Opened at the Empire Theatre, London on April 3, 1923. 113 performances. Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Clifford Grey. Revue by Albert de Courville, Edgar Wallace, and Noel Scott. Dances and ensembles by Allan K. Foster. Produced by Albert de Courville. Cast included Grace Hayes, Stephanie Stephens, Earl Rickard, Ernest Thesiger, and Jack Edge.
George Gershwin’s first visit to London came with the opportunity to write the score for this revue, which paired him with English lyricist Clifford Grey. In a letter to Ira from the Savoy Hotel, George wrote that he was very pleased by his reception, which included a customs official who recognized him as the composer of “Swanee,” and a reporter who made him “feel like I was Kern or somebody.” George arrived in London just four days before rehearsals began; fortunately he brought with him a number of already-written songs that could be inserted into the production. Gershwin and Grey turned out many more — of varying quality — but THE RAINBOW, though successful during its London run, never received an American production.