Producers announced that April 24 will be the official opening night of a “brand new” Gershwin musical on Broadway, Nice Work If You Can Get It. Following on the heals of the upcoming much-debated revised version of their opera with DuBose Heyward Porgy and Bess, it’s a striking output of fresh material from two gentlemen who are…well…less than fresh themselves. (George passed in 1937 and Ira in 1983.)
How do they do it? Clearly, they don’t. Using songs both famous and unsung from the Gershwin catalog, a talented set of collaborators has gathered on Nice Work to create a new show including Joe DiPietro (Memphis) with a bootlegger and bridegroom themed script, Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) on direction & choreography duty and Matthew Broderick & Kelli O’Hara starring.
And it’s not an unprecedented move. Can you name the other two hit Broadway musicals cobbled together from the Gershwin catalog? Watch some grin-inducing dancing from the answers in the video clips below…
My One and Only (1983): With a new book by Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer, this show brought the delightfully gangly pair of Tommy Tune and Twiggy to the stage in an escalating series of whimsical tap numbers. Their desert island splash dance above is truly lovely in its sense of playful discovery. (Side Note: I learned to tap in the chorus of a college production of this show starring Jeri Ryan of Star Trek Voyager fame; my shins have still not recovered from the epic closing number “Kicking the Clouds Away”.)
Crazy for You (1992): A reworking of 1930’s Girl Crazy by new bookwriter Ken Ludwig, this smash is probably most famous for catapulting choreographer Susan Stroman to super-stardom with her prop-wielding, wildly inventive dances. I, however, loved it most because it starred The Little Mermaid (actress Jodi Benson) and I liked to imagine Ariel singing “Someone to Watch Over Me” to her Prince. Draw your own conclusions about what that said about me.