Chapter

The Golden Calf

Kathleen Riley

in The Astaires

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738410
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932955 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738410.003.0006
The Golden Calf

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Chapter 6 looks in depth at the Astaires’ two major collaborations with George and Ira Gershwin, Lady, Be Good! in 1924 and Funny Face in 1926. The New York and London productions of each show are examined in detail, with special focus on the modernity and inventiveness of Gershwin’s music and the dance numbers performed by Fred and Adele, and on the personal relationship between George Gershwin and the Astaires. Fred and Adele again took London by storm and continued their friendship with the younger royals and leading literary and cultural figures of the day. Lady, Be Good! was the last live stage show to be performed at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square before the theatre was demolished and rebuilt as a cinema. During the London run of Lady, Be Good!, the Astaires performed before King George V and Queen Mary and their childhood idol Adeline Genée. A film version of Funny Face was proposed and the Astaires were invited to make a screen test for Paramount. The chapter also includes the Astaires’ only nightclub appearance – at New York’s Trocadero in 1925 as well as significant events in Adele’s off-stage life: her involvement in a speedboat explosion in 1928; her tempestuous engagement to Yorkshire millionaire William Gaunt; and her first meeting with her future husband, Lord Charles Cavendish.

Keywords: astaire; fred; adele; george Gershwin; ira Gershwin; lady, be good; funny Face; paramount; lord Charles Cavendish

Chapter.  6183 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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