You so rarely see it stated so blatantly — “creators” at work! With ‘Porgy’ on Broadway, Gershwin Heirs Flex Their Rights [pdf]
But estate decision making has been most controversial in the case of “Porgy and Bess.” The Gershwin heirs — chiefly nephews and grand-nephews of George and Ira, who had no children of their own — sought a Broadway-suitable “Porgy” to license to other musical producers worldwide with the hopes of earning millions of dollars before the right to the famous songs expire in 2030.
With that in mind they encouraged the trimming of the opera nearly by half, and approved some updating, including a reconciliation scene at the end. The goat-pulled cart of the disabled Porgy is out; a cane and leg braces are in. If all goes well, they may pursue a movie.
“Our responsibilities are to not have ‘Porgy and Bess’ stuck in an attic, to open up the property to younger generations, and to make money for the families,” said Jonathan Keidan, a 38-year-old digital media executive whose grandmother was George and Ira’s sister and who is now a trustee of George’s estate.