Producers aim to silence doubters
The estates that control the rights to “Porgy and Bess” have officially given a greenlight to the Broadway-bound revival of the 1935 musical, clearing the way for the show to land on the Main Stem later this year.
Producers touted the move in what looks like an effort to silence doubters who wondered whether the production — which has stirred up some musical-theater controversy and received a few notable mixed reviews in its Boston tryout — would make it to New York at all.
Initially a stern public letter from legit legend Stephen Sondheim, expressing his consternation at the creative retooling “Porgy” has undergone, prompted chatter. Then when the show, now running at A.R.T. in Cambridge, Mass., received a largely unenthusiastic notice in the New York Times (despite praise for star Audra MacDonald), some wondered whether producers would opt to make the move to Gotham.
The ixnay on the Broadway run seemed unlikely, especially given the fact that the marquee of Gotham’s Richard Rodgers Theater has for several weeks now been adorned with “Porgy” promo images. With the thumbs-up from the estates of original “Porgy” creators George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, the New York-bound trajectory seems doubly confirmed.
Just this week a Broadway outing made it clear that it’s sometimes possible to change the minds of Broadway critics. After the current revival of Sondheim tuner “Follies” earned a tepid notice in the Times during its Washington run earlier this summer, the Rialto incarnation scored a notably improved response when it opened Monday.