It’s bad form when critics attack each other in print, but after the shocking stupidity on display in the mixed reviews of the new Broadway production of Porgy and Bess, the temptation to open fire stretches from here to deadline. Cognizant of the boundaries of good taste and a dedicated defense of any critic’s right to an informed opinion, I won’t name names. But in this case, stupidity still reigns supreme.
It’s been years since I have been part of an opening-night audience so slam-dunked by greatness that people rose to a thunderous ovation the minute the opening bars of the Gershwin overture began and refused to stop screaming at the end, bringing back the entire cast for so many curtain calls that it felt like the applause might extend well into the night. The fear of paying union overtime to the stagehands was the only reason the cast and creative team ever left the stage at all. I am yelling “Bravo!” still and join the disillusionment of theatergoers who were crestfallen over the lack of enthusiasm in the next morning’s reviews. If there is any sanity left after The New York Times called The Book of Mormon “the greatest musical of the century,” I’d like to urge every living person who loves the theatre to ignore the critics and run to the Richard Rodgers Theatre immediately.
When the denizens of Catfish Row come alive in the dank ghetto of Charleston, S.C., they are not in Technicolor. They are black and white and real as breathing, scars and fake dreams in unison. Read More