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BWW TV: DEAR EVAN HANSEN Tributes the Birthday of Irving Berlin with 'God Bless America'

To a rousing ovation, the cast of the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen performed a curtain call tribute in honor of the patriotic song "God Bless America," which this year is celebrating its 100th Anniversary, on the eve of Mr. Berlin's 130th birthday. Dear Evan Hansen is playing on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre which was built by Mr. Berlin and his business partner Sam H. Harris and opened in 1921 to house his famed Music Box Revues. The Shubert Organization currently owns and operates the Music Box.

Dear Evan Hansen's Musical Supervisor Alex Lacamoire specially orchestrated and arranged the song as a tribute to Mr. Berlin. Cast members performing were Taylor Trensch, Rachel Bay Jones, Laura Dreyfuss, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Mike Faist, Will Roland, Phoenix Best and Asa Somers

Irving Berlin wrote "God Bless America" in 1918 for his revue Yip, Yip Yaphank while serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York but decided it did not fit, so he set it aside. Its history continued in 1938, when Berlin, who was a Jewish Russian immigrant, felt it was time to revive it as a "peace song." That year, it was introduced by legendary vocalist and "first lady of radio" Kate Smith on her Armistice Day broadcast. Later, in 1943, Smith's rendition was featured in the patriotic musical This Is The Army along with other Berlin songs.

Since then "God Bless America" has become a classic, performed not only at major sports and political events across the country but also covered by such greats as Bing Crosby, Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes, and Lady Gaga.

To learn more about Irving Berlin, visit: www.irvingberlin.com


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