There's an article in today's Wall Street Journal that gave me pause. It talks about how some producers and directors of musical theatre are tinkering with many musicals' original playbook; adding or subtracting songs, replacing dialogue that might sound out of date--essentially changing something written in or for a specific place and time.
Now this isn't the same as, say, setting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in a version of modern day Miami, as director Baz Luhrmann did in his 1996 film. It's more of what the WSJ calls a "revisal"--performers singing numbers that may not have been in the show the first time around.
Clearly, the right to make these changes rests with the composer or the composer's estate--but should it be done just because it can be done? Movies do remakes all the time, so what's the problem? Is a live performance something so special that it needs to hew to the original script and score? Is there room for improvement in even the most beloved shows?