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Ira Gershwin (12/06/1896 - 8/17/1983)

Ira Gershwin possessed the wit and genius as a lyricist to match that of his composer brother George. Such songs as “A Foggy Day,” “The Man I Love,” and “Love Is Here to Stay” represent the best of America’s music. Although older than George, Ira came to musical theater after George had enjoyed success, so he took the pen name of Arthur Francis and had his first Broadway hit with Vincent Youmans, Two Little Girls In Blue (1921).

The brothers formed a partnership that produced musicals with hits such as “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” (Lady Be Good, 1924), “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Oh, Kay! 1926) “S’Wonderful” (Funny Face, 1927), and “But Not for Me,” “Embraceable You,” and “I Got Rhythm” (Girl Crazy, 1930). In 1931 Of Thee I Sing won the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a musical.

The first American opera, Porgy and Bess(1935), on which they collaborated with Du Bose Heyward, was full of memorable songs such as “Summertime.” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” from the Astaire/Rogers film Shall We Dance? (1937), was nominated for a Best Song Oscar.



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