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Musicals of the 1920s



George Gershwin

Throughout the 1920s, George Gershwin, often with his brother Ira as lyricist, wrote some of the Jazz
Age's best remembered scores. The plots may have been slight (or nonsensical) but the songs, performed
by stars such as Fred and Adele Astaire, Ethel Merman, Victor Moore, and Gertrude Lawrence, became
American standards.


Gershwin, George. But Not for Me.
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
Girl Crazy. Other notable songs in the show include I Got Rhythm and Embraceable you.
Cover Illustration: jorj (Ben and Georgianna Harris).
New York: New World Music Inc., 1930.
Sheet Music Collection

Gershwin, George. Fascinating Rhythm.
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
Lady, Be Good! Other notable songs in the show include The Man I Love and Oh, Lady Be Good.
New York: Harms, 1924.
Sheet Music Collection

Gershwin, George. Someone to Watch Over Me.
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Oh, Kay! Other notable songs in the show include Do-Do-Do and Clap Yo' Hands.
New York: Harms, Inc., 1926.
Sheet Music Collection

Also:
Henderson, Ray. The Birth of the Blues.
Lyrics by B. G. De Sylva and Lew Brown.
George White's Scandals.
Cover illustration: Gil Spear.
New York: Harms, Inc., 1926.
Sheet Music Collection



Show Boat

Neither a musical comedy nor an operetta, Show Boat is a musical play, the first
of its kind. It was also unusual in that it was adapted from a straight novel, and in
that the story spanned several decades, and most importantly, in that black and
white characters and actors partipated.


Kern, Jerome. Show Boat. Vocal Score. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd.
Kern's own copy, gift of Lyman C. Bloomingdale, class of 1935.
New York: Harms, Inc., 1927.
Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays

Kern, Jerome. Ol' Man River. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd.
New York: T. B. Harms, 1927.
Sheet Music Collection



African-American Revues

The African-American musical stage revived in the1920s, with the work of
Eubie Blake and Fats Waller showcased in Shuffle Along, Keep Shufflin',
revues such as the Blackbirds series, and nightclub performances transferred
to Broadway. The plots (if any existed) were not the point; the dancing and,
particularly, the music, predominated. Notable songs from these shows also
included I'm Just Wild About Harry, Love Will Find a Way, and That Lindy Hop.


Blake, Eubie. Memories of You. Words by Andy Razaf.
Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1930.
New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., 1930.
Sheet Music Collection

Waller, Thomas "Fats". Ain't Misbehavin'. Words by Andy Razaf.
Connie's Hot Chocolates.
Cover illustration: Leff.
New York: Mills Music, 1929.
Sheet Music Collection

Also:
Akst, Harry. Am I Blue?. Lyrics by Grant Clarke.
Sung by Ethel Waters in the film On With the Show.
New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1929.
Sheet Music Collection
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