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Ira Gershwin
Librettist

Biography
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)” was heard in Nora Bayes' LADIES FIRST. Not wanting to trade on the success of his already famous 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 such composers as Harold Arlen (A STAR IS BORN, 1954), Vernon Duke (ZIEGFELD FOLLIES 1936), Kurt 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).

Productions
Click company name to view productions details.
COMPANYTITLEDATES
North Carolina OperaPorgy and Bess4/14/2023 - 4/16/2023
Opera CarolinaPorgy and Bess1/22/2023 - 1/28/2023
Opera In The RockPorgy and Bess11/19/2022 - 11/20/2022
Des Moines Metro OperaPorgy and Bess7/1/2022 - 7/24/2022
North Carolina OperaPorgy and Bess6/28/2022 - 6/28/2022
Greensboro OperaPorgy and Bess1/21/2022 - 1/23/2022
Metropolitan OperaPorgy and Bess10/31/2021 - 12/12/2021
New Orleans Opera AssociationPorgy and Bess4/30/2021 - 5/1/2021
Washington National OperaPorgy and Bess3/9/2020 - 3/11/2020
Atlanta OperaPorgy and Bess3/7/2020 - 3/10/2020
Metropolitan OperaPorgy and Bess1/8/2020 - 10/16/2019
Cincinnati OperaPorgy and Bess7/20/2019 - 7/28/2019
The Cleveland OperaPorgy and Bess6/1/2019 - 6/1/2019
Fort Worth OperaPorgy and Bess4/26/2019 - 4/30/2019
Seattle OperaPorgy and Bess8/11/2018 - 8/25/2018
Glimmerglass FestivalPorgy and Bess7/7/2017 - 8/21/2017
Opera BirminghamPorgy and Bess9/16/2016 - 9/18/2016
Lyric Opera of ChicagoPorgy and Bess11/11/2014 - 12/19/2014
Opéra de MontréalPorgy and Bess1/1/2014 - 2/2/2014
Cincinnati OperaPorgy and Bess6/28/2012 - 7/8/2012
OperaDelawarePorgy and Bess5/4/2012 - 5/4/2012
Seattle OperaPorgy and Bess7/7/2011 - 8/20/2011
Atlanta OperaPorgy and Bess2/2/2011 - 3/6/2011
New Orleans Opera AssociationPorgy and Bess10/15/2010 - 10/17/2010
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance Porgy and Bess10/10/2010 - 10/30/2010
Opera CarolinaPorgy and Bess5/5/2010 - 5/16/2010
Virginia OperaPorgy and Bess4/4/2010 - 5/8/2010
El Paso OperaPorgy and Bess3/13/2010 - 3/13/2010
San Antonio OperaPorgy and Bess3/5/2010 - 3/5/2010
Washington National OperaPorgy and Bess3/3/2010 - 4/4/2010
San Francisco OperaPorgy and Bess6/6/2009 - 6/27/2009
Baltimore Opera CompanyPorgy and Bess5/5/2009 - 5/17/2009
Pittsburgh Festival OperaPorgy and Bess2/2/2009 - 2/15/2009
Lyric Opera of ChicagoPorgy and Bess11/11/2008 - 12/18/2008
San Francisco OperaPorgy and Bess6/6/2008 - 6/27/2008
Opera BirminghamPorgy and Bess4/4/2008 - 4/26/2008
Opera ModestoPorgy and Bess2/2/2008 - 3/3/2008
Dallas OperaPorgy and Bess2/2/2008 - 3/3/2008
Opera QueenslandPorgy and Bess8/2/2007 - 8/8/2007
State Opera of South AustraliaPorgy and Bess7/7/2007 - 7/14/2007
Seagle FestivalCrazy for You7/6/2007 - 7/8/2007
Los Angeles OperaPorgy and Bess5/5/2007 - 5/20/2007
Tulsa OperaPorgy and Bess4/4/2007 - 4/22/2007
Opera PhiladelphiaPorgy and Bess2/2/2007 - 2/24/2007
Opera MemphisPorgy and Bess10/10/2006 - 10/14/2006
Detroit OperaPorgy and Bess10/10/2006 - 11/11/2006
Opera PacificPorgy and Bess10/5/2006 - 10/10/2006
Mobile OperaPorgy and Bess1/1/2006 - 1/28/2006
University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of MusicCrazy for You11/1/2005 - 11/19/2005
Atlanta OperaPorgy and Bess11/1/2005 - 11/19/2005
Natchez Opera FestivalPorgy and Bess5/1/2005 - 5/7/2005
Edmonton OperaPorgy and Bess5/1/2005 - 5/8/2005
Pensacola OperaPorgy and Bess2/1/2005 - 2/18/2005
Piedmont OperaPorgy and Bess4/1/2004 - 4/6/2004
Opera CarolinaPorgy and Bess2/1/2004 - 2/8/2004
Opera TampaPorgy and Bess11/1/2003 - 11/15/2003
Nashville OperaPorgy and Bess2/28/2003 - 3/3/2003
Shreveport OperaPorgy and Bess2/1/2003 - 2/1/2003
Amarillo OperaPorgy and Bess11/1/2002 - 11/10/2002
Opera IdahoPorgy and Bess10/10/2002 - 10/25/2002
Orlando OperaPorgy and Bess4/4/2002 - 4/28/2002
New Orleans Opera AssociationPorgy and Bess4/4/2002 - 4/13/2002
Fort Worth OperaPorgy and Bess3/3/2002 - 3/17/2002
New York City OperaPorgy and Bess3/2/2002 - 3/22/2002
Skylight Music TheatreLady Be Good3/1/2002 - 3/22/2002
Opera PhiladelphiaPorgy and Bess4/4/2001 - 5/6/2001
Dayton Performing Arts Alliance Porgy and Bess3/3/2001 - 3/11/2001
Opera BostonLady in the Dark10/10/2000 - 10/21/2000
Indianapolis OperaPorgy and Bess10/10/2000 - 10/14/2000
Opera ColoradoPorgy and Bess4/29/2000 - 4/29/2000
Virginia OperaPorgy and Bess4/4/2000 - 4/30/2000
New York City OperaPorgy and Bess3/3/2000 - 3/25/2000
Mercury Opera RochesterPorgy and Bess10/22/1999 - 10/22/1999
Augusta OperaPorgy and Bess3/13/1999 - 3/13/1999
Detroit OperaPorgy and Bess5/5/1998 - 6/14/1998
Connecticut OperaPorgy and Bess4/4/1998 - 4/26/1998
Eugene OperaPorgy and Bess4/2/1998 - 4/4/1998
Mercury Opera RochesterPorgy and Bess1/1/1998 - 1/11/1998
State Opera of South AustraliaPorgy and Bess4/4/1997 - 4/4/1997
Opera ModestoPorgy and Bess2/2/1997 - 2/9/1997
Atlanta OperaOf Thee I Sing7/7/1996 - 7/19/1996
Opera CarolinaPorgy and Bess4/4/1996 - 4/27/1996
Madison OperaOf Thee I Sing11/4/1995 - 11/11/1995
Portland OperaPorgy and Bess7/7/1995 - 7/29/1995
Los Angeles OperaPorgy and Bess6/6/1995 - 6/18/1995
San Francisco OperaPorgy and Bess5/1/1995 - 6/1/1995
The Cleveland OperaPorgy and Bess4/1/1995 - 4/9/1995
Lyric Opera San DiegoOh! Kay!3/1/1995 - 4/1/1995
San Diego Opera AssociationPorgy and Bess3/1/1995 - 3/12/1995
Seattle OperaPorgy and Bess3/1/1995 - 3/25/1995
Dallas OperaPorgy and Bess2/1/1995 - 2/26/1995
Houston Grand OperaPorgy and Bess1/1/1995 - 2/1/1995
Orlando OperaPorgy and Bess1/1/1994 - 1/9/1994
Lyric Opera San DiegoLady Be Good3/1/1993 - 3/28/1993
Edmonton OperaPorgy and Bess3/1/1993 - 3/5/1993
Opera SaratogaPorgy and Bess8/1/1992 - 8/9/1992
Virginia OperaPorgy and Bess3/1/1992 - 3/20/1992
Opera RoanokePorgy and Bess2/1/1992 - 2/17/1992
Opera MemphisPorgy and Bess10/1/1991 - 10/14/1991
Skylight Music TheatreLady in the Dark9/1/1991 - 10/1/1991
Indianapolis OperaPorgy and Bess9/1/1991 - 9/22/1991


Artist Information

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