Broadway's Porgy and Bess Drops New Happy Ending

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The forthcoming Broadway production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess has dropped plans for a new happy ending, following public criticism from composer Stephen Sondheim.

In August, the creative team behind the show described making significant changes to the 1935 opera in the hope of reframing it for a contemporary Broadway audience. That included punching up some dialogue, inventing new biographical details and adding a final scene that indicated that sought to lessen the ambiguity about whether Porgy and Bess would be reunited.

The addition has been scrapped, according to The New York Times, though its director insists it wasn't the result of Sondheim's letter to the newspaper criticizing the proposed changes that changed her mind.

“We were learning about the work as we were living it, experimenting with different scenes and endings, and by the culmination of our journey with Porgy and Bess — the show and those characters — we found its strongest version,” Paulus told the Times. "It had nothing to do with Mr.-Whomever-we-are-not-talking-about, or the producers or the estates."

Paulus adds that she's "reluctant to talk about the details of the ending" that's in the current version of the show because she doesn't want her description "to get misinterpreted. I don't want someone to read it and go crazy."

Previews of the opera are due to start on December 17 at the Richard Rogers Theater.