Friday, September 16, 2016

Gershwin series part three

Girl Crazy. Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Book by Guy Bolton and John McGowan. 1930 Broadway

Includes the songs Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm and But Not for Me.

A typical Ginger Rogers role does not believe in love at first sight. Whether you're Allen Kearns or Fred Astaire you have to earn her affection. Girl Crazy would launch the careers of Rogers and a brassy young singer named Ethel Merman. It also proved a delightful movie for a young Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

I have to make a confession. I'm not a fan of the song "I Got Rhythm." I was in a highschool production of Crazy for You. "I Got Rhythm" is the act one finale and the dancey arrangement lasts about 9 minutes. It felt like 90. It's a different experience with Ethel Merman singing it. She made headlines for effortlessly sustaining the big note as the crowds went wild.

Merman's role had two other songs that I find more interesting. The menacing "Sam and Delilah" and the snarky torch song "Boy! What Love Has Done To Me!" Both were sadly cut from Crazy for You though the supporting woman in that show gets the delightful "Naughty Baby."

Pardon My English. Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Book by Herbert Fields and Morrie Ryskind. 1933 Broadway

Pardon My English is less fondly remembered. It provided a showcase for vaudeville comic Jack Buchanan in dual roles. The songs "Isn't It a Pity?" and "The Lorelei" have had some legs and the rest of the score was heard again in a 2004 Encores Concert starring Brian d'Arcy James.

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