Words By... Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook

Any singer aspiring to be a vocal interpreter of the Great American Songbook is destined to become intimately familiar with Gershwin compositions. Songs such as "I Got Rhythm," "Embraceable You," and "Someone to Watch Over Me" are, after all, essential standards for any vocalist's repertoire. But while casual listeners tend to associate Gershwin tunes with the composer George Gershwin, it was his older brother, Ira, who penned the revered lyrics. With Words By... Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook, Park Square Theatre shines a spotlight on the eminently gifted lyricist. Conceptualized and directed by Joseph Vass, Words By... retraces Ira Gershwin's formative years, his famed collaborations with his brother, and his subsequent success with other composers. Embodying the titular subject is Ari Hoptman, a versatile performer whose ability to project expressive depths beneath a reserved exterior will serve the famously modest character well. Since spoken narrative really can't be expected to capture the intangible spark of musical creation, however, much of the production rides along an incomparable catalog of songs. Featuring 25 compositions sung by Jennifer Grimm and T. Mychael Rambo to the accompaniment of a live band, the production recognizes that an appropriate biographical profile of Ira Gershwin must be drawn through the lyrics of a song. The production is in previews through December 5. No performance on Christmas. (Photo by Petronella Ytsma)
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 29. Continues through Dec. 29, 2013

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