Literacy, of course, isn't just about being well-read in the classics. It's about being up on current events too, and during most of the 20th century that meant reading the newspaper. A lot. Every morning, every night. Always on the train, in the street, over a cup of coffee, whenever. Americans were well night addicted to the newspaper...and indeed, to news in any form as new media emerged, first radio, then tv. Songwriters could, thus, more or less count on their audiences knowing what was up and regularly wrote songs accordingly: songs filled with references so topical that it's hard sometimes today to get their full impact. But ah! when you take a moment to bone up on the finer details of American live in the 1920s, '30s and '40s these songs are a gas!
For this concert we've brought together a fine assortment of these topical gems, giving a special nod to Irving Berlin and Moss Hart's 1933 revue As Thousands Cheer, which was based on newspaper headlines real and make believe, and was dedicated to the entire newspaper experience, from the ridiculous ("Man Bites Dog") and the mundane ("The Funnies" and "Heat Wave Hits New York") to deeply sobering ("Supper Time"). We then touch in upon other masters of the topical reference: Cole Porter ("You're The Top"), Ira Gershwin ("They All Laughed"), Lorenz Hart ("The Lady Is A Tramp"), and Yip Harburg ("Lydia The Tatooed Lady"). There are so many of these beauts scattered throughout the songbook, we can't do them all, but we'll throw in a few rare birds along with those we all know well with the hope of getting you addicted too!