Explore more wonderful songs from the golden age of the Great American Songbook, and the stories behind their long and unexpected lives. This season, each session takes up the work of a famous songwriting team and some of their forever-familiar songs, where daydreams and romance, razzle-dazzle, and all our “where and whens” still live.
Combining a lively lecture with a wide variety of film clips, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how these favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same.
November 1 George and Ira Gershwin
The two brothers, one a poet, the other a musical genius, were devoted to one another and each song they created. Bringing a revolutionary freshness in music and language to their songs, they wrote many of the first and greatest masterpieces of the American Songbook: “The Man I Love,” “I Got Rhythm,” “But Not For Me,” “Someone to Watch over Me.”
November 15 Rodgers and Hart
They were the most unlikely of partners, one disciplined and the other always disappearing, but their words and music were ideally suited. They produced irresistible and buoyant songs, clever and often rueful odes to love and to life. Their songs are still great staples, because who can resist “Where or When,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Blue Moon,” and “Manhattan”?
November 29 Kander and Ebb
These two enjoyed one of the longest professional partnerships in Broadway history. One was quiet, the other loved to sing at parties, and together they produced indelible new kinds of songs for the musical that were bold, brassy, provocative, and moving: “All That Jazz,” “Cabaret,” “New York, New York,” “A Quiet Thing,” “But the World Goes Round.”
Lukinson, who has won three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, now teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.