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Ira GershwinThe Art of the Lyricist$
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Philip Furia

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195115703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195115703.001.0001

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'S Wonderful: 1927–1930

'S Wonderful: 1927–1930

(p.62) 4'S Wonderful: 1927–1930
Ira Gershwin

Philip Fuma

Oxford University Press

One indication that the American musical was moving toward integration of songs and story came with the Gershwins' 1927 production. Strike Up the Band integrated songs into the story and even used them to advance the plot in lengthy stretches of lyrical pastiche, where soloist and chorus sing rhymed dialogue. For George, Strike Up the Band represented the chance to compose music that resonated with its dramatic context; for Ira, it was a unique opportunity to write lyrics that were intimately related to particular scenes and characters. If Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern' Show Boat was an American adaptation of traditional European operetta, Strike Up the Band was a native version of the comic operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Show Boat was a success, whereas, Strike Up the Band closed, out of town, in Philadelphia. The Gershwins would successfully revive Strike Up the Band in 1930 and then go on to write other satirical operettas, but for the remainder of the 1920s they were confined to formulaic musicals cast in the mold of Lady, Be Good!?.

Keywords:   Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin, Show Boat, Strike Up the Band, Broadway musicals

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