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Show TunesThe Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway’s Major Composers$
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Steven Suskin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195314076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195314076.001.0001

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Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin

Born: May 11, 1888, Mohilev, Russia

Died: September 22, 1989, New York, New York

(p.35) Irving Berlin
Show Tunes

Steven Suskin

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the work of Irving Berlin. It begins with a commentary of his career, followed by details on productions, with data and song information. Berlin’s family came to America from Russia when he was five. The son of a part-time cantor, Izzy Baline took to the streets as a singing panhandler and went on to become a singing waiter at a Chinatown saloon. It was here, in 1907 at “Nigger Mik’s,” that he wrote his first published song: Marie from Sunny Italy (music by Nick Nicholson, lyrics by “I. Berlin”). In 1908 came his first composer/lyricist effort, Best of Friends Must Part. Berlin went to work as a staff lyricist and occasional composer for publisher/songwriter Ted Snyder, soon becoming a partner in Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co.

Keywords:   Irving Berlin, Izzy Baline, Broadway musicals, musical theater, show tunes, lyricists

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