It ain’t broke

Several of the stated approaches to mounting musical revivals by those whom Matt Wolf interviewed (“West of the West End,” May 11) are both reassuring and promising -- certainly when compared to a callous trend in other quarters to denigrate the librettos of hit shows in order to justify overhauling them.

I liked Sam Mendes’ expressed resistance to “rejigger” works like “Gypsy” and “Guys and Dolls” that were brilliantly structured by the directors and book writers in the first place. I liked Todd Haimes stressing an implied adherence to the original libretto by looking for directors “who have vast experience with text.”

Let revival directors everywhere bring their fresh insights, interpretations and casting decisions to the well-wrought gems of yesterday that proved themselves upon first taking Broadway. As for those egotists who would gut and rewrite these golden-age landmarks, I say: Give them all the cane.

David Lewis



David Lewis is the author of “Broadway Musicals: A Hundred Year History.”