Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mae West: Jerome Kern

MAE WEST was cast in "A Winsome Widow," a Broadway success in 1912.
• • Produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., "A Winsome Widow" had several numbers created by a diverse group of songwriters and composers, for instance, Jerome Kern, then 27 years old.
• • A native New Yorker like Mae West, Jerome Kern [27 January 1885 — 11 November 1945] was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music who was raised in Manhattan. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "A Fine Romance," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "All the Things You Are," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Long Ago (and Far Away)," "Who?" — — and songs intended to be performed in "Winsome Widow" by Mae West. During his long career, Kern collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and E. Y. Harburg.
• • In the fall of 1945, Kern returned to New York City to oversee auditions for a new revival of Show Boat, and began to work on the score for what would become the musical Annie Get Your Gun, to be produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein. On 5 November 1945, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while walking at the south west corner of Park Avenue and 57th street, apparently in search of a drugstore for the pills he depended on, but had forgotten to bring with him. Today we mark the passing of this astonishingly talented composer.
• • On this November date, Veterans Day, we also salute those who have served this country.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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