The Gershwin Musicals – A Full List of Major Works

The Gershwin brothers play a large role in music/musical theatre history. The two wrote almost exclusively together and helped shape the direction of musical theatre in the jazz age. So with that said, here is a list of the classic George and Ira Gershwin musicals, sorted chronologically.


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Gershwin Musicals

Lady, Be Good!

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1924)

Lady, Be Good! was the first musical theatre collaboration between George and Ira Gershwin to make it to the mainstream. (To see the actual first collaboration between the two, scroll down to the “additional works” section below!) It opened on Broadway in 1924, became a hit, and ran for 330 performances.


Tip-Toes

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1925)

For the Gershwin brothers’ second collaboration, Tip-Toes did relatively well on Broadway and premiered in 1924. It was also made into a silent film in 1927.


Oh, Kay!

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Guy Bolton, PG Wodehouse

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1926)

Based on the play La Présidente, Oh, Kay! opened on Broadway in 1926. It went on to open in London’s West End in 1927.


Funny Face

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Paul Gerard Smith, Fred Thompson

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1927)

Funny Face (originally given the title Smarty) was not initially appreciated by the critics, but after some rewrites, it ended up having a relatively successful Broadway run.


Strike Up the Band

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Morrie Ryskind

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1927)

Strike Up the Band did not have the most successful start, but the show did end up opening on Broadway in 1930 after a book revisal.


Rosalie

Music: George Gershwin, Romberg  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin, Wodehouse  Book: McGuire, Bolton

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1928)

Rosalie first opened on Broadway in 1928 and was later adapted into a musical film with new songs by Cole Porter.


Treasure Girl

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Fred Thompson, Vincent Lawrence

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1928)

Although Treasure Girl had a pretty short run on Broadway and did not turn into a hit, one popular song (“I’ve Got a Crush on You”) did emerge from the show.


Girl Crazy

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Guy Bolton, John McGowan

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1930)

Girl Crazy opened on Broadway in 1930, and was very well-received. It was even adapted for film three separate times!


Of Thee I Sing

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1931)

Another great success of the Gershwin brothers, Of Thee I Sing ran for 441 performances on Broadway and was the first musical to receive the Pulitzer Prize for drama.


Pardon My English

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Herbert Fields, Morrie Ryskind

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1933)

After two Broadway hits came Pardon My English, which opened on Broadway in 1933. This show however, was not much of a success and closed soon after it opened.


Let ‘Em Eat Cake

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: George S. Kaufman

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1933)

Let ‘Em Eat Cake is the sequel to Of Thee I Sing. The show premiered on Broadway in 1933, but did not see quite the same success as its predecessor.


Porgy and Bess

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Libretto: DuBose Heyward

Musical Type: Opera (1935)

Porgy and Bess was and still is a massively successful opera that’s one of the best-known and most frequently performed today. Its film adaptation and stage revivals have won countless awards over the years, making this one of the brothers’ most popular works.


My One and Only

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Peter Stone, Timothy S. Mayer

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Pre-Contemporary (1983)

My One and Only was written to incorporate many of the hits from Gershwin musicals in the 1920s, and the show ran on Broadway in 1983 and the West End in 2002.


Crazy for You

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Ken Ludwig

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Pre-Contemporary (1992)

Adapted from the original Gershwin show Girl Crazy, Crazy for You opened on Broadway in 1992. The show ran for four years and won the Tony Award for Best Musical!


Nice Work If You Can Get It

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Nice Work If You Can Get It is another musical featuring popular songs by George and Ira Gershwin. The show had a long run on Broadway and received 10 Tony Award nominations.


An American in Paris

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Craig Lucas

Musical Type: 1951 Film/Contemporary Musical (2014)

Based on the 1951 film of the same name, An American in Paris incorporated songs from the Gershwin Brothers and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 2015!


Additional Ira Gershwin Musicals

Lady in the Dark

Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Moss Hart

Musical Type: Golden Age (1941)


Life Begins at 8:40

Music: Harold Arlen  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Revue (1934)


Additional Gershwin Musicals

These musicals were written by George and/or Ira Gershwin, but don’t have cast albums or a large amount of information available online. The following shows are listed in our Musical Archive.


1919: La-La-Lucille!  (George Gershwin)

1921: Two Little Girls in Blue  (Ira Gershwin)

1923: A Dangerous Maid  *The first collaboration between George and Ira Gershwin!

1924: Primrose

1924: Sweet Little Devil  (George Gershwin)

1925: Tell Me More

1928: That’s a Good Girl  (Ira Gershwin)

1929: Show Girl

1946: Park Avenue  (Ira Gershwin)


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Which of these Gershwin musicals is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of these Gershwin musicals? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, author of Gershwin Musicals.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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