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MUSIC EDUCATION PACK

PRODUCTION ELEMENTS & CREATIVE DECISION 01


USING THIS RESOURCE PACK
This pack aims to give Music teachers and students further understanding of An American in Paris. It includes materials
and information about the production that can be used as a stimulus for discussion and practical activities.
• The resources are aimed at students who are studying courses in Music at secondary level from Key Stage 4-5, but
will also be useful for Higher Education students studying a music degree in either research or practice.
• Resources aim to help students appraise, compose and perform music and develop a music chronology through their
wider listening.
• By building on their knowledge of musical elements and context, this pack should help students reflect upon and
evaluate their own and others’ music.
• These resources have been built through conversations with secondary Music teachers and with support from
Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts.

SUMMARY OF APPLICABLE CURRICULUM AIMS FOR STUDENTS:


Summary of applicable curriculum aims for students:
• Recognise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop some awareness of musical chronology.
• Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions;
including the works of the great composers and musicians.
• Learn to compose music on their own and with others.
• Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including the inter-related dimensions:
pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
• Improvise and compose; extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres
and traditions.
• Listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians.
• Develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history.

Questions, discussion points, further reading and activities are provided in blue boxes.
Use these to challenge and apply understanding.

The symbols below are used throughout the pack to highlight any activities, ideas for discussion, or worksheets.

STUDENT WORKSHEET
TEACHER DESCRIBE
OR
INFORMATION & EXPLAIN
INFORMATION SHEET

At the top right hand corner of every page, there is an indication of which levels the page is relevant to, in bold.

A range of supporting videos can be found on the An American In Paris UK Education YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDSgPmXMTx8rDO62L7GSQmw

HOW TO USE THIS PACK 02


CONTENTS
Section 1: An introduction to An American in Paris
»
»Introduction Page 04
»
»History of the show Page 05
»
»Structure: scene outline Page 07
»
»Creative team and cast Page 08

Section 2: History of the music


»
»The Gershwin Brothers: an overview Page 09
»
»George Gershwin: further reading Page 10
» Gershwin: further reading
»Ira Page 12

Section 3: Music in An American in Paris


»
»Outline of songs, compositions and dates Page 13
»
»Character and vocal parts Page 15
»
»Article: An American Lost In Paris: Gershwin navigating the classical sphere Page 16
»
»Activity: influence and composition Page 20
»
»Synopsis and scene by scene breakdown Page 21

Section 4: Further student activities


»
»Activity 1: Listening and appraising Page 25
»
»Activity 2: Appraising and composing Page 25
»
»Activity 3: Composing Page 26
»
»Article: 1929 Gershwin taxi horn photo clarifies mystery Page 27

Section 5: Reflecting and reviewing music in An American in Paris


»
»Review questions and analysis Page 29
»
»Essay questions Page 30

Section 6: Production and rehearsal photos, set and costume designs


»
»Costumes Page 31
» Models
»Set Page 36
»
»Rehearsal Shots Page 39
»
»Production Photos Page 40

Section 7: Further information: watching, reading and listening


»
»Rob Fisher: music score adaptation Page 42
»
»Christopher Austin: orchestration Page 42
»
»Credits Page 43

CONTENTS 03
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SECTION 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
INTRODUCTION
Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility.
Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a
sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war...

The reimagining of the Oscar® winning film, An American in Paris, started its journey as a new musical in Paris before
opening on Broadway, and now plays in London’s West End at the Dominion Theatre.

With the musical score and lyrics arranged by the proficient Gershwin brothers, it features many of George and Ira’s
popular and timeless songs. The music pulls from their entire, combined musical repertoire, including I Got Rhythm,
'S Wonderful and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, making it even more of a unique production.

Performed by a company of 50 actors, dancers and musicians and directed and choreographed by Olivier® and
Tony® Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, this celebrated production played a sold out, world premiere engagement
at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris before transferring triumphantly to Broadway, where it became the most awarded
musical of the year.

View the official trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 1wt8tLjkI4w

ABOUT OUR EDUCATION PROGRAMME


Introduce your students to the unforgettable world of An American in Paris, the acclaimed stage musical created by some
of the most celebrated theatre-makers in the world. The production explores the themes of love, loss, friendship and the
healing power of art, music, and dance as the ‘City of Light’ emerges from four years of Nazi occupation.

Original Broadway Production photography by Angela Sterling.

AN INTRODUCTION TO AN AMERICAN IN PARIS 04


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HISTORY OF THE SHOW


1920s George Gershwin’s Tone Poem
In 1928, the American composer George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris, a symphonic tone
poem for orchestra, which became one of his most well known compositions. Back in New York it
premiered at Carnegie Hall, with Walter Damrosch conducting the New York Symphony Society
Orchestra.

1950s MGM Motion Picture


The idea for An American in Paris came to producer Arthur Freed when he attended a concert of
George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Freed liked the title and from that he built a musical with
Gershwin tunes after months of negotiations with Ira Gershwin, estate trustees and two different
music publishers.

Further developed by the artistic triumvirate of choreographer and star Gene Kelly, director
Vincente Minelli and screenwriter Alan J. Lerner, An American in Paris became one of the most
famous film musicals in the history of Hollywood and went on to win six Academy Awards® in 1951.

In approaching the film’s choreographic sequences, Kelly took the opportunity to make cinematic
choices that broke new ground, including the legendary 17 minute final ballet sequence. This was set
to an adaptation of George Gershwin’s original tone poem. He also discovered co-star Leslie Caron
after seeing her in Paris’ Ballet des Champs-Élysées.

1951 trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2WAMZRCbpU


Gene Kelly biography:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/gene-kelly-anatomy-of-a-dancer/516/
BBC radio recording. An American in Paris - Timecode: 06:55:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2WAMZRCbpU

2005 Christopher Wheeldon’s New York City Ballet


The musical’s director and choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, Resident Choreographer
and First Resident Artist of the New York City Ballet (NYCB), previously created a ballet set
to the Gershwin score, for the NYCB. The cast of 31 included beatniks, fashion models, tourists,
schoolgirls and even a Tour de France bicyclist in a yellow jersey. Set design included backdrops
inspired by Picasso and Braque giving a Cubist perspective of the city. The ballet was 21 minutes
in duration and premiered on May 4, 2005 at the New York State Theatre.

2013 - Ballet on Broadway


PRESENT The estates of the Gershwin brothers wanted to develop a stage musical of An American in Paris
and approached the producers Stuart Oken and Van Kaplan. They then joined forces with Jean-Luc
DAY Choplin, of Paris’ Théàtre du Châtelet, who was also seeking the rights to the stage adaptation.

Craig Lucas wrote the book for the musical, adapting Alan J. Lerner’s original screenplay for the
1951 film. He played with the narrative, moving the time period setting from the early 1950s to
1945, directly after the war had ended and Paris had just been liberated. The characters were also
developed further, altering their backstories to give different motivations and contexts.

HISTORY OF THE SHOW 05


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Christopher Wheeldon came on board after being contacted by producer Stuart Oken. The
production team wanted a ‘united vision’ to connect the directing and choreography, because there
was so much dance in the show. Using dance as a primary storytelling tool was a priority for the
production and so after six weeks of workshops, Wheeldon joined the creative team as both director
and choreographer.

The producers were also given full access to look through the entire Gershwin catalogue from the
estate and were able to flavour the new narrative with both Ira and George Gershwin’s compositions.

On 22nd November 2014, the world premiere of An American in Paris opened at the Théâtre du
Châtelet and ran until 4th January 2015. The Broadway premiere opened at the Palace Theater
March 13, 2015 and transfers to the West End in March 2017.

Craig Lucas interview:


http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/news/craig-lucas-an-american-in-paris-
interview_72305.html
Stuart Oken and Christopher Wheeldon speak about how the musical came to life:
http://www.thegreenespace.org/story/-demand-video-wqxr-presents-american-paris-preview/
Timecode: 10:00

Original Broadway Production photography by Angela Sterling.

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STRUCTURE: SCENE OUTLINE


ACT ONE
SCENE LOCATION MUSIC
Prologue
1.1 Paris Concerto In F - Orchestra
1.2 Dutois’ Café I Got Rhythm - Henri, Adam, Jerry, Company
1.3 Ballet du Châtelet Second Prelude - Orchestra
1.4 Galeries Lafayette Beginner’s Luck - Jerry
1.5 Baurel Manse, Quiet Café (Letters) The Man I Love - Lise
1.6 Along the Seine Liza - Jerry
1.7 Baurel Manse
1.8 Dutois’ Café, Paris Streets, Jerry’s Room ‘S Wonderful - Adam, Henri, Jerry, Company
1.9 The Ritz Shall We Dance? - Milo
1.10 Paris Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (a) Gallery Opening, same night Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (b) Along the Seine, next afternoon Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (c) Ballet Studio Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (d) Nightclub, later that evening Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (e) 3 locations at once: Dutois’ Café, Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
Ballet Studio, the Ritz
1.10 (f) Along the Seine Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra
1.10 (g) Bal des Beaux Arts Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture - Orchestra

ACT TWO
SCENE LOCATION MUSIC
2.1 Baurel Manse, evening For Lily Pons and Fidgety Feet - Jerry
2.2 Three Locations At Once:
2.2 (a) Baurel Manse Who Cares? - Milo, Adam, Henri
2.2 (b) The Ritz For You, For Me, For Evermore - Lise, Henri, Jerry, Milo
2.2 (c) The Dutois’ Café But Not For Me medley - Adam and Milo
2.3 Montmartre Cabaret, evening
2.3 (a) Dressing Room, Backstage I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise - Henri, Adam, Company
2.3 (b) Front of House, Montmartre Cabaret
2.4 Ballet du Châtelet
2.4 (a) Lise’s Dressing Room
2.4 (b) Onstage - ballet performed An American in Paris ballet - Orchestra
2.4 (c) After show party They Can’t Take That Away From Me - Adam, Jerry, Henri
2.5 The Seine They Can’t Take That Away From Me - Adam, Jerry, Henri

SCENE OUTLINE 07
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CREATIVE TEAM
GEORGE IRA
GERSHWIN GERSHWIN
COMPOSER LYRICIST

CRAIG CHRISTOPHER ROB


LUCAS WHEELDON FISHER
BOOK DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER MUSICAL SCORE ADAPTATION

BOB NATASHA JON 59


CROWLEY KATZ WESTON PRODUCTIONS
SET & COSTUME DESIGN LIGHTING DESIGN SOUND DESIGN PROJECTION DESIGN

TODD JOHN ANDY JONATHAN


ELLISON RIGBY BARNWELL O’BOYLE
MUSICAL SUPERVISOR MUSICAL DIRECTOR ORCHESTRA MANAGER RESIDENT DIRECTOR

CHRISTOPHER BILL DON SAM


AUSTIN ELLIOT SEBESKY DAVIS
ORCHESTRATOR ADDITIONAL ORCHESTRATIONS ADDITIONAL ORCHESTRATIONS DANCE ARRANGER

DONTEE JACQUELIN RICK EMMA


KIEHN BARRETT STEIGER HARRIS
ASSOCIATE ASSOCIATE PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR RESIDENT DANCE SUPERVISOR
DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER

JAMES PATRICK PLAYFUL STUART


ORANGE MOLONY PRODUCTIONS OKEN
UK CASTING DIRECTOR PRODUCTION MANAGER GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCER

VAN ROY MICHAEL JOSHUA


KAPLAN FURMAN McCABE ANDREWS
PRODUCER PRODUCER PRODUCER PRODUCER

UK PREMIERE CAST
ROBERT LEANNE
FAIRCHILD COPE
JERRY MULLIGAN LISE DASSIN

JANE HAYDN ZOË


ASHER OAKLEY RAINEY
MADAME BAUREL HENRI BAUREL MILO DAVENPORT

DAVID ASHLEY
SEADON-YOUNG DAY
ADAM HOCHBERG ALTERNATE
JERRY MULLIGAN

For an up to date list of cast and creatives please refer to:


https://www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.uk/cast-creatives

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SECTION 2: HISTORY OF THE MUSIC


Images courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts

THE GERSHWIN BROTHERS: AN OVERVIEW


George and Ira Gershwin will always be remembered as the songwriting
team whose voice was synonymous with the sounds and style of the
Jazz Age. From 1924 until George’s death in 1937, the brothers wrote
almost exclusively with each other, composing over two dozen scores
for Broadway and Hollywood. Though they had many individual song
hits, their greatest achievement may have been the elevation of musical
comedy to an American art form. With their trilogy of political satires – Strike Up the Band, the Pulitzer Prize-winning
Of Thee I Sing and its sequel, Let ‘Em Eat Cake (all three written with playwrights George S. Kaufman and Morrie
Ryskind) — they helped raise popular musical theatre to a new level of sophistication. Their now classic folk opera,
Porgy and Bess (co-written with DuBose Heyward) is constantly revived in opera houses and theatres throughout the
world and features George’s 20th century American classic Summertime.

George’s Concert Work


Concurrently with the Gershwins’ musical theatre and film work, George attained great success in the concert arena as
a piano virtuoso, conductor and composer of such celebrated works as Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and the
Concerto in F. George experimented with the classical sound he had acquired in Paris during the 1920s, when he first
began to write An American in Paris. Combining this with his background in mass-market jazz and blues, George forged
ahead defining his own American classic style and creating something new.

After George’s death, Ira continued to work in film and theatre with collaborators ranging from Kurt Weill and Jerome
Kern to Harold Arlen, Burton Lane, Vernon Duke and Harry Warren, among others, writing such standards as Long Ago
(and Far Away) and The Man That Got Away, both nominated for Academy Awards®.

George Gershwin’s Paris


Described by George Gershwin as an extended symphonic tone poem, the 1928 music composition, An American
in Paris, was written by Gershwin on commission from the New York Philharmonic and soon became one of his most
famous compositions. Inspired by his time spent in Paris during the 1920s, Gershwin noted,

“My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as


he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French
atmosphere.”
At approximately 20 minutes in length, the composition premiered on 13th December 1928 at Carnegie Hall under the
orchestration of Walter Damrosch. The piece was hailed by the critic Isaac Goldberg as being an “American Afternoon of
a Faun”.

An American in Paris, the Musical


The creators of An American in Paris were allowed to look through the entire Gershwin catalogue to find music that best
fit the story adapted from the 1951 film. This long and exacting process resulted in a mixed selection that includes some
of Ira’s most famous lyrics in songs like I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away from Me and ‘S Wonderful as well as
George’s orchestral compositions like the American in Paris ballet, the Second Rhapsody and the Cuban Overture.

For a clear timeline of the Gershwin brother’s life and works see here:
http://gershwin.com/gershwin-timeline/

SECTION 2: HISTORY OF THE MUSIC 09


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GEORGE GERSHWIN:
FURTHER READING
The images and text below are taken from the official George and Ira Gershwin website, www.gershwin.com, with
permission of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts.

THE JAZZ AGE METEOR


George Gershwin, born in Brooklyn, New York on September 26, 1898, was the second son of
Russian immigrants. As a boy, George was anything but studious, and it came as a wonderful
surprise to his family that he had secretly been learning to play the piano. In 1914, Gershwin left
high school to work as a Tin Pan Alley song plugger and within three years, “When You Want ‘Em,
You Can’t Get ‘Em; When You Have ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em,” was published. Though this initial
A young George effort created little interest, “Swanee” (lyrics by Irving Caesar) — turned into a smash hit by Al
Gershwin, ca. 1908 Jolson in 1919 — brought Gershwin his first real fame.

In 1924, when George teamed up with his older brother Ira, “the Gershwins” became
the dominant Broadway songwriters, creating infectious rhythm numbers and poignant
ballads, fashioning the words to fit the melodies with a “glove-like” fidelity. This
extraordinary combination created a succession of musical comedies, including Lady,
Be Good! (1924), Oh, Kay! (1926), Funny Face (1927), Strike Up The Band (1927 and
1930), Girl Crazy (1930), and Of Thee I Sing (1931), the first musical comedy to win a
Pulitzer Prize. Over the years, Gershwin songs have also been used in numerous films,
including Shall We Dance (1937), A Damsel In Distress (1937), and An American In Paris
(1951). Later years produced the award-winning “new” stage musicals My One and
Only (1983) and Crazy For You (1992), which ran for four years on Broadway.
George Gershwin with Al Jolson
EARLY DAYS and friends, ca. 1920.

Starting with his early days as a song composer, Gershwin had ambitions to compose serious music.
Asked by Paul Whiteman to write an original work for a concert of modern music to be presented
at Aeolian Hall in New York on February 12, 1924, George, who was hard at work on a musical
comedy, Sweet Little Devil, barely completed his composition in time. Commencing with the first
low trill of the solo clarinet and its spine-tingling run up the scale, Rhapsody In Blue caught the
George Gershwin public’s fancy and opened a new era in American music. In 1925, conductor Walter Damrosch
in Europe, 1928. commissioned Gershwin to compose a piano concerto for the New York Symphony Society.
Many feel that the Concerto in F is Gershwin’s finest orchestral work. Others opt
for his An American in Paris (1928) or his Second Rhapsody for piano and orchestra,
which he introduced with himself as pianist with the Boston Symphony under Serge
Koussevitzsky in 1932.

In 1926 Gershwin read Porgy, DuBose Heyward’s novel of the South Carolina Gullah
Images courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts

culture, and immediately recognized it as a perfect vehicle for a “folk opera” using
blues and jazz idioms. Porgy and Bess (co-written with Heyward and Ira) was Gershwin’s
most ambitious undertaking, integrating unforgettable songs with dramatic incident.
Porgy and Bess previewed in Boston on September 30, 1935 and opened its Broadway
run on October 10. The opera had major revivals in 1942, 1952, 1976, and 1983
and has toured the world. It was made into a major motion picture by Samuel
Goldwyn in 1959, while Trevor Nunn’s landmark Glyndebourne Opera
production was taped for television in 1993. George Gershwin at the piano,
Paris, 1928.

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GEORGE'S CAREER
George Gershwin was at the height of his career in 1937. His symphonic works
and three Preludes for piano were becoming part of the standard repertoire
for concerts and recitals, and his show songs had brought him increasing fame
and fortune. It was in Hollywood, while working on the score of The Goldwyn
Follies, that George Gershwin died of a brain tumor; he was not quite 39 years
old. Countless people throughout the world, who knew Gershwin only through
his work, were stunned by the news as if they had suffered a personal loss.
George Gershwin rehearsing with the Los Some years later, the writer John O’Hara summed up their feelings: “George
Angeles Philharmonic, 1937. Gershwin died July 11, 1937, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.”

Gershwin’s works are performed today with greater frequency than they were during his brief lifetime. His songs and
concert pieces continue to fill the pages of discographies and orchestra calendars. The Trustees of Columbia University
recognized Gershwin’s influence — and made up for his not receiving a Pulitzer for Of Thee I Sing in 1932 — when they
awarded him a special posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1998, the centennial of his birth.

George Gershwin and Ginger Rogers


on the set of Shall We Dance, 1937.
Images courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts

There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon for New York –


Sheet music cover from the original production of
Porgy and Bess, 1935.

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IRA GERSHWIN:
FURTHER READING
The images and text below are taken from the official George and Ira Gershwin website, www.gershwin.com, with
permission of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts.

THE CONTEMPLATIVE CRAFTSMAN


Ira Gershwin, the first lyricist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize — for Of Thee I Sing in 1932 — was
born in New York City on December 6, 1896. While attending the College of the City of New York,
Ira began demonstrating his lifelong interest in light verse and contributed quatrains and squibs to
newspaper columnists. In 1918, while working as the desk attendant in a Turkish bath, he tentatively
began a collaboration with his brother George, and their “The Real American Folk Song (Is a Rag)”
A young Ira Gershwin, was heard in Nora Bayes’ Ladies First. Not wanting to trade on the success of his already famous
ca. 1907. brother, Ira adopted the nom de plume of Arthur Francis, combining the names of his youngest
brother Arthur and sister Frances. Under this pen name, Ira supplied lyrics for his first Broadway show, Two Little Girls In
Blue (1921), with music by Vincent Youmans.

By 1924 Ira was ready to begin his successful and lifelong collaboration with George and dropped
the pseudonym. The Gershwins created their first joint hit, Lady, Be Good!, for Fred and Adele
Astaire and followed it with more than 20 scores for stage and screen, including Oh, Kay! for
Gertrude Lawrence; two versions of Strike Up The Band (1927 and 1930); Ethel Merman’s
introduction to Broadway, Girl Crazy (1930); Shall We Dance (1937), one of Hollywood’s stylish
pairings of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; and the triumphant folk opera, Porgy and Bess,
written with DuBose Heyward. Before and after George’s death in 1937, Ira collaborated with
Ira Gershwin in the such composers as Harold Arlen (A Star Is Born, 1954), Vernon Duke (Ziegfield Follies 1936), Kurt
early 1920s. Weill (Lady In The Dark, 1941), Jerome Kern (Cover Girl, 1944), Harry Warren (The Barkleys of
Broadway, 1949; the final Astaire/Rogers picture), Arthur Schwartz (Park Avenue, 1946), and Burton Lane (Give A Girl
A Break, 1953)

THE JEWELLER
For his film achievements, Ira Gershwin was nominated three times for an Academy Award®: for
the songs “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Long Ago (and Far Away)” (his biggest song hit
in any one year), and “The Man That Got Away.” In 1966 he received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree
from the University of Maryland, confirming the judgment of so many of his literary admirers
— writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, S. N. Behrman, P. G.
Ira Gershwin, Beverly Wodehouse, W. H. Auden, Ogden Nash, and Lorenz Hart, to name only a few — that his work was
Hills, California, 1965. not only of the first rank, but that the Gershwin “standards” set new standards for the American
musical theatre. Small wonder that their songs have been taken up by a younger generation delighted by the “new”
Gershwin musicals, My One And Only (1983) and the 1992 Tony® Award winner for best musical, Crazy For You.
Images courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts

In the years after George’s death, Ira attended to the Gershwin legacy of songs, show and film scores, and concert
works. Ira annotated all the materials that pertained to the careers of his brother and himself before donating them to
the Library of Congress to become part of our national heritage. In 1985 the United States Congress recognized this
legacy by awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to George and Ira, only the third time in our nation’s history that
songwriters had been so honored. On August 17, 1983, Ira Gershwin died at the “Gershwin Plantation,” the Beverly
Hills home that he shared with his wife Leonore, to whom he had dedicated his unique collection of lyrics, musings,
observations, and anecdotes, and the critically acclaimed Lyrics on Several Occasions (1959, 1997).

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SECTION 3:
MUSIC IN AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
OUTLINE OF SONGS, COMPOSITIONS AND DATES

Song or composition title Performed by Written by Original date

Concerto in F Orchestra George Gershwin 1925

Henri, Adam, Jerry, Composed by George Gershwin


I Got Rhythm 1930
Company with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Second Prelude Orchestra George Gershwin 1926

Composed by George Gershwin


I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck Jerry 1937
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin


The Man I Love Lise 1924
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin with


Liza Jerry 1929
lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Gus Kahn

Adam, Henri, Jerry, Composed by George Gershwin


'S Wonderful 1927
Company with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin


Shall We Dance? Milo 1937
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

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Second Rhapsody/
Orchestra George Gershwin 1931- 1932
Cuban Overture

Composed by George Gershwin


Fidgety Feet Jerry 1926
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin


Who Cares? Milo, Adam, Henri 1931
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

For You, For Me, Composed by George Gershwin


Lise, Henri, Jerry, Milo 1936-7
For Evermore with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin with


But Not For Me Adam, Milo 1930
lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Composed by George Gershwin


I’ll Build A Stairway To
Henri, Adam, Company with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and 1922
Paradise
B.G DeSylva

An American In Paris Orchestra George Gershwin 1928

They Can’t Take That Composed by George Gershwin


Adam, Jerry, Henri 1937
Away From Me with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

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CHARACTER VOCAL PARTS


LISE DASSIN MILO DAVENPORT
Female Female
Lead Lead
Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano Mezzo-Soprano

JERRY MULLIGAN HENRI BAUREL


Male Male
Lead Lead
Tenor Tenor

ADAM HOCHBERG MADAME BAUREL


Male Female
Lead Supporting
Tenor Mezzo-Soprano

ENSEMBLE
Either Gender
Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass

ENSEMBLE
Either Gender
Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass

Original Broadway Production photography by Matthew Murphy

CHARACTER VOCAL PARTS 15


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ARTICLE:
AN AMERICAN LOST IN PARIS:
GERSHWIN NAVIGATING THE
CLASSICAL SPHERE
George Gershwin is well-known for his mixed use of and a key figure in 20th century composition.(4) Ravel,
popular and traditional idioms. But what was his personal however, did not relish spoiling Gershwin’s musical voice
attitude towards contemporary composers, and how did and referred him to Nadia Boulanger, who also refused
this influence his approach towards composition? Take to tutor him. Despite these rejections, Gershwin met
a look at how An American in Paris, situated at a critical others in Paris such as Stravinsky, Milhaud, and Auric and
point in George’s career, reflects both his developing reportedly “made quite a stir.”(5) He returned home after
tastes and shifting musical ambitions. only a week abroad but remained undaunted and more
(This blog post was written by Cassidy Goldblatt and posted on The
ambitious than ever.
Gershwin Initiative’s website on September 21, 2016 -
www.music.umich.edu/ami/gershwin/?p=987. It is reproduced in this
pack with the permission of Cassidy and the University of Michigan.)

George Gershwin began his career in the streets of Tin


Pan Alley and Broadway, writing songs inspired by his
love of jazz. Yet popular genres could only capture his
attention for so long, and he soon felt the itch to expand
his compositional abilities by exploring concert music.(1)
Gershwin had not only admired established composers
such as Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, and Debussy, but he
had also developed a taste for contemporary classical Gershwin in New York with Ravel in 1928
composers such as Ravel, Stravinsky, and Berg, and tried
his own hand at writing lengthier works.(2) So was born George began studying music theory with experimental
Rhapsody in Blue, a piece which captured many audiences’ American composer Henry Cowell, likely sometime in
attentions because of its unusual juxtaposition of high- 1927.(6) That very year, he began writing an “orchestral
and low-brow genres. While many (including critics, ballet”—An American in Paris.(7) Thus, An American in Paris
composers, and conductors) were struck by his creativity, was not only Gershwin’s first major work after the 1925
however, others were unimpressed with his lack of musical Concerto in F, but it also paralleled his first attempts to
training and felt that such a “popular” composer had no truly break into the classical world and learn his craft from
place in the refined and educated compositional world.(3) established composers. By 1928, he decided to make
perhaps his most notable attempt to enter their circle,
But what of Gershwin himself? His behavior in the late taking a three-month trip to Europe to finish An American
'20s and '30s shows that he had no intention of being in Paris and “benefit [his] technic [sic] as much as possible
shunted aside so lightly. In fact, Gershwin was insatiably from a study of European orchestral methods.”(8)
curious, actively involved with contemporary composers,
and eager to learn his craft from the best teachers Ira, who was traveling with George, recorded in his
possible. Not only did he follow his American peers’ works diary that his brother was spending considerable time
and publications, but he also visited Paris in 1926 to seek networking, sharing his progress with composers and
lessons from Maurice Ravel, a highly admired composer publishers, and learning about European music circles.(9)

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In fact, George mingled with composers from all across composers such as these often admired the young
Europe, including young artists such as William Walton and composer’s character but could not ignore his distinct lack
Vladimir Dukelsky (his American pen name was Vernon of a refined musical education.
Duke) along with established figures such as Milhaud,
Honegger, and Prokofiev.(10) Gershwin not only performed
for them but also developed relationships with, and was
exposed to the music of, many of these composers.

A 1927 photo of the Golden Arrow, a famous luxury train that ran
between London and Paris. The Gershwins passed a pleasant journey
aboard it in late March of 1928, as they embarked upon the second
portion of their European adventure: a stay in Paris.
Still operating today, Théâtre Mogador was the grand hall in which
George heard Rhapsodie in Blue (according to the French program)
George worked feverishly on An American in Paris while performed in Paris. Although its technical difficulty rendered the
abroad and finished the sketch soon after returning home. piece somewhat unrecognizable in this performance, it proved to be a
He described the work as “the most modern music I’ve smashing hit with the Parisian audience, who cheered Gershwin right
yet attempted,” its beginning being “developed in typical onto stage and demanded a duet between him and the performing
pianist (M. Wiener) as an encore.
French style, in the manner of Debussy and the Six.”(11)
Scholars have also cited Gershwin’s intentional use of
George, then, achieved only part of his goal with
the bi-tonal Petrushka chord as indicative of Stravinsky’s
An American in Paris. He placed himself at the center of
and possibly Berg’s influences.(12) Clearly, the young
European composition circles, learned what he could from
composer’s time in Europe had impacted his taste and
their writing, and improved his own craft considerably. As
craft; yet he was still deeply affected by his jazz roots,
a result, he secured renewed public interest in his work
juxtaposing the piece’s European style with American blues
and even gained the respect of some composers who
and even a Charleston dance section. An American in Paris
developed an appreciation for this quirky and vivacious
garnered critical attention for its vibrancy and its overall
American artist. Yet Gershwin was still outside the circle,
improvement from Rhapsody, and American audiences
and all his efforts had not granted him the respect that
were once more thrilled with Gershwin’s sparkling artistic
Europeans and even American Modernists held for their
flair.(13) During his time in Europe, foreign audiences had
own.(16) An American in Paris, however, was only among the
been equally impressed with his spirited music and brilliant
first of Gershwin’s forays into large-scale contemporary
playing.(14) Yet some composers such as Glazunov and
composition, and his next several years saw an even greater
Prokofiev still considered Gershwin’s orchestration and
shift in stylistic interests and musical capability.ING:
counterpoint to be considerably lacking. Glazunov, whom
Gershwin admired immensely, remarked on George’s
dream of studying orchestration with him: “He wants
to study orchestration? He hasn’t the slightest
knowledge of counterpoint.”(15) Established

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FURTHER READING:
Duke, Vernon. “Gershwin, Schillinger, and Dukelsky.” The Musical Quarterly 75.4 (Winter 1991): 119–124.
Forte, Allen. “Reflections Upon the Gershwin-Berg Connection.” The Musical Quarterly 83.2 (Summer 1999): 150–168.
Gershwin, Ira. Diary: Four Americans in Paris. 1928.
Oja, Carol J. “Gershwin and American Modernists of the 1920s.” The Musical Quarterly 78.4 (Winter 1994): 646–668.
Pollack, Howard. George Gershwin : His Life and Work. Berkeley, US: University of California Press, 2007.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cassidy Goldblatt recently graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Violin
Performance and Musicology. Her performance passions center around contemporary classical
music, while her musicological interests include 13th-14th century Iberian sacred music.
Cassidy began working with the Gershwin Initiative in 2016 as a blog writer, research assistant,
and music editor.

Original Broadway Production photography by Angela Sterling.

ARTICLE: GERSHWIN NAVIGATING THE CLASSICAL SPHERE 18


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Notes:
1. Gershwin claimed in 1925 that “to express the richness of [American] 6. Pollack 127.
life fully a composer must employ melody, harmony and counterpoint as
every great composer of the past has employed them”; he believed that 7. Pollack 431.
“every composer of the past who had added anything vital to music had 8. Pollack 432 & 139.
been a well-trained musician” (Pollack 118). Later, in 1935, he stated, “I’m
going to try to develop my brains more in music to match my emotional 9. Ira reported that George was interviewed by several editors (one a
development. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven did that and therefore they man from a musical monthly [3/29/28], another a head of a German
are more powerful than such composers as Grieg and Tchaikovsky, who publishing company [4/23/28]), had his Rhapsodie in Blue performed to
neglected intellect” (Pollack 137). Such statements evidence Gershwin’s huge ovations and some
genuine ambition to become musically educated. encore performances by George himself (3/21/28 & 4/16/28), attended
2. Gershwin described Debussy, Liszt, and Chopin as “the composers who parties wherein he met composers and even made an impression on the
have shaped my career” (Pollack 28). In addition, he particularly admired Austrian Minister (4/6/28, 4/20/28, & 5/23/28), and even signed paid
Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, and Stravinsky, even contracts (4/21/28). See Ira Gershwin’s Diary.
commissioning personal caricatures of them. In 1927 he declared that 10. Ira Gershwin 4/6/28 & Pollack 139.
“my idea of music is Bach, Wagner, Beethoven and Debussy,” including
Stravinsky and Debussy in a later statement describing great concert 11. Pollack 433.
music (Pollack 136). He developed an appreciation for Berg during his 12. Forte 161. See Pollack 438 about additional Stravinskian influence in a
1928 trip to Vienna, where he heard Berg’s Lyric Suite performed and section cut from the sketch score.
promptly retrieved a copy of the score along with a personal autograph.
(Forte 151). 13. Edward Cushing from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote that the
audience responded “with a demonstration of enthusiasm impressively
*For Gershwin’s more specific thoughts on Bach, Ravel, and Debussy, see genuine in contrast to the conventional applause which new music, good
Pollack 137. and bad, ordinarily arouses” (Pollack 439). The Musical Courier praised
3. After Rhapsody in Blue’s premiere, many critics and composers his work for “cop[ying] nothing European,” claiming that Gershwin with
reacted approvingly. Conductor Willem Mengelberg argued that his music’s unavoidable optimism “surely is creating original music.”
“Gershwin had succeeded in doing what Stravinsky was trying to do” Lawrence Gilman from the Herald-Tribune wrote that the music was,
(Oja 652). [*For more on the significance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in “with its gusto and naivete, its tang of a new and urgent world, engaging,
Blue premiere coinciding with Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps New urgent, unpredictable.” Olin Downes from the Times did point out the
York premiere, see Oja 652–56]. Critic Carl Van Vechten, known for work’s lack of convincing form, but he also admitted that Gershwin had
his deep disappointment with contemporary American music, was a “combined melodic fragments with genuinely contrapuntal results”
surprisingly avid supporter of Gershwin’s music (Oja 653). E. B. Hill, (Pollack 439–440).
an older composer from Harvard, claimed that Gershwin’s Rhapsody in 14. Ira writes that George’s own playing as well as performances of
Blue was “an astonishing piece for a novice in this field.” He elaborated, Rhapsody in Blue were met with substantial ovations, sometimes with
“that [Gershwin] is uneasy in a piece of this length is obvious, but George taking three bows and performing an encore. In fact, after one
despite its defects it is better than the illusory jazz of some ‘high-brow’ performance at “the Opera,” George’s Concerto was described as “an
composers” (Oja 654). Gershwin’s works were admired later by French enormous success” in the New York Herald’s Paris edition. Ira wrote that
composers as well. Jacques Ibert remembered of his 1928 meeting with “George was compelled as usual to do his nightly dozen on the stage
Gershwin, “I was dazzled by his prodigious technique and amazed at his from the hips down” (5/29/28). (Gershwin 3/31/28, 4/4/28, 4/16/28,
melodic sense, at the boldness of his modulations, and by his audacious 4/23/28, & 5/29/28).
and often unexpected harmonic inventions” (Pollack 121). Vladimir
Dukelsy recorded that Ravel, after meeting Gershwin in 1926, “adored 15. For Glazunov’s comment, see Pollack 123. Prokofiev, who had
his piano playing” and was quite affected by the young composer (Duke previously stated, “His [Gershwin’s] piano playing is full of amusing
121). Others, however, who felt that Gershwin’s work threatened the tricks, but the music is amateurish” (Pollack 141), journaled in 1930 that
American Modernist school of composition, criticized Rhapsody in Blue “The operetta God of America, Gershwin also attempts to compose
heavily. Virgil Thompson described it as “some scraps of bully jazz sewed serious music, and sometimes he even does that with a certain flair, but
together with oratory and cadenzas out of Liszt,” “at best a piece of not always successfully” (Pollack 142). Even Gershwin’s close friend
aesthetic snobbery” (Oja 656). George Anthiel called the Rhapsody “a Vernon Dukelsky later wrote that An American in Paris “contain[s] much
very mediocre piece,” comparing it to his own Jazz Symphony which, in sparkling sound, and even some pretty dazzling fireworks (inspired by
his words, would certainly “put Gershwin in the shade” (Oja 656). Once Ravel and early Stravinsky), yet the over-all effect is not altogether what
Copland became more prominent, critics began comparing the two the composer intended.” Dukelsky described this mid/early orchestration
harshly: Oja writes that “Copland was depicted as elevating jazz into art, as “brilliant in spots, adequate in others, but on the whole top-heavy
while Gershwin kept it at the base level of popular entertainment” (656). and with too much doubling and padding,” comparing this technique
with Gershwin’s later improvement under Schillinger (Duke 121). (Note
4. Gershwin not only held interest in contemporary European music, that in 1928, although likely before An American in Paris was premiered,
collecting recordings of Stravinsky, Berg, and Schoenberg, but also stayed Stravinsky also declined Gershwin’s request for lessons much like Ravel
abreast with developments in American Modernist composition. He and Boulanger had [Pollack 121].)
followed Cowell’s New Music editions as well as the League of Composers
activities (Oja 648). 16. See Oja 655–57.
5. This according to Vernon Duke, a fellow composer and close friend of
Gershwin’s (Duke 121).

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ACTIVITY:
INFLUENCE AND COMPOSITION
Use Cassidy Goldblatt’s article to answer these questions about George Gershwin’s changing approach to
composition and the influences of Europe on his work.

1. Which two musical styles most influenced George Gershwin’s compositions?

2. Name at least three composers that George admired.

3. In which two separate years did George Gershwin travel to Paris, and how long did he spend there?

4. Who did George seek to gain advice from in Paris?

5. Why was George Gershwin considered too ‘populist’ by some of his contemporary composers?

6. Which two works did he work on immediately before writing An American in Paris?

7. What was George’s main objective on his second trip to Paris?

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SYNOPSIS AND SCENE BY SCENE


BREAKDOWN
ACT ONE
1. Prologue.
Adam an American GI, sets the scene in Paris and introduces the City of Light after the Second World War.

1.1 Paris.
Paris comes to life after its liberation from the Nazis. Jerry Milligan, an American GI and aspiring artist, decides
whether her should stay in the city or leave for home. Amidst the celebrations, turmoil and excitement of the city
emerging, Jerry catches glimpse of Lise, a local girl, and is captivated by her beauty.
• Music: Concerto in F

1.2 Dutois’ Café


After missing his train, Jerry ends up in Dutois’ Café, introducing himself to the owner and fellow American,
Adam. They are joined by Parisian Henri Baurel, an aspiring singer and dancer. Henri tells Adam and Jerry about
his aspirations to perform, as well as his desires to marry the girl he loves. The three men strike up an instant
friendship.
• Music: I Got Rhythm

1.3 Ballet du Châtelet


Adam invites Jerry to sketch the dancers as they audition at the Ballet du Châtelet, where he accompanies
the dancers. Adam meets Milo Davenport, a wealthy gallery owner and arts philanthropist. Adam sketches the
dancers as a latecomer rushes in to join the auditions - it is Lise.
• Music: Second Prelude

1.4 Galeries Lafayette


Lise arrives at her day job at the department store Galeries Lafayette. Jerry pays her a visit and ends up causing chaos on the
shopfloor. Madame Baurel tells Lise the good news that she is to be hired as the principal dancer at the Ballet du Châtelet.
• Music: Beginner’s Luck

1.5 Baurel Manse, Quiet Café (Letters)


Madame Baurel shares the good news about Lise with her son, Henri. She also urges him to propose to Lise before it’s
too late. Henri writes to Lise to declare his love and proposal. Lise writes to her mother to tell her about her new job and
her doubts about marrying Henri.
• Music: The Man I Love

1.6 Along the Seine


Lise and Jerry meet on the banks of the Seine on Lise’s way home. Jerry shows her the sketch he has drawn of her and
tries to befriend her further. Lise is reluctant but starts to fall for his charm.
• Music: Liza

1.7 Baurel Manse


Lise meets the Baurels and Henri at their house. Henri is left to propose to Lise but finds it difficult to express himself.

SYNOPSIS AND SCENE BY SCENE BREAKDOWN 21


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

1.8 Dutois’ Café, Paris Streets, Jerry’s Room


Jerry, Adam and Henri reflect on the events of the past few days. They discuss Henri’s confusing proposal to Lise.
• Music: 'S Wonderful

1.9 The Ritz


Jerry visits Milo to show her his recent picture. Milo informs Jerry that she has enquired if he can design the ballet. She also
invites him to the Bal des Beaux Arts, the annual costume ball. She takes his hand and they walk out into the night together.
• Music: Second Rhapsody ballet & Cuban Overture

1.10 Paris (Second Rhapsody Ballet)


• Music: Second Rhapsody ballet throughout scenes a-g.

1.10 (a) Gallery Opening, same night


Milo’s gallery opening. Milo introduces Jerry to Parisian high society.

1.10 (b) Along the Seine, next afternoon


Jerry sketches Lise on page after page. They get closer, enjoying each others’ company and frolicking like teenagers.
When he makes a move, Lise runs off to rehearsal, deflecting his growing ardor.

1.10 (c) Ballet Studio


Adam accompanies Lise as she dances. She loves his music, and he basks in her praise. She comments on his markedly-
improved appearance; new haircut, new clothes. Adam is inspired by Lise’s whole being; her dancing, the feeling in the
room, everything happening to him. Jerry arrives with his new sketches for the ballet. He and Lise pretend not to know
each other. Mr. Z takes a look at Jerry’s sketch for the design, hates what he sees and tears up the sketch. Jerry leaves
defeated. Milo picks up the pieces of the sketches, rearranges them, and chases after Jerry.

1.10 (d) Nightclub, later that evening


Jerry is drowning his sorrows. Milo arrives with his design rearranged. He perks up, inspired by the shapes of the cabaret
dancers. He leaves Milo and rushes home to paint.

1.10 (e) Three locations at once: Dutois’ Café, Ballet Studio, the Ritz
Henri is alive, living as his true self. Adam’s mind is elsewhere, thinking about Lise & Mr. Z rehearsing. Jerry is furiously
sketching, watched over by Milo. Jerry is completely entranced, and watching this excites Milo. In the ballet rehearsal,
Lise is unable to successfully execute a lift Mr. Z has choreographed. He asks another female dancer to demonstrate, and
she does it perfectly. Lise is humiliated and Adam tries to console her.

1.10 (f) Along the Seine, sunset


Along the Seine, Lise races to Jerry for comfort. Their love duet ends in a kiss, but Lise stops it from continuing. Jerry is
left alone, dancing his frustration out as he heads off to the Bal des Beaux Arts.

1.10 (g) Bal des Beaux Arts: the costume ball


Milo and Jerry attend the Bal des Beaux Arts together, unaware that Henri and Lise are there as well. Of course, Lise
and Jerry are drawn to each other, but Jerry is not the only man who notices Lise. Other men are pulled in around her
by her allure, and she gets whisked up in a dance frenzy and lifted high into the air, reminiscent of her lift in the ballet.
Following this, Lise and Henri run out of the masquerade and off into the night. Frustrated, Jerry finds Milo. He rips off
his own mask, rips hers off, then kisses her.

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ACT TWO
2.1 Baurel Manse, evening
The Baurels hold a party for the board of the ballet, hosted by Milo. Adam, Lise, Jerry and Henri all attend, unaware that
the others will be there. Adam nearly confesses his love for Lise and Henri is desperately trying to cover his nightclub
singing experience from his parents. Jerry unsubtly avoids being close to Milo once he realises Lise is there. Madame
Baurel uses the opportunity to announce Lise and Henri’s marriage. Jerry is distraught but cannot show it. Lise sees Jerry
and Milo kiss and walks off from Henri, distracted. Jerry chases after her, leaving Milo to dance with Henri.

Jerry and Lise meet on the terrace at moonlight. As he confronts her, Milo, Henri and Adam watch through ballroom
windows. Jerry confesses his love for Lise, and eventually she admits it back to him.
• Music: For Lily Pons and Fidgety Feet

2.2 Three Locations At Once: Baurel Manse, Ritz, Dutois’ Café


• Music: Who Cares?, For You, For Me, For Evermore and But Not For Me Medley - throughout scenes a-c

2.2 (a) Baurel Manse


Lise and Henri talk about what Henri has heard earlier in the night between Lise and Jerry.

2.2 (b) The Ritz


Milo and Jerry talk about what Milo has heard earlier in the night between Lise and Jerry. Jerry is honest with Milo and
says she deserves someone who loves her equally.

2.2 (c) The Dutois’ Café


Adam and Milo sing But Not For Me Medley, wallowing in unrequited love.

2.3 Montmartre Cabaret, evening


• Music: I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise

2.3 (a) Dressing Room, Backstage


Henri and Adam prepare for their performance. Adam confronts Henri about taking Lise to America. Henri reveals his
family connections with Lise’s parents and how the Baurel’s helped to hide Lise during the Nazi occupation. Adam gives
Henri an ultimatum to tell Lise the truth about her family’s past.

2.3 (b) Front of House, Montmartre Cabaret


Lise sits alone until Jerry comes in to tell her that he has ended his relationship with Milo. Henri performs his cabaret
with encouragement from Adam at the piano. After the performance the Baurels are brought in and led to a table.
Madame Baurel is distraught but Monsieur Baurel congratulates his son. The couple leave and Lise follows.
Adam and Jerry fight, and then Henri steps in to confront Jerry. Jerry confesses his love for Lise to his friends while
Adam tells him about the Baurel’s commitment to Lise’s family. Lise collects Henri and they leave. Milo watches on.

2.4 Ballet du Châtelet

2.4 (a) Lise’s Dressing Room


Jerry tries to deliver his sketches of Lise by the Seine to her. Milo passes them on to Lise. Lise opens them and is
captivated by what she sees. She is nervous about her performance and Milo offers words of advice.

2.4 (b) Onstage - ballet performed.


• Music: An American In Paris ballet

SYNOPSIS AND SCENE BY SCENE BREAKDOWN 23


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2.4 (c) After show party


Jerry congratulates Lise. Milo toasts the dancers and the Baurels for their support. Lise congratulates Adam, but Adam
tells Lise to think about her decision with Henri. He says that love is even more important than art.
• Music: They Can’t Take That Away From Me
• Dance styles explored:
»» Lyrical contemporary/jazz: flowing arms

2.5 The Seine


Jerry sits alone on the bench, as Lise appears to meet him. They are finally together and rush toward one another and
embrace; they begin to dance. And dance.
• Music: They Can’t Take That Away From Me

Original Broadway Production photography by Angela Sterling.

SYNOPSIS AND SCENE BY SCENE BREAKDOWN 24


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SECTION 4:
FURTHER STUDENT ACTIVITIES
ACTIVITY 1: LISTENING AND APPRAISING
Listen to two pieces from An American in Paris.
• An American In Paris by George Gershwin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU1X3Wut-k0
• 'S Wonderful by George Gershwin (instrumental only) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXPocQwKjNw

• Focus on technical musical elements, musical contexts and musical language for each piece. Do any of the
following musical features appear in the two pieces?
»» Staccato
»» Sustained notes
»» Glissando
»» Ostinato
»» Repetition
»» Sequence

• Musical elements: Describe how the following musical elements are used in this composition.
»» Rhythm and Metre
»» Harmony and Tonality

• Compare and contrast each piece looking at form and structure, stylistic features, conventions.
• Give opinions and preferences comparing the works to other 20th century music for stage and screen.
• You can also listen to another version of the soundtrack from An American in Paris here:
http://gershwin.com/publications/an-american-in-paris/
• Use this to identify different musical elements in each cover of the song, that differs to the original, or the
version played in the West End production.

ACTIVITY 2: APPRAISING AND COMPOSING


Analyse 2-3 short extracts from the Gershwin’s work. Use this collection of musical clips again -
http://gershwin.com/publications/an-american-in-paris/ (scroll to bottom of page).
• Use the variety of different styles (both in the composition itself and the performance styles of the artists to
inspire your own ‘Gershwin’ style composition)
• Use relevant ‘Gershwin’ musical elements and language

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ACTIVITY 3: COMPOSING
Listen to An American In Paris by George Gershwin. This ‘tone poem’s’ form developed in the nineteenth century usually
refers to a large-scale composition for orchestra whose structure is based on a story.
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU1X3Wut-k0

In Paris in 1926 he was first inspired by the sounds of taxi horns along the Paris boulevards, and he went shopping for
those horns in the automobile shops along the Avenue de la Grande Armee when he returned in 1928.

TASK:
Compose your own short 'tone poem' from your own environment.
• Pick out an unusual non-instrument sound and incorporate in your composition (e.g. a car horn).
• Remember to state who your audience is, or what the occasion is.
• Be creative and use your immediate environment as inspiration. Listen for unique and subtle sounds around
you.
• Use this video to help: ‘Hear the New (Old) Taxi-Horns from George Gershwin's An American in Paris!’:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuQYb5KTlSs
• You could use a storyboard template to sketch out your story first, while thinking about the melody and
structure of your composition. http://www.selfreliantfilm.com/1.78%20Storyboard%20Template.pdf

For further reading please see Mark Clague’s article on the following pages about the mystery of the pitch and
composition of the original taxi horns.

Original Broadway Production photography by Matthew Murphy.

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ARTICLE:
1929 GERSHWIN TAXI HORN
PHOTO CLARIFIES MYSTERY
(The orginal article was written by Mark Clague and is taken from The
Gershwin Initiative, at The University of Michigan blogpost here:
http://www.music.umich.edu/ami/gershwin/?p=715. It is reproduced
in this pack with the permission of Mark and the University of
Michigan.)

A photo uncovered in the Ira and Leonore Gershwin


Archive sheds a revealing light on the question of what
pitches composer George Gershwin intended to be used
Gershwin's handwritten notation for the first appearance of a taxi horn
for his iconic taxi horn passages in the symphonic tone
in measure 30 of An American in Paris. Courtesy George Gershwin
poem An American in Paris (1928). As described in an
Family Trusts.
article by Michael Cooper in The New York Times as
well as on NPR’s All Things Considered, the forthcoming At issue is the composer’s ambiguous notation in which
George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition of An American a single-line of music notation instructs one of the
in Paris suggests that the traditional realization of the orchestra’s percussionists to sound each taxi horn blast.
iconic taxi horn parts used by orchestras today is incorrect. While clearly indicating rhythm, the notation does not
Rather than sounding the pitches A, B, C, and D, I argue use a full 5-line staff that indicates pitch. Instead a circled
that the correct pitches are captured on a Feb. 4, 1929 letter identifies which of the four taxi horns George
Victor Recording supervised by the composer and should purchased in Paris is to be used. The letters used are
be Ab and Bb (above middle C), high D (a third above A, B, C, & D. The composer offers no explanation of
that) and low A (a third below middle C). the notation in his handwritten or published scores and
musicians since at least the 1930s have assumed that the
letters indicate the sounding musical pitches (as if on a
piano and thus forming the first four notes of an A-minor
scale). I think instead that George simply labeled his
four souvenir horns with a letter and handed them to the
performers for the New York Philharmonic premier and
subsequent Cincinnati Symphony performances with the
simple instructions — when the score says “A” play that
first one labeled A, when the score says “D,” play the
fourth one labeled D. Unfortunately, George’s original taxi
horns have been lost and the composer left no description
of the pitches, at least nothing that has yet been found,
before his death at the age of 38.

Snapped in the same month the Victor recording was


made, the February 1929 photo depicts composer George
Gershwin at left with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Composer George Gershwin (left) and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra percussionist James Rosenberg, who played the taxi horns
percussionist James Rosenberg holding the four taxi horns used in the for the orchestra’s performance of An American in Paris.
orchestra’s March 1 & 2, 1929 performances of An American in Paris. The taxi horns shown, especially the small and large horns,
Photo courtesy of Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts. are fully consistent with the pitches heard on the 1929
recording and contradict the traditional A, B, C, D
pitch sequence.

ARTICLE: 1929 GERSHWIN TAXI HORN PHOTO CLARIFIES MYSTERY 27


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

When squeezed, taxi horns sound only a single inflexible The horns depicted in the photograph support a
tone and this pitch is generally proportional to instrument preference for the 1929 recording’s pitches in that two
size (with adjustments for tuning the metal reed of the horns are of similar size, one is significantly smaller, and
horn). If the composer’s A, B, C, D notations of the taxi a fourth is dramatically larger. This is consistent with the
horn part were meant to indicate pitches A through D, interpretation of Gershwin’s alphabet notation not as pitch
the taxi horns should be in a gradual sequence of size from names, but as simple labels for the sequence of taxi horns
large to small. Instead they are both too varied in size and to be used by the percussionist. In this case the two horns
in the wrong order. of similar size would have sounded Ab and Bb which are
adjacent steps on the musical scale. The small horn would
sound the high D, and the unusually large horn would
sound the low A.

The ordering of the horns is also revealing. The taxi horns


are secured to a wooden board and (if read from the
player’s left to right) are placed in the precise ordering
of medium large, medium small, small, and very large
that would sound the same Ab, Bb, high D, low A pitches
heard on the 1929 recording. This precisely matches the
sequence of labels (A, B, C, & D) given in the score. It
suggests that Gershwin took care to mount the taxi horns
to reduce the chances that a percussionist would make an
error sounding the unusual effect.
Gershwin taxi horns showing label and pitch as identified by editor Mark
Clague as consistent with the new critical edition. Labels indicated in Mystery solved? It would seem both that the horns
Gershwin’s score are given in blue; resulting pitches heard on the 1929 depicted confirm the sequence of pitches heard on the
recording are in red. 1929 recording, and—maybe more importantly—that they
unequivocally affirm that the alphabet notation names did
not indicate pitch.

Original Broadway Production photography by Matthew Murphy.

ARTICLE: 1929 GERSHWIN TAXI HORN PHOTO CLARIFIES MYSTERY 28


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

SECTION 5: REFLECTING ON
AND REVIEWING MUSIC IN
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
REVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANALYSIS
Use this worksheet after seeing the live performance to analyse and appraise the musical elements in
An American in Paris

1. OVERVIEW:

1a. Summarise the plot in 5-10 sentences

1b. Describe the style of the production

1c. Did it remind you of any other productions you have seen or know?

1d. What was your instant personal response to the music?

1e. What theatrical devices and conventions were used?

REFLECTING AND REVIEWING MUSIC 29


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

2. DIRECTION AND MUSIC:

2a. Was the music interesting and varied?

2b. What do you think the musical director was trying to convey through the music?

2c. Name three ways in which the music is important to the narrative?

2d. How does the music enhance the production elements (set, lighting, projections, costume)

2e. Name three ways in which the Gershwins’ music affects the performers?

2f. How was the mood of excitement and apprehension created in the opening composition during the prologue.

ESSAY QUESTIONS
Gershwin incorporated elements of jazz and popular music into his classical concert works for orchestra.
Demonstrate and discuss how successful he was in reconciling his jazz and popular music influences with
those from the western classical tradition, as found in An American in Paris.

REFLECTING AND REVIEWING MUSIC 30


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

COSTUMES
Jerry Adam

Madame Baurel

Lise

Henri Baurel

© Copyright Bob Crowley

COSTUMES 31
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

COSTUMES
Prologue street scenes

Milo Madame Baurel

The Baurels Baurel’s party guests

© Copyright Bob Crowley

COSTUMES 32
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COSTUMES
Lise work place- Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette - Fantasy Fashion Galeries Lafayette - Fantasy swimwear

Galeries Lafayette - Ladies who lunch / customers Baurel workers and shop workers

© Copyright Bob Crowley

COSTUMES 33
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

COSTUMES
An American in Paris ballet

Ballet de Paris

Baurel party- Russian ballet

© Copyright Bob Crowley

COSTUMES 34
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

COSTUMES

© Copyright Bob Crowley

COSTUMES 35
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

SET MODELS
Ballet sets

© Copyright Bob Crowley

SET MODELS 36
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

SET MODELS
Parisian street scenes

© Copyright Bob Crowley

SET MODELS 37
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

SET MODELS
Other scenes

© Copyright Bob Crowley

SET MODELS 38
KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

REHEARSAL PHOTOS

REHEARSAL PHOTOS 39
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PRODUCTION PHOTOS

Original Broadway Production photography by Angela Sterling.

Original Broadway Production photography by Matthew Murphy.

PRODUCTION PHOTOS 40
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SECTION 7: FURTHER INFORMATION:


WATCHING, READING AND LISTENING
WATCH:

The Greene Space:


Cast and Creatives: Christopher Wheeldon, Rob Fisher and Stuart Oken
http://www.thegreenespace.org/story/-demand-video-wqxr-presents-american-paris-preview/
Rob Fisher, Musical Score Adaptation, is interviewed throughout but use the timecodes above for relevant
comments on musical style and process.
T/C: 18: 48, 25:06, 26:58, 59:53

The Gershwin Initiative, University of Michigan:


Kristen Clough, from The Gershwin Initiative talking about George Gershwin's time visiting Paris the 1920s and his
relationships with French composers. Clough also speaks in detail about the historical and political situation in France
that would have affected George Gershwin’s musical style at this time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBl23v31AJg
T/C: 00:54:00 - 01:03:30

Theatre Talk: Robert Kimble - Theatre Historian - and Rob Fisher


“An American in Paris” is coming to Broadway as a new musical adaptation of the 1951 Academy Award® winning
film, itself inspired by George Gershwin's 1928 symphonic poem. The guests are theatre historian Robert Kimball
(author of “The Gershwins”), and Rob Fisher, Musical Score adaptor and supervisor of the show, to discuss the
composer and how his work is being adapted anew.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ExR6Yz0G8

LISTEN:

Interview with Mark Clague


Mark Clague is Associate Professor of Musicology at the U of M School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and he will be
the editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition.
http://michiganradio.org/post/university-michigan-was-selected-gershwin-initiative
Please go to http://gershwin.com/music-search/ to search through the musical archive of both Gershwin brothers.

RESOURCES:

List of musical terms


http://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/music/gcse/wjec-eduqas-gcse-music-spec-from-2016.pdf?language_
id=1&dotcache=no&dotcache=refresh
See Appendix C pg 433

WATCHING, READING AND LISTENING 41


KS4 KS5 BTEC HE TEACHER

MUSICAL CREATIVE INPUT:


ROB FISHER
MUSICAL SCORE ADAPTATION
Role: For An American in Paris, Fisher had the central role of taking the compositions of George Gershwin and arranging
and adapting the scores for use within the musical. A musical score adaptation is necessary when a production is using
existing compositions in a new way.

Biography:
Links:
Rob Fisher is an internationally recognised music director,
conductor and pianist, and a leading figure in American The Greene Space: Cast and Creatives:
music and musical theatre. He has been a guest of nearly Christopher Wheeldon, Rob Fisher and Stuart Oken
every major orchestra in the US as conductor or pianist. (Producer)
http://www.thegreenespace.org/story/-demand-video-
Fisher is currently represented on Broadway as the score
supervisor and arranger for An American in Paris (Grammy wqxr-presents-american-paris-preview/W
nomination). Rob is interviewed throughout but particular
moments include: T/C: 18: 48, 25:06, 26:58, 59:53.

Sitzprobe at the Théâtre du Châtelet


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmEsfzcHfXs

CHRISTOPHER AUSTIN
ORCHESTRATOR
Role: An orchestrator writes scores based on a composer’s drafts. They also transpose music originally
written for one voice or instrument to be performed by another or multiple voice types or instruments.

Biography:
Links:
Christopher Austin is a conductor and orchestrator Sitzprobe at the Théâtre du Châtelet
whose career includes credits from the Royal Opera
House. Austin has worked with Christopher Wheeldon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmEsfzcHfXs
previously on Wheeldon’s adaptation of Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland. Theatre Talk: Robert Kimble (Theatre Historian)
and Rob Fisher
Austin is a professor in composition, orchestration and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ExR6Yz0G8
conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2009 his
work there was the subject of the BBC documentary ‘How
to Be a Composer’. The Greene Space: Cast and Creatives
http://www.thegreenespace.org/story/-demand-video-
wqxr-presents-american-paris-preview/

Print
Royal Opera House profile
http://www.roh.org.uk/people/christopher-austin

MUSICAL CREATIVE INPUT 42


CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We’d like to thank the following Music teachers for their invaluable input into this pack:
• Helen Greenham
• Matthew Lorentzen
• Emily Leader
• Amy Stothard

And Tim Kashini and his team at IT Mentors.

We would also like to thank The Official George and Ira Gershwin website, www.gershwin.com, with text taken with
permission of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts.

We are also indebted to Jessica Getman and Kristen Clough from The Gershwin Initiative at the University of Michigan
for their insight and knowledge.

Other credits:
An American Lost in Paris: Gershwin navigating the classical sphere, by Cassidy Goldblatt, September 21, 2016.
1929 Gershwin Taxi Horn Photo Clarifies Mystery, by Mark Clague, March 5, 2016.

These resources were created by Rebecca Yeoh at The ArtsLink, on behalf of An American in Paris.
Resources designed by feastcreative.com

CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 43