Let's begin with a quote from the 5th Avenue Theatre's program for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. "This production," writes David Armstrong, the theater's executive producer and artistic director, "is the national touring company of the recent Tony Award–winning Broadway revival and it features many of the Broadway cast along with our acclaimed 5th Avenue Theatre Orchestra. Meanwhile, a new musical—Disney's Aladdin—has recently..." What is astonishing about this statement is that it's all the program has to say about this controversial "revival" of a famous (if not the most famous) American opera. Later in the program, all the reader gets are two pages that celebrate the genius of George Gershwin ("Everything he heard lodged in his brain..."), broadly explain the opera's musical sources ("African American blues, ragtime, Jewish folk tunes"), and provide some basic information about its source (a play by Dorothy Heyward, Porgy, based on a novel of the same name by her husband, DuBose Heyward) and setting ("the real-life Cabbage Row... on Charleston's Church Street"). That's it.

Indeed, a person who has no idea about the story and thinking behind The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess would think they are just watching Porgy and Bess. But there is a profound reason why the name of the former is not exactly the same as the latter...

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