Porgy And Bess

symbolizes the end of the black musical tradition that
flourished in the early part of this century. The play showed the height of
white appropriation of what had previously been a black cultural form. All
the creative talent backstage was white. This development had been
occurring slowly, throughout the 1920's, but black artists had often worked
in a variety of creative capacities.
"Porgy and Bess" became a "black musical" in its most minimal sense,
only as a definition of the color of the cast members. Neither the plot nor
the music was of black origin.
Musical comedies seemed to be out of fashion in the 20's due to the
dismal revivals of "Shuffle Along" and "Blackbirds". ...

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prevailed, musical
elements of Afro-American culture were showcased primarily in dramas
rather than in musicals.
In Hall Johnson's "Run, Little Chillun!", a folk drama about the
conflict between the Christian and African religious heritage in black life,
critics praised the marvelous choral music. While Johnson called his work a
drama, Time suggested that he had written an opera, something rarely
achieved or even considered by black artists working on Broadway.
Although the thought of an opera with a black cast and created by
black talent was a rarity, it was not unprecedented. Bob Cole had spoken
about an opera based on Uncle Tom's Cabi, but the work remained uncompleted
at his death. Scott Joplin had written an opera, "A guest of Honor", while
living in St. Louis in 1903. The opera had several performances in Missouri,
but did go beyond the state's borders.
Joplin's second opera, "Treemonisha", composed between 1905 and 1907,
seemed more promising, Joplin died ...

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Blues", prepared by Gershwin and lyricist Buddy
Desylva. Unlike "Shuffle Along" this play had white performers in blackface,
which was the norm on Broadway at the time. The play was yanked after
opening night after terrible reviews. Charles Darnton of the Evening World
found the Gershwins piece "the most dismal, stupid, and incredible
blackface sketch that has ever been perpetrated." Critics ignored
Gershwin's operatic endeavors but the play and its revival "135th St."
showed that Gershwin had been interested in the creation of a black-themed
opera some thirteen years before Porgy and Bess.
In the mid 20's, Gershwin expressed interest in a new novel about
black life called Porgy, ...

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Porgy And Bess. (2004, April 5). Retrieved September 25, 2021, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Porgy-And-Bess/5763
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"Porgy And Bess." Essayworld.com. April 5, 2004. Accessed September 25, 2021. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Porgy-And-Bess/5763.
"Porgy And Bess." Essayworld.com. April 5, 2004. Accessed September 25, 2021. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Porgy-And-Bess/5763.
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Added: 4/5/2004 08:12:54 PM
Category: Music & Musicians
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1932
Pages: 8

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