Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, the play that became "a black musical"
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 se…
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