Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ira Gershwin Facts: Back Home

Ira was the oldest of Morris and Rose’s four children; he was two when George was born.  Arthur was their third child, and Frances was 10 years Ira’s junior.  In fact she was exactly 10 years younger -- they shared the same birthday.
Ira has been called the “quiet Gershwin,” but this was never because he was pushed to the side. He preferred to eschew the limelight, choosing instead to observe the world around him.
 All the better to comment on life, love, and the world through his lyrics, wouldn’t you say?
Growing up he helped with the family and the family businesses, at one point working as a cashier at his father's Turkish Baths.  When he and George became creative partners, Ira took control of the brothers’ financial interests.  In fact he has been quoted as saying, "I always felt that if George hadn't been my brother and pushed me, I'd have been contented to be a bookkeeper."
On September 14, 1926, Ira Gershwin and Leonore Strunsky were married. As Ira and George became successful, they moved their entire family to a beautiful five-story house at 316 West 103rd Street in Manhattan. Ira and Leonore took the fourth floor, but the house was always bustling with visitors.
Two years later, George and Ira would move to adjoining penthouses on Riverside and 75th (where they auditioned Ethel Merman).
Ira even vacationed with his family.  The same year of the move to Riverside, Ira, his wife, George and Frances went on holiday to Europe, traveling through London, Vienna, and Paris.  The result?  George Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Ira’s beloved wife, Leonore, passed away in 1991.  We are honored her nephew, Michael Strunsky and his wife, Jean, are joining us for Nice Work If You Can Get It: An Ira Gershwin Salon.  The show starts at 7pm, Thursday, January 28, 2010 at the Alcazar Theater.  If you’d like to join us, please click here or call (415) 255-8297.
(photos from top to bottom: Arthur Gershwin; Leopold Godowsky and Frances Gershwin Godowsky; George and Rose Gershwin; Jean Strunsky, Artistic Director Greg MacKellan, Michael Strunsky, Donna McKecknie)

No comments: