'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' (PS Classics)
Gershwin purists, this "Porgy and Bess" is probably not for you, even though its official title is "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess." The cast album of the current Broadway production is a streamlined version of a score that can run longer than three hours when done in its entirety.
This two-disc recording is not just shorter, but it also takes liberties that have rankled traditionalists. "Summertime" is performed as a romantic duet; sections of recitative have been converted to spoken dialogue; and the orchestra has been scaled down for a Broadway house. (Perhaps most rankling of all is the billing of DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, who are still the original co-creators, along with George and Ira Gershwin, though they haven't been accorded the same star treatment.)
But despite these controversial changes, there is a reason you should run out and get the recording of this Tony-nominated revival: It preserves Audra McDonald's wrenching performance of Bess, the character who occupies the clear center of director Diane Paulus' production, which features an adapted musical book by Suzan-Lori Parks and an adapted musical score by Diedre L. Murray.