Delishious – A Gershwin News Update #12
December 28, 2023
More news from the world of George and Ira Gershwin.
The new West End production of Crazy for You is ending its well-received run at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London on December 31. Will a Broadway production follow? Stay tuned!
The Baker Museum in the Artis-Naples arts complex, located in Naples, Florida, has announced that George Gershwin and Modern Art: A Rhapsody in Blue, the museum’s comprehensive exhibition of selections from the composer’s renowned modern art collection – as well as paintings by him and others influenced by his music – will run from February 10 to June 16, 2024. This exciting event will be accompanied by a series of Gershwin concerts and discussions, including a talk with Michael Feinstein on February 11. The lavishly illustrated, 248-page catalogue, written by the exhibition’s guest curator Olivia Mattis, will be published in late April and is now available for pre-order.
The first commercial releases from the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition are now available for purchase from Schott Music. Rhapsody in Blue, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024, can be found in the original solo piano and jazz version in full score and two-piano editions. The Schott website also includes information about the forthcoming volume, The Gershwins Abroad, an edited and annotated edition of Ira Gershwin’s 1928 European travel journal. More information about the Critical Edition and the work of the University of Michigan’s Gershwin Initiative can be found by watching this recent speech by editor-in-chief Mark Clague.
The Music Division of the Library of Congress has released a finding aid for the extensive Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Trust archive, which was donated to the Library in 2011. This finding aid, in combination with the finding aid for the George and Ira Gershwin Collection, provides researchers with a set of tools to explore the primary Gershwin source material held by the Library.
We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of the actor Michael McGrath, who won the Tony Award in 2012 for the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Cookie McGee in Nice Work If You Can Get It.
We also mark the passing of Rock Brynner, the son of the legendary actor Yul Brynner. Rock Brynner’s life led him from Hollywood to the entourage of Muhammad Ali to running the Manhattan outlet of the Hard Rock Café, but he had an obscure connection to Ira Gershwin that was neglected in his New York Times obituary. In 1951, billed as “Rocky” Brynner, he appeared, along with two other children, in a performance of the Ira Gershwin/Aaron Copland song “Younger Generation,” from the pair’s score to the 1943 movie The North Star.
Recent & forthcoming Gershwin recordings of note include banjoist Bela Fleck’s bluegrass interpretations of Rhapsody in Blue plus an early Unreleased Piece for Banjo by George Gershwin, and pianist Lara Downes’ Rhapsody in Blue Reimagined, which includes a new arrangement of Gershwin’s seminal work by Puerto Rican composer Edmar Colón.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2024 filled with Gershwin words & music!
— Michael Owen