Stories & Cast Interviews

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

About S Wonderful

Posted by: pia on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
The cast of  'S Wonderful!
It’s now over 70 years since George Gershwin died at the young age of 39, but his music can still be heard around the world. Gershwin will always be remembered for the pop songs that have become standards but he also wrote important works such as “Rhapsody in Blue,” and “An American in Paris.” While George Gershwin was the composer, his talented lyricist brother, Ira wrote the words for many of the best known and loved songs. The Gershwin brothers also collaborated on musicals: ‘Girl Crazy’ (1930); ‘Of Thee I Sing’ (1931), which was the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize; ‘Let ‘Em Eat Cake’ and ‘Pardon My English’ both in1933. George Gershwin’s crowning achievement, was his work on the opera ‘Porgy and Bess,’ which is regarded, rightly, as one of the most important American operas ever composed and is currently running on Broadway.
It is interesting to note that these two musical giants once lived, if even briefly, in Ossining .George and Ira Gershwin leased the forty-acre Chumleigh Farm estate (Shubert house) on Hoags Cross Road out past Maryknoll on Pinesbridge RoadRay Roderick conceived, wrote and directed tonight’s performance of ’S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical” Roderick was approached by officials of the Gershwin estate to create a new Gershwin musical.  Roderick said yes, “Most Americans have a love affair with George and Ira Gershwin and what they did to American theater."
The show's songbook
includes the familiar, "A Foggy Day," "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" -- to others that are less well known but no less lovely -- "Just Another Rhumba," "Soon" and "By Strauss."
"The trick is to tell the stories with less dialogue. There's an economy of dialogue that sets up the story. Then, song and dance can do the work," Roderick says. "I decided I wanted to tell stories that let the music and lyrics do most of the work all night. That's what the audience is there for."
‘S Wonderful is a series of five mini-musicals, with story lines that travel through the decades and around the world. Each tells a different story of young love. After beginning in 1916 in Manhattan's Tin Pan Alley," The show journeys to New Orleans in the 1950s, Paris in the 1930s, and Hollywood in the 1940s as well as in the present. "I picked worlds where the stories could be told and  inspired by the music," Roderick says. When he began creating “'S Wonderful," Roderick planned to write an ensemble piece that was not age-specific. But during developmental work with performing arts students at PointParkUniversity, he came see that the stories worked best when the characters were young. "I learned how beautiful these stories are with youth," he says. "It brings to the table the discovery that the heart of every story is that someone discovers what love is all about for them."