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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

STAGE REVIEW

A ‘Porgy’ with spirit and heart

McDonald shines in ART’S adaptation of Gershwin’s classic love story

CAMBRIDGE - In 1985, as James Levine was preparing to conduct the Metropolitan Opera’s first performance of “Porgy and Bess,’’ he told The New York Times: “It’s always easy to make something different out of it. But the trick with any masterpiece is to make use of what the genius gave you.’’

The genius in question, of course, was George Gershwin. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when another composer of genius - Stephen Sondheim - created a considerable stir by firing off a scathing letter to the Times about the American Repertory Theater’s musical theater adaptation of Gershwin’s masterpiece, accusing director Diane Paulus and her collaborators of “arrogance’’ and “disdain’’ in their attitude toward “Porgy.’’

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