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Salvaging 'Show Boat'

November 06, 1988

After reading the review of the new recording of the complete "Show Boat" score, I purchased it ("Re-Launching 'Show Boat'--Warts and All," by Don Heckman, Oct. 30).

Before hearing the complete score, I had always accepted "Show Boat" as a vehicle for some wonderful Kern/Hammerstein songs trapped in a book that was little more than a nostalgic cream puff. It is clear that the authors intended to write and did write a powerful musical drama. It has only been the subsequent actions of various producers that reduced this powerful work to the fluff that is usually presented in today's theaters.

I would urge the Civic Light Opera to produce the original "Show Boat" as the authors intended, including the original version of the opening chorus and the Mis'ry chorus in Act I.

Such a production would not only honor the original intent of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein but would give the Civic Light Opera a chance to show that it is more than a mere showcase for lightweight rivals of old classics and a stop on the national tour.

CHRISTOPHER BLAKE

San Diego

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