George Gershwin

George Gershwin

Composer


Biography


George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. His compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are still prevalent in modern day culture. They have been adapted and covered by many modern day artists. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions "Rhapsody in Blue" (1924) and "An American in Paris" (1928), as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935).

Gershwin was born in New York in 1898. He studied piano as a youth under Charles Hambitzer and dropped out of 15 to play the piano professionally. He began his career playing in nightclubs and as a song plugger in Tin Pan Alley. However, he soon started composing songs for Broadway and the movies with his brother Ira Gershwin, including "Someone to Watch Over Me", "Embraceable You", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". In the 1920s, he moved to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. While there he was inspired to to compose the orchestral piece, "An American in Paris". This would go on to inspire the 1951 film of the same name and, in 2014, a new musical of An American in Paris opened on Broadway.

Upon returning to New York City in 1935, Gershwin wrote Porgy and Bess, based on the novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward. It is one of Gershwin's most complex works and is now considered one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century. Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores until he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 1937. He died at just 38 years old during brain surgery.


Shows by George Gershwin

Title
Synopsis

An American in Paris is a story of finding love, happiness, and a new lease on life. The musical is set in the City of Lights, Paris, as it emerges from the shadows of World War II. As the weight of the Nazi Occupation begins... read more

The opera takes place in a basement cafe near the intersection of 135th Street and Lennox Avenue in Harlem, New York City. The gambler, Joe, and his girlfriend, Vi, are happily in love. Trouble ensues when the arrogant sing... read more

Crazy For You -- the “new Gershwin musical comedy” with a book by famed comedic playwright Ken Ludwig -- is the classic tale of a boy, a girl, and a theater in need of salvation. Stage-struck Bobby Child works as a banker for... read more

Funny Face is best known as a musical film released in 1957, based on the 1927 Broadway version by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. The story revolves around Jo, a shy, bookshop clerk-come-amateur philosopher, who is discove... read more

According to his father, Danny Churchill Jr. is too focused on girls and parties. Therefore, Danny’s father ships him off to a mostly male town in Arizona with the goal of getting Danny’s attention focused on more serious mat... read more

When the orphaned Dick and Susie Trevor are evicted and living on the street with a thunderstorm on the horizon, they are eager to sacrifice him- or herself to help the other. They both end up falling in love with the wrong... read more

The plot centers on Captain Billy Buck Chandler, a transatlantic aviator who flies around the world in pursuit of the championship swimmer Edith, whom he loves. Edith is the current star attraction of Prince Nicolai Erraclyov... read more

"Of Thee I Sing" is a political satire focusing on the election campaign and Presidency of John P. Wintergreen. Wintergreen is a real empty shirt “ with no viable platform he runs simply on love. He even promises that if el... read more

Taking place in 1927 during the time of Prohibition, the show takes place at a beach house owned by Jimmy Winters. When Jimmy arrives at the house with his new bride, he finds Shorty McGee living there. Jimmy just assumes tha... read more

In order to promote the sale of alcoholic beverages, the German government has outlawed all soft drinks. As a result, soft drink speakeasies have been born. Golo Schmidt, a criminal mastermind, runs Klub 21 where illegal sof... read more

In the African-American tenement in Charleston, South Carolina, times are tough. The residents make their living by farming, fishing, and drugs as they struggle their poverty. Their relatively peaceful life is interrupted w... read more

The story revolves around Horace J. Fletcher, owner of a chocolate factory. Fletcher is angered that the U.S. government refused to raise the tariff on Swiss chocolates. After a doctor gives him a sedative to help him sleep,... read more

‘Tip-Toes’ tells the story of Tip-Toes and her two uncles, vaudevillians called “The Three Kayes”, who travel down to Palm Beach, Florida. They try to pass themselves off as “swells” so that Tip-Toes can get a rich husband. I... read more

Overview

Nationality
American
Born
9/26/1898
Died
7/11/1937
Show Categories
Musical, Opera
Genres
Romance, Comedy, Farce, Satire

Clips