Sunday, March 10th, 2013

My Darling B took me to see The Gershwin Songbook at the Overture Center today. Other than a lot of songs by George and Ira, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The show was produced by an acting troupe called Four Seasons Theatre and the advertising didn’t make it clear whether they were going to just sing, put on a play or what.

When we got there, the stage was set with a piano, a drum set and a few other instruments for a quartet that came out shortly to provide the music. The whole troupe came out to sing Strike Up The Band as an introduction, then each person in the troupe took turns singing about two-dozen Gershwin tunes. One of the three founding members of the troupe stepped out from time to time to provide a little color commentary, most of it stuff that I’d never heard before. I didn’t know, for instance, that George Gershwin died so young.

And that was about it: simple and fun. We recognized quite a lot of the tunes but were surprised in the end at how many we had never heard before. B and I are both Gershwin fans and yet somehow neither of us had ever heard of songs like Blah Blah Blah or Vodka before this, making us both feel like Gershwin newbies.

The highlight of the evening for me was when a pair of singers made a guest appearance on stage to perform several numbers from Porgy and Bess. Ariana Douglas opened with a mournful rendition of Summertime, then stepped away while Gregory Brumfield sang a spirited I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin. Then together they sang a version of Bess, You Is My Woman Now that got me all misty-eyed. It’s one of my very favorite love songs, after all, and I’d never seen it performed. That was worth the price of admission all by itself.

Gershwin | 6:38 am CST
Category: entertainment, music, My Darling B, O'Folks, play
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