Theatre: Of Thee I Sing
Of Thee I Sing is a musical comedy by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin, originally produced in 1931. Its general theme is a satire on U.S. party politics. It was the first musical ever to win the Pulitzer Prize.John P. Wintergreen is campaigning for President of the United States, but his party still has doubts that he can be elected without an issue to run on. "He even sounds like a President," the party men assure each other, but their vice-presidential nominee, Alexander Throttlebottom, looks like nobody anybody knows. They arrange for Wintergreen to marry the winner of an Atlantic City Beauty Contest; with love as his platform, he will surely win by a landslide. But Wintergreen falls in love with a secretary by the name of Mary Turner, who can make corn muffins. The winner of the contest, Diana Devereaux, is infuriated at Wintergreen's refusal to marry her. But her demands for justice are blocked by the Supreme Court, which presides over Wintergreen's inauguration and simultaneous wedding to Mary. The complications do not stop there, with President Wintergreen facing diplomatic threats from France and impeachment from his own party. The popular anxiety about the president, however, quickly turns away from the scandal Miss Devereaux when the First Lady announces she is expecting a baby. All the country is waiting to hear whether it is a boy or girl. Mary finally gives birth to twins, and Throttlebottom averts war with France by finding a constitutional solution.The show had an unsuccessful sequel, Let 'Em Eat Cake, which featured, among other items, a Union Square demonstration, an army of blue-shirted revolutionaries, a baseball game, a public execution, and a Fashion Show, interspersed with more than a few routines lifted from the earlier show.
This show contains examples of:
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The French soldiers' song
- Brief Accent Imitation
- Chorus Girls
- Dark Reprise: "Who Cares"
- Darker and Edgier: In "Of Thee I Sing" the most that's threatened is impeachment and France ending diplomatic relations with the country. In the sequel, "Let 'Em Eat Cake," most of the cast are nearly executed, including many women who try and fail to escape the death sentence by claiming that they're pregnant.
- French Jerk: The French Ambassador
- Irrelevant Act Opener: "Hello, Good Morning"
- Mistaken for Servant: The President Elect mistakes the Vice-President for a servant.
- No Party Given
- Opening Chorus: "Wintergreen For President"
- Recognition Failure: Throttlebottom
- Set Switch Song: "Love is Sweeping the Country"
- Setting Update: The 1952 Broadway revival, regarded as a commercial and artistic failure
- Southern Belle: Diana Devereaux
- Through His Stomach: Mary can make corn muffins!
- Twenty Fifth Amendment: Didn't exist at the time the show was written, so it used Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 instead.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born
- Vice President Who: No one even recognizes Throttlebottom.