would provide back stories for some characters, including new dialogue by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.

Sondheim's strongly stated observations were posted by the Times on its "Arts Beat" blog (tinyurl.com/3uz4rsv) on Aug. 10, 2011, and as a letter to the editor on Aug. 14, sparking hundreds of remarks on that site as well as considerable discussion on numerous internet forums and blogs. He said he was "not judging this production in advance, only the attitude of its creators toward the piece and the audience." Many agreed with his concerns. His concluding remark: "[L]et it not be called 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess*,' nor even 'The Gershwin-Heyward Porgy and Bess. …

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