Chapter

<i>Of Thee I Sing</i> (1931)

Howard Pollack

in George Gershwin

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248649
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248649.003.0027
Of Thee I Sing (1931)

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Of Thee I Sing is a musical collaboration between the Gershwin brothers, George Kaufmann, and Morrie Ryskind. Commentators have traditionally viewed it as a political satire with the story concerning John P. Wintergreen, who runs for President of the United States on the “love” platform. The Gershwins correspondingly blended the romantic and the satirical in ways that surpassed anything they had previously attempted along these lines, an achievement epitomized by the title number, which marvelously operates as at once a love song and a patriotic hymn. The show proved a complete triumph for the Gershwins, notwithstanding a few critics who found it hard to warm up to such a sardonic score. On May 3, 1932, the New York Times announced that Columbia University's School of Journalism had awarded Kaufman, Ryskind, and Ira Gershwin the Pulitzer Prize for the best American play of 1931.

Keywords: George Kaufman; Morrie Ryskind; George Gershwin; presidential election; political satire; John P. Wintergreen; Ira Gershwin; Pulitzer Prize

Chapter.  8417 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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