MasterVoices Opens Season With Gershwins' LET 'EM EAT CAKE

By: Oct. 23, 2019

MasterVoices will begin its 2019-20 season on Thursday, November 21 at Carnegie Hall with the concert staging of George and Ira Gershwins' 1933 musical Let 'Em Eat Cake, with a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, a comic satire about a populist U.S. President who is voted out of office and stages a coup to regain power. Artistic Director Ted Sperling will direct and conduct MasterVoices, soloists and Orchestra of St. Luke's in this timely musical which has not been heard in New York since 1987.

The cast comprises returning MasterVoices favorites, including Tony Award-nominee Bryce Pinkham as President Wintergreen, along with Mikaela Bennett, Christopher Fitzgerald, Kevin Chamberlin, Fred Applegate, Chuck Cooper, and Lewis J. Stadlen. The choreographer is Andrew Palermo, with sound design by Scott Lehrer, costumes by Tracy Christensen and lighting design by Maarten Cornelis. The concert script was adapted by Laurence Maslon. Celebrated fashion designer Zac Posen, who contributed to last spring's MasterVoices production of Lady in the Dark, returns to provide gowns for the former First Lady's fashion show at the end of Act II.

Following the success of their 1931 Pulitzer Prize winning hit Of Thee I Sing, the Gershwins re-teamed with Kaufman and Ryskind for a sequel, a dark comic political satire about a U.S. President who loses reelection, fires the Supreme Court, decides to stage a military coup, and even paints the White House blue. This rarely produced musical gem is filled with wonderful Gershwin songs, from the romantic "Mine" to the comic "Down With Everyone Who's Up," and features many of the actors who made MasterVoices' 2017 production of Of Thee I Sing a hit.

Although not as commercially successful as Of Thee I Sing, Let 'Em Eat Cake was even more musically ambitious. As he would in his next score, Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin aimed at a creation that used the language of Broadway but the formal complexity and structure of an opera. Music and dialogue were integrated, and the music carried the action. He drew on wide-ranging influences including Handel, Schubert, Gilbert and Sullivan, military marches, Yiddish music, and the blues. Of Thee I Sing had already featured an unusual amount of counterpoint, but Let 'Em Eat Cake took this much further. Gershwin said, "I've written most of the music for this show contrapuntally, and it is that very insistence on the sharpness of a form that gives my music the acid touch it has-which paints the words of the lyrics, and is in keeping with the satire of the piece."

Click here for further details on MasterVoices' Let 'Em Eat Cake event page.

Tickets: Priced from $15 to $155, may be purchased online at, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or in person at Carnegie Hall's box office at 57th and Seventh Avenue.

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