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George GershwinHis Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248649

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248649.001.0001

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

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

(p.549) Chapter Thirty Let ʼEm Eat Cake (1933) and Variations on “I Got Rhythm” (1934)
George Gershwin

Howard Pollack

University of California Press

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

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