Tony Award Nominee Diane Paulus Responds to Porgy and Bess Criticism

News   Tony Award Nominee Diane Paulus Responds to Porgy and Bess Criticism
Tony Award-nominated director Diane Paulus, who is staging a new Broadway-bound production of Porgy and Bess at the American Repertory Theater, has responded to criticism from Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Sondheim about the creative team's approach to the American opera.

Diane Paulus
Diane Paulus Photo by Aubrey Reuben

On Aug. 10 Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park With George) penned a letter to the New York Times in response to an article which interviewed the current creative team behind what is billed as The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Read the story here.

The Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner raised questions about the attitude of the creative team toward the creators of Porgy and Bess and the thought that the classic needed further context and clarification for modern Broadway audiences.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Book of Grace) and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diedre Murray (Running Man) are collaborating with Paulus on the new treatment of Porgy and Bess to make it more palatable for Broadway audiences accustomed to musicals.

Paulus is in the home stretch of rehearsals in Cambridge, MA, where Porgy and Bess begins previews Aug. 14 and issued the following statement through press representatives: "The entire creative team and cast have the most enormous love and respect for Porgy and Bess, and we are grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from the Gershwin and Heyward Estates for this production."

As previously reported, Porgy and Bess will play A.R.T. through Oct. 2. The production will later transfer to Broadway beginning Dec. 17 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It will officially open Jan. 12, 2012. American Express cardholders can begin purchasing tickets to the Broadway engagement Aug. 10. Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis, David Alan Grier and Joshua Henry star.

Porgy and Bess has music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother Ira and lyrics and book by DuBose Heyward; the work includes such songs as "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "I Loves You, Porgy," "My Man's Gone Now," "There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York," "Summertime," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."

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