Fun Fast Facts About Of Thee I Sing

  • The 1932 Pulitzer went to all of the writers, except George Gershwin! The reason? It's a literary prize, and he wrote the music. This was corrected in 1998 when George got the Pulitzer posthumously
  • In 1972, a TV version featured All In The Family star Carroll O'Connor as Wintergreen, Cloris Leachman as Mary and a cameo by Mary Tyler Moore actor Ted Knight
  • Of Thee I Sing was the most successful Gershwin musical
  • Of Thee I Sing is performed nowadays mostly as a concert production, such as at the New York City Center Encores! series, and at the Royal Festival Hall

About The Creators

  • George S. Kaufman collaborated with all of the greats, including Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin and Frank Loesser. He won two Pultizers and a Tony (Best director for Guys and Dolls, 1951). His work for the Marx Brothers established both them and him as entertainment greats.
  • Morrie Ryskind often collaborated with Kaufman on Marx Brothers classics, including Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers. He wrote Strike Up The Band with the Gershwins and Louisiana Purchase with Irving Berlin.
  • George Gershwin was the undisputed King of Broadway in the 1920s. Ironically, it is his classical works, including Rhapsody In Blue, An American In Paris and Porgy And Bess that have marked him as an all time great.
  • Ira Gershwin was the main lyricist for his younger sibling, collaborating on more than a dozen musicals and penning some of the great standards such as I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me and Embraceable You.

What the Critics Wrote

Brooks Atkinson wrote in 1931:

  • "There is dancing, both routine and inventive. There are lyrics done in Ira Gershwin's neatest style...Best of all, there is Mr. Gershwin's score. Whether it is satire, wit, doggerel or fantasy, Mr. Gershwin pours music out in full measure and in many voices. Although the book is lively, Mr. Gershwin is exuberant."

The Pulitzer Committee wrote: 

  • "Of Thee I Sing is not only coherent and well-knit enough to class as a play, but it is a biting and true satire on American politics and the public attitude towards them.... The play is genuine and it is felt the Pulitzer Prize could not serve a better purpose than to recognize such work."

Of Thee I Sing is a Merry-Go-Round with charming ups and downs, laughter and more laughter, and a most glorious Gershwin musical score. It was the first Broadway musical to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1931.
And it's a delightfully surprising show.Of Thee I Sing, produced by Israel Musicals (Click here to meet the cast).

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Why is Of Thee I Sing so special?

Certainly the music deserves to be heard, as it is glorious. How could it be otherwise? It was composed by the legendary George Gershwin, right as he was preparing his magnum opus, Porgy and Bess.

Maybe it's politics. Described as "War and Peace written for the Three Stooges," it pokes hysterical fun at the topic that gets people way too worked up.

John P. Wintergreen runs for President promising to marry the winner of a contest, but he then marries someone else instead! As a result, chaos - and impeachment proceedings - ensue.

How about this:

Yes, Of Thee I SING has a clear political message: Politics takes politics way too seriously. Let's laugh and SING!

As the New York Times, in 2006, wrote:

"The laughter that greets the show today is tinged with surprise at how eerily some of its jokes seem to take precise aim, from decades back, at current affairs."

Of all the Gershwin musicals, this one is still the most successful (not counting George's next major work, Porgy and Bess). It had a successful Broadway run due to its politically oriented satire that never grows old.

The show combines elements of Gilbert and Sullivan with the fascinating rhythms of George Gershwin, the delightful lyrics of Ira and a Merry-Go-Round of a satire by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind.
Coming January to Jerusalem and Ra'anana. Don't miss it!

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