Ira Gershwin

Ira Gershwin

Lyricist


Biography


Lyricist Ira Gershwin was born in New York in 1896. Unlike his brother George, who was musical from a young age, Ira was more interested in literature. In 1914, he enrolled as an English major at City College of New York, but dropped out two years later. As George began to make a name for himself in the music business, Ira began to write the lyrics for some of George’s songs under the pen name, Arthur Francis. In 1921 he had his first stage success, writing the lyrics for the show Two Little Girls in Blue. The following year, the Gershwin brothers wrote the first major hit of their career, “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” (1922). Throughout the 1920s, they continued to write big hits for Broadway shows, such as “Tip Toes” (1925) and “Funny Face” (1927).

In 1932, Ira, George S. Kaufman, and Morrie Ryskind won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for Songwriting for their score for the musical comedy Of Thee I Sing. In 1935, he reunited with his brother to write the operatic masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, which remains a popular production today. From this point on, Ira worked predominantly within the movies and he was nominated for three Academy Awards for his work on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (1937), “Long Ago and Far Away” (1944), and “The Man That Got Away” (1954).

Ira’s brother, George, died in 1937 during brain surgery and Ira wrote sporadically for the Broadway stage after this. He died in California in 1983, aged 86.


Shows by Ira 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

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

Benvenuto Cellini, the great Florentine sculptor, is sentenced to hang, but he is pardoned when the duke realizes that he has not completed a previously commissioned sculpture. Freed, he is able to turn his attention to his f... 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

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

On the surface, Liza Elliot is a happy career woman and the editor of a well-known fashion magazine. However, her private depression pushes her to seek psychiatric help from Dr. Brooks. It turns out that Liza is haunted by... 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

‘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
12/6/1896
Died
8/17/1983
Show Categories
Musical
Genres
Romance, Comedy, Farce, Drama, Satire

Clips