Wild Changes to Classic Shows: How Far Is Too Far?
By RAVEN SNOOK
Wednesday, November 13, 2019  •  
Wed Nov 13, 2019  •  
Geek Out Freak Out  •   55 comments Share This
"I think it's wonderful when fans are so invested in a work of art that they want to defend it and protect it."

Welcome to Geek Out/Freak Out, where theatre fans get enthusiastic about things

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This week, TDF Stages Editor Raven Snook geeks out (via Facebook Messenger) with Christina Trivigno, TDF's Director of Digital Strategy and a bona fide theatre nerd.

Today's topic: Inspired by Ivo van Hove's truncated and intermissionless production of West Side Story, we wonder, when does a revival change so much that it feels like a different show?

Raven Snook: It's all anyone's talking about on my social media feeds, and it's totally dividing the community. People can't even speak civilly to each other! No, I'm not talking about politics, I'm referring to the upcoming Broadway revival of West Side Story. Avant-garde Belgian director Ivo van Hove is known for his controversial productions of classic plays (the Tony-winning A View from the Bridge, the more polarizing The Crucible, last season's cinema-to-stage adaptation of Network). But ever since he said he was "remixing West Side Story for the 21st century," theatre fans have been completely freaking out, calling it West Side Story Jr. and goofing on its two months of previews, saying that's the length of time he'll need to put everything back the way it was.

Over the summer we published a piece about high school and college productions that changed shows so as not to offend. But reading van Hove's changes for West Side Story -- no "I Feel Pretty," no "Somewhere" ballet, no intermission, though keep in mind lyricist Stephen Sondheim says he's down with all of that -- I thought, this is the opposite of what schools do. They're trying to keep everyone happy. Van Hove wants to stir things up… but for what reason? For the sake of art or infamy?

Christina Trivigno: I can forgive taking out the ballet as long as the song "Somewhere" remains in some altered form. But taking out "I Feel Pretty" seems like a real shame. It's one of the few scenes given to the female characters to shine, and it shows a woman who otherwise feels like an outsider having a moment of joy and self-love. That said, I know Sondheim has long been embarrassed by his lyrics for that song.

Even the recent revival of My Fair Lady had staging changes that angered fans and also begged the question: Can you really make a classic piece like that fit into a more feminist world?

I do think with some revivals, changes are actually done to make audiences happier. For example, adding in a beloved song from the movie version of a show, like putting "Mein Herr" in Cabaret, or "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Sandy" in Grease.

And then there are revivals that change a show's traditional tone. I'd never seen Oklahoma! on stage before, so while I read it was dark and different from previous productions, I just knew I was thrilled to see Ali Stroker on Broadway again.

Raven: I see van Hove's West Side Story as different from Oklahoma! -- director Daniel Fish made the latter feel like a new show because of the staging and vibe, but he didn't make alterations to the script. It felt like a change in interpretation, not material. Still, many Oklahoma! fans have been up in arms about that one, too.

Christina: The last Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess, which was directed by Diane Paulus and adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre Murray, changed the show quite a bit. There was a lot of controversy at the time -- I remember hearing that there were even bigger changes out of town that got cut before it came to New York. Sondheim was definitely upset about it. He even wrote an angry letter about it to The New York Times.

Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis in
Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis in 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess;' photo by Michael J. Lutch

Raven: It's funny that Sondheim spearheaded that outrage (on behalf of dead authors, I get it), but he's approved van Hove's changes on West Side Story. I wonder if he'll write The Times a letter defending it. Seriously though, the fact that Sondheim -- the only living member of West Side Story's original creative team -- is okay with what's happening makes me wonder, who are we to quibble?

I think a lot of theatre fans love hate-watching van Hove. (Can I just say, hate-watching theatre is a very expensive pastime.) They know he's going to make huge, gasp-inducing changes on any classic he revives. He likes them streamlined and in your face and half-televised. I get it, it's his style. But often, regardless of whether I like his changes or not, I find myself asking why he made them. I usually understand the impetus for changes in other revivals. Take the recent revival Kiss Me Kate: Since today's audiences might find a man spanking a woman or the lyric "I am ashamed that women are so simple" hard to swallow, they changed them. Whether you agree with those changes or not, they make a kind of sense. With van Hove, I sometimes wonder if he does it just to spark conversation and coverage. (Yes, I'm that cynical.) To me, his changes to A View from the Bridge made it more like a Greek tragedy and enhanced the story. But his changes to The Crucible confused me. Having the girls erroneously accused of witchcraft seemingly practice witchcraft? That was weird. 

All this said, I think die-hard fans tend to forget that even with classics, many audience members will be seeing the show for the first time. To them, this is how it's "supposed" to be done. My kid's first Oklahoma! was the one currently playing. I suspect if I show her the movie now she'll find it strange.

Christina: To your point about if Sondheim is okay with it -- like I said in our Little Mermaid Live! chat, people get attached to what they know and love. I think it's wonderful when fans are so invested in a work of art that they want to defend it and protect it. I hope the artists consider it a compliment, because it'd be worse if we didn't care at all.

Raven: I think what you're saying about fans' possessiveness of the art they love is key -- especially with theatre. Movies and fine art don't change over time (unless you're George Lucas and you go back and reedit the original Star Wars trilogy). So with stage shows, fans really cling to the text because that's usually the one thing that doesn't change from production to production. Everything else -- the cast, the design, the staging, the context (see Oklahoma!) -- is bound to change. So if you start making massive changes to the script too, well, then is it even the same show anymore?

While I am nervous about the changes to West Side Story, I am shocked there hasn't been more commentary on the casting (and I'm not even talking about all the anger at Amar Ramasar being cast after the New York City Ballet scandal). Tony, formerly a white character, is being played by a biracial actor, Isaac Powell, opposite a Maria, Shereen Pimentel, who's Latinx and African-American. I appreciate that van Hove is trying to make sure the musical doesn't come off as a period piece. That casting signals to me that he's trying to investigate current hot-button issues such as identity politics, multiculturalism, white privilege and the immigration crisis (even though, as my Puerto Rican husband constantly has to remind people, Puerto Ricans are not immigrants, they are Americans). 

Christina: I do look forward to that casting. My father was a young immigrant when the movie came out and he's not a musical theatre guy, but he felt it spoke to his experience as a young man making friends with other Italians and being at odds with other groups of kids from different backgrounds. I think the story would hold up with any two groups clashing over their perceived otherness.

Raven: Agreed. I keep trying to think of classic musicals I've seen that were drastically rewritten. All the ones I'm thinking of, like On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, were called revisals. I wonder why they're not calling this West Side Story that? Also, fans need to be reminded that it was rewritten last time too, in Spanish (courtesy of Lin-Manuel!) But eventually they went back to the English-language lyrics.

I just realized, van Hove seems to be taking a page from the John Doyle playbook. Doyle loves cutting everything down to NMNI (90 minutes no intermission), or at least by a third. I do wonder if this cutting has to do with directors feeling like they're trimming the fat, or if they don't think modern-day audiences will sit for three hours (ahem, Hamilton begs to differ), or if they feel like it gives the show a certain kind of momentum. Certainly I can see the benefit of cutting the intermission from West Side Story in terms of how it feels like the action is heading toward unavoidable tragedy.

Christina: Yeah, I like the idea of no intermission for the same reason. Sometimes an intermission can take you out of the moment when a lot is going on. Something as silly as a long bathroom line can change your mood or mindset.

People were seriously skeptical about the Spanish lyrics even before that last revival opened, but the idea was solid and I feel like they were pretty open and transparent about why they wanted to give that a go. I don’t feel like we’ve heard nearly as much about the whys on this one. That probably feeds the anxiety most. Like why? Just tell us! Do you think there’s a point where they will start calling this a revisal instead of a revival? Like how many more changes would warrant that distinction?

Raven: I know for me, as a fan of the original show, I am thinking of it as a revisal. No one involved may use that word, but I think it's the way I can go in with as open a mind as possible. And maybe it will blow my open mind. I would love that actually.

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Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

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55 Comments:
Bway performer said:
Sondheim’s reaction is rich considering his letter nearly caused the cancellation of the Tony winning Porgy and Bess revival before it opened on Broadway. It brought the characters to life and out of “caricature” and made the universal human themes accessible to an non opera audience. How big of him here. Originals and revisals can both exist especially when they focus on the human stories.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 8:43 AM
Heidi McCauley said:
Why take a piece of theatrical art and change it? That's theft in my mind. Why not write your own damn show, your own script, your own music your own lyrics. Is theatre so bereft of talent these days that it cannot come up with great works? The additions to Oklahoma were ridiculous and totally unneccessary. Leave the classics alone - you cannot improve upon them.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 8:48 AM
Gerri said:
West side story is a classic and shouldn’t be tampered with The songs like I Feel Pretty should not be removed They destroyed Oklahoma, shouldn’t destroy and ruin a west Side Storu
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:05 AM
Judy said:
No, no, no. I will not be seeing this production or any other by Ivo van Hove. West Side Story is my all time favorite musical and I’ve seen it a dozen times. Just leave well enough alone. This is like changing the lyrics to Baby It’s Cold Outside. Make your own original show and leave the classics just as they are...classic.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:06 AM
Samuel Buggeln said:
Thanks for the great article. I don’t think this is really a “revisal“ - I feel like that’s when a production hires a new book writer to “revise“ aka “fix” a classic musical whose book has become unpalatable. They’re usu aiming for that new book to be what gets licensed by Sam French. This is just one director’s interpretation.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:07 AM
Martin Albucher said:
Ok, so here is my take on this. I was very excited to see the new Oklahoma after all the buzz. Although I am old school and love a big full on musical, I was ok with the scaled down look of this production including the corn bread and chili, BUT, BUT, BUT TOTALLY DID NOT UNDERSTAND OR LIKE THE DREAM BALLET( no offense to the dancer). WTF???? Honestly thought she wandered in from HADESTOWN???
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:09 AM
Evelyn Zuckerman said:
In my opinion, to bring back a theatre production and change it is not a revival. Personally I never go to any revivals unless I have never seen it before and it was not tampered with. When I was young, I lived in the theatre. I don't think there was a show I did not see. I saw the original West Side Story.Nothing could equal that.I will never see a revival.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:12 AM
Samuel Buggeln said:
... and it’s a director who comes from a tradition where cutting and revising the text is common. We do it with Shakespeare all the time, and Ivo did it (at NYTW) with Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill and Molière and lots of others, way before he got famous for doing it to Arthur Miller. I can assure you he’s not doing it as a stunt to get attention.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:12 AM
Carlo said:
It is unforgivable that Sondheim allowed the movie version of Sweeney Todd to be produced without “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd,”
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:16 AM
Linda November said:
I will see West Side Story in January. I'm sorry now that I know about some of the changes, especially the ballet. The last time I saw this show was a revival at Lincoln Center so many years ago. I am still looking forward to seeing it. It's giving a lot of unknown performers the stage, and I think that is a great thing.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:17 AM
Chrisse Roccaro said:
I an not a fan of van Hove.A View From the Bridge-period dress,bare feet and the cast having to mop the stage just to be safe? Please."revisals"-if you don't like the way a show is written, write your own.I'm tired of directors thinking the audience is so stupid they won't 'get it' if it isn't sexed up. tkt buying old ladies need potty breaks.Many theatres need concession sales.Feeling pretty isok
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:23 AM
David polazzo said:
Pores keep the original version you are destroying Bernstein’s music and legacy to our music ‘. Stop overthinking and keep its musical and lyrical brilliance.. would you recut the Hope diamond just to ‘modernise it? Stop with the PCness of it all I was going to buy many tickets but not any more!
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:25 AM
Bonita said:
I still want to see it but am worried that my wonderful memories of the original will be altered. Leaving out "I feel pretty" is WRONG!
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:27 AM
B Abercrombie said:
I guess I’m feeling old but I really don’t like changes. I don’t mind when revivals do a cast change, like when Hello Dolly did a Black version with Pearl Bailey or throughly integrate the cast but too many changes alter the play. I opted not to see Oklahoma for that reason. I doubt that I’ll see this. However, I wish them much success.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:28 AM
Pip said:
I am a modern thinking, "cool" woman in in my late 70's. But I am not cool enough to have anyone mess with the classics I have loved - and seen - over, and over, and over again. Leave them be. If you don't like them as they are, write something new. I saw My Fair Lady - twice - and I did not care for the ending any better the second timeI have not seen Oklahoma, and I will not see West Side Story.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 9:58 AM
Pkbnyc said:
Beware deifying Sondheim’s judgments in this century. “Road Show” anyone? He took a mildly flawed “Merrily” and gutted that, too. Have to wait to see how thorough Van Hove’s wrecking ball is.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 10:02 AM
jim L said:
The comment that Sondheim has approved the changes is not a great argument for acceptance of the changes. He has gone round the bend, I'm afraid. Just look what was done to Sweeney, filled with people who could not sing or even get close to singing, with strange interpretation, and he supposedly sanctioned that. Is it money? He can't be that desperate. Leave it alone. I just hope the movie is good
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 10:21 AM
HaBass said:
Without getting too much into the politics of our time, there those who like changing things, while there are those who like fixing things. Van Hove seems to fall into the former, which is not my preference. Fixing has the original intent remain, while changing ruins the beauty of it's originality.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 10:27 AM
Phyllis said:
I love the classic musicals and look forward to having them brought back to revisit, but do not enjoy the modern revisions, deletions, and all the politically correctness that has been adapted for so many. Leave we’ll enough alone. I was horrified at the changes in Oklahoma and West Side Story... no ticket purchases from me. Too bad!
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 10:35 AM
Robert Sokol said:
Good art is resilient. It bears interrogation and interpretation. Every revival is a re-production of the original and, by definition, different from it. To get truly granular, every performance is different, if only subtly, from the one before. Every change of actor or director. Every translation to a new language. Theatre is ephemeral. Be open to possibilities. The original will always be there.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 10:46 AM
LISA Molho said:
I totally agree with the negative comments. I can’t stand Ivo Van Hove. His View From the Bridge was a disgrace! I would never see anything he directs again. He doesn’t direct, he ruins classics for his own ego and publicity. Although he didn’t direct Oklahoma, I was furious when I heard about those changes and wouldn’t see it either. Really how dare they. Classics should be left as they are
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 11:34 AM
barry lustig said:
they should leave the classics alone, we want to hear the great songs as they were. we also dont want politically correct casting for the roles that make no sense for the time period it occurs in, it just makes the show unbelievable
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 11:39 AM
David S said:
I'm deeply troubled by the "logic" behind many revisals.I saw the new Oklahoma and applauded many of the changes while being confused by others.Theater can and should be a living, mutable thing.In truth, no one performance is identical to any other.However,changing the essence of a show just to shake the tree is problematic.I will see WSS and reserve judgement, but I expect to be disappointed.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 11:42 AM
Kathy Geraci said:
I'm glad I read the article. Now I can save my money and not get tickets to West Side Story. My husband refused to go see Oklahoma! when he found out about the changes. He won't want to see West Side Story now. How difficult is it to refrain from destroying a classic??
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 11:54 AM
MICHAEL W HUGHES said:
PLEASE LEAVE THE CLASSIC MUSICALS ALONE. IT'S A SACRILEGE TO ALTER THESE GEMS. I SAW THE RECENT OKLAHOMA AND WAS DEEPLY HURT TO WHAT THE CREATIVE TEAM DID TO TURN IT INTO A TRAVESTY. THE ONLY ENJOYMENT I GOT WAS SEEING ALI STROKER DO HER RENDITION OF "I CAN'T SAY NO. BOUGHT TICKETS FOR THE UPCOMING WEST SIDE STORY AND ALREADY FEEL I AM GOING TO BE UPSET.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 12:02 PM
Susan Friedman said:
At a time when white supremacy is on the rise and immigrants, especially Latinos are imprisoned, vilified and terrified, WHY change the text, music and complexion of this brilliant musical that essentially focuses on the hatred and prejudice that still divides us?? The minute I saw the faces in the ada for this production, I knew I would not be seeing this production. Which is very disappointing
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 12:03 PM
Lee said:
Was there something wrong with West Side Story that it needed to be decimated like Ivo van Hove plans to? West Side Story is one of the most wonderful musical theater pieces of all time and considered a classic! Classics withstand the test of time. If Ivo van Hove thinks he can improve a classic like West Side Story by changing it, he is just plain arrogant!
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 12:11 PM
Frances said:
I shall be open minded for now. Have tickets with a friend to celebrate a birthday in December. No intermission won't bother me, but "Somewhere" is important. Hope there is Spanish used at least in expressions in addition to English dialogue and music. Use of multicultural performers is good, but hope the "revisal" doesn't bring disappointment.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 12:25 PM
Robin Taylor said:
To me, the theatre is there to create live, visceral experiences for the audience (and the cast). Oklahoma was written in the style of grand musical theatre with legitimate voices and full blooded productions. I get goose bumps every time I hear a great production of the Oklahoma finale with the tension building and the great soaring sopranos. The country version did not do that.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 1:33 PM
Entertainment Attorney said:
Enough with the woke versions of old shows!!! I thought the “Tootsie” show suffered significantly from being nothing like the movie. I agree that you should write your OWN woke content instead of engaging in revisionist history.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 1:50 PM
Michael Eddy said:
Very interesting comment posted above. I seem to fit right into the mix. Agree with Heidi on changes (arbitrary or otherwise) made to classics. You want to do a revival - DO IT. But if you want a reinterpretation or to screw around with it because you can - or you want to rile up an audience or get some reaction just for the sake of getting one - than don't do it at all.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 1:53 PM
Michael Eddy said:
I run hot and cold on Van Hove. very much liked View From The Bridge. Did NOT like The Crucible. Oklahoma? Agree with Martin. the dream ballet? WTF? The high point of this show for me was the cornbread and chili. Would've enjoyed seconds. As for West Side Story, not going. I'll wait for Spielberg's movie remake.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 1:56 PM
Cathy said:
As I start to write this my heart says “ I’ll lead the way” why will you go to see this version of one of the most emotional musical ever written and cast to perfection in the movie? Because you want, need to FEEL it all again. Even the pain oh of course the pain. The magic that will take me away with them. Every second of every word every song and be better to have been lucky enough to see it.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 2:01 PM
Barbara Milchman said:
As far as West Side Story goes, I"m of the belief "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I was a wonderful show in it's original form years ago and is still very pertinent today. I loved the original, please leave it alone.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 2:32 PM
Robert Gulack said:
Surely the right answer is obvious. The original WRITERS of each show (book, music, lyrics) should agree among themselves what amount of revision ought to be allowed. Everyone afterwards should honor that decision. Ideally, for example, it would not be up to Stephen Sondheim alone to allow I FEEL PRETTY to be cut; it would have been a decision he would have reached with Laurents and Bernstein.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 2:43 PM
Cathy said:
I made my comment above but when I reread it it was not exactly the way I wanted it to start or end so hear goes. My heart said to me why would you want to see this version of one of the best musicals of all time? A musical that’s timing music songs acting joys and pain is perfect? YOU DONT!! There just needs to be an important reason to change it and in my opinion there’s not.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 3:36 PM
Amos said:
It now appears that “Eurotrash” directors, increasingly common in opera, are starting to infect Broadway. I am sure that it will be easy to get deeply discounted tickets for this West Side Story.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 3:40 PM
Kelly Cardall said:
I love Nina Simone but David Bowie's version of Wild is the Wind blows my mind. Speaking of the Little Mermaid, I don't hear any of Hans Christian Anderson purists protesting the Disney version (ya'll know she dies, right?) We make theatre for a live audience. We need to reach that audience - all of it. There is good art with bad ideas. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 4:35 PM
Sandi Taraska said:
I’m old. I grew up seeing everything on Broadway.... Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, Yul Brynner in The King and I....the point is, I haven’t enjoyed 90% of the “revivals” I’ve seen (exceptions: She Loves Me, La Cage Aux Folles). I decided after not enjoying Carousel a few years back that I’m done with revivals. It makes me sad, but I’m stickin’ to it. And West Side Story is my favorite of all time.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 5:28 PM
Alicia said:
WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE IS A SEX OFFENDER IN THE SHOW?! Why aren't more people boycotting because of that?!?!??
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 7:03 PM
Susan Jonas said:
von Hove directs Hedda Gabler, oppressed and enraged by her gender and terrified of scandal, to dash around in undies stapling flowers to the walls. In The Crucible, which warns against unfounded contagious hysteria, real witches appear. Classics must be altered— updated, questioned, meaningfully violated. He dismisses them contemptuously rather than engaging with them, and so makes them nonsense.
Posted on 11/16/2019 at 8:59 PM
Valerie said:
I just saw the 3-hour (2 intermissions) production Greater Clements at Lincoln Center. The play needed an editor despite the terrific performances, but if I am engaged by a production, it doesn't matter how long it is.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 1:55 AM
Walter Paul said:
My take: "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet are being cut to make the show shorter *to save money*. That's lousy. "Pretty* is a great melody (its interlude is magical), and the light-hearted *mood* of the song is a *structural* part of the drama (giving the audience a needed relief as the plot grows darker), as is the lush, uncommonly gorgeous neo-Romantic music for the ballet.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 10:13 AM
Cathy said:
I made my comment above but when I reread it it was not exactly the way I wanted it to start or end so hear goes. My heart said to me why would you want to see this version of one of the best musicals of all time? A musical that’s timing music songs acting joys and pain is perfect? YOU DONT!! There just needs to be an important reason to change it and in my opinion there’s not.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 10:30 AM
Matthew said:
I -am- intentionally cherrypicking a single sentence: "...Something as silly as a long bathroom line can change your mood or mindset." And so therefore, we should force writers and directors and performers to jam their creative expressions into tinier boxes bc the audience's addled and diminished attention spans are so comprised by their phone addictions..break the form so you can tweet sooner?
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 12:00 PM
Ellie S. said:
Changing these shows and keeping the same names is like changing history. You may fool the newer generations, but not the older ones. I've seen this being done on college campuses and the changes are awful. No longer interested in seeing your so called revivals. Political and social correctness has its limits.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 12:11 PM
Eric Henwood-Greer said:
I'm surprised that, when mentioning the Laurents' directed revival, no one mentioned that he cut the ballet in half (essentially cutting the "nightmare" part of the ballet which is kinda the point...)
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 6:10 PM
Eric Henwood-Greer said:
Ellie--Ivo's changes to his text have nothing to do with political correctness. This is the man who cut the final scene from Angels in America because he felt it offered too much hope.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 6:12 PM
SPWinCt said:
Nobody’s even talking about the change in focus of the forthcoming Music Man with 51year old Hugh Jackman and 45 year old Sutton Foster. How will they handle the fact that Marion has an 8 year old brother? It’s not that older performers can’t play young characters, and I think both of these performers are the best, but clearly it’s going to be a different show.
Posted on 11/17/2019 at 8:55 PM
Rhona said:
I am astounded that the ground breaking Jerome Robbins choreography is dropped from this production, and furthermore that this point wasn’t even mentioned in the article or any comments.
Posted on 11/18/2019 at 8:38 AM
virginia moughan said:
West Side Story is a "period piece" and that is precisely its value. In its original form, it offered an artistic vision of the clash of cultures that existed in that day. If Mr. Hove wants to investigate current "hot-button issues" like identity politics and multiculturalism he should write an original work and stop stealing the intellectual property of the real artists who came before him.
Posted on 11/18/2019 at 5:41 PM
J. Gaynor said:
I thought the 2018 revival of Carousel was a good example of updating. I was happy to see the very disturbing exchange between mother and daughter seemingly accepting spousal abuse was cut. The choreography by Justin Peck was a huge improvement over the original DeMille.
Posted on 11/18/2019 at 5:55 PM
Anthony Naccari said:
West Side Story was such a groundbreaking classic. Why change that? I Feel Pretty is such an integral component of Maria's character of young girl who is giddily in love, as forbidden as that love may be. The ballad, Somewhere, is beautiful and heartwrenching and yet hopeful , as short lived as that might be. Leave it alone!!!
Posted on 11/18/2019 at 7:47 PM
Jen said:
I will NOT be seeing any updated,politically correct play. If people are offended, then DON'T go. Will the bible or Shakespeare be changed to ensure minimal offense??? If it is not a viable script due to perceived offenses, then write something new. Playwrights today can't compete with the playwrights of the past, so they have to regurgitate the classics to conform to the liberal political agenda.
Posted on 11/23/2019 at 9:41 AM
Elisse said:
West Side Story is a "modern" adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. About cultural tensions of the 50's that prevailed for several decades, much of which good people are still trying to push past. It has value in a historical cultural context as is. The music is fabulous and the dancing is amazing. Leave it alone. Write a new play if you want a new message. New Oklahoma made no sense Crucible: confusing
Posted on 11/24/2019 at 11:57 AM
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