<i>Let ʼEm Eat Cake</i> (1933) and <i>Variations on “I Got Rhythm”</i> (1934)

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:
Let ʼEm Eat Cake (1933) and Variations on “I Got Rhythm” (1934)

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In late 1932, as George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind considered writing a sequel to Of Thee I Sing, Kaufman's wife, Beatrice, suggested picking up the story with John P. Wintergreen's reelection campaign following his first term as president. They started work on the show in early 1933, announcing its title, Let 'Em Eat Cake, in April. The Kaufman–Ryskind book remains one of the most unusual in the history of the American musical: a caustic satire of the American body politic. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin and Harry Askins launched an extensive 1934 road tour featuring the composer and the Leo Reisman Orchestra performing not only the Rhapsody but a new work composed specifically for the occasion, the Variations on “I Got Rhythm” for piano and orchestra.

Keywords: Thee I Sing; George S. Kaufman; Morrie Ryskind; John P. Wintergreen; American musical; political satire; Harry Askins

Chapter.  7540 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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