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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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This Is New: 1939–1941

This Is New: 1939–1941

(p.158) 9 This Is New: 1939–1941
Ira Gershwin

Philip Fuma

Oxford University Press

In 1939, Moss Hart decided to write a play that reflected his new interest “in characters rather than stories.” With that resolve he started in on I Am Listening, a play about a successful career woman, the editor of a fashion magazine, who seeks out psychiatric treatment for traumatic depression. Hart later asked Kurt Weill to help him transform his psychoanalytic play into not a traditional musical but something else—a “play with music.” Hart then sent a telegram to Ira in 1940, outlining his idea for the “play with music,” eventually entitled Lady in the Dark. Ira could see that it offered unique opportunities for lyrical integration. So eager was he to return to work that the usually phlegmatic Ira Gershwin surprised Hart by quickly agreeing to the project.

Keywords:   Ira Gershwin, Moss Hart, I Am Listening, Lady in the Dark, Kurt Weill

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