The Colony Theatre Company
Barbara Beckley, Artistic Director

In Association with Mike Strunsky
and National Jewish Theater Foundation
Arnold Mittelman/ President


Words by Ira Gershwin

A Musical Play by Joseph Vass

Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Additional Lyrics from Porgy and Bess by DuBose Heyward
Music by George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Jerome Kern, and Kurt Weill

Words by Ira Gershwin
Elijah Rock, Jake Broder, Angela Teek

Musical Arranger
Musical Director
Scenic Designer
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Scenic Art
Production Stage Manager
Casting Director
Public Relations
Technical Director
Wig Designer
Set Construction
Master Electrician
Assistant to Sound Designer
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Follow Spot Operators
Sound Board Operator
Stage Crew
Production Photography

David Ellenstein
Joseph Vass
Kevin Toney
David Potts
Dianne K. Graebner
Jared A. Sayeg
Drew Dalzell
John McElveney
Orlando de la Paz
Rebecca Eisenberg
Amy Lieberman
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Rhonda O'Neal
Red Colegrove, Le Sanne Bernandez/Grove Scenery
Watson Bradshaw
Heather Waters
Karen Forrest, Jack Herndon, Monica Marsh
Rene Parras Jr., Matt Tsang
Kathryn Horan
Emily Abbott, Renee Parras, Jr.
Heather Waters
Brie Flanagan, Rene Parras, Jr.
Michael Lamont


Ira Gershwin

Jake Broder
Elijah Rock
Angela Teek


Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Kevin Toney
Terry Wollman
John B. Williams
Greg Webster

George's Piano performed and recorded by Joseph Vass


Show or Movie


1. Fascinating Rhythm Lady Be Good G. Gershwin
2. Chopin Etude (brief excerpt) None F. Chopin
3. Blah Blah Blah Delicious G. Gershin
4. Fascinating Rhythim Lady Be Good G. Gershwin
5. My Ship Lady in the Dark K. Weill
6. Isn't It A Pity Pardon My English G. Gerswhin
7. I Can't Get Started Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 V. Duke
8. 'S Wonderful Funny Face G. Gerswhin
9. How Long Has This Been Going On? Funny Face G. Gerswhin
10. Quartet Erotica Life Begins at 8:40 H. Arlen
11. I loves You Porgy Porgy and Bess G. Gerswhin
12. Oh Bess Oh Where's My Bess Porgy and Bess G. Gerswhin
13. The Man That Got Away A Star is Born G Gerswhin


14. Tchaikovsky (And Other Russians) Lady In The Dark K. Weill
15. Saga of Jenny Lady in The Dark K. Weill
16. Union Square Let 'em Eat Cake G. Gershwin
17. Long Ago and Far Away Cover Girl J. Kern
18. It Ain't Necessarily So Porgy and Bess G. Gershwin
19. Shall We Dance Shall We Dance G. Gershwin
20. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off Shall We Dance G. Gershwin
21. A Foggy Day (In London Town) A Damsel In Distress G. Gershwin
22. Love Walked In Goldwyn Follies G. Gershwin
23. By Strauss The Show Is On G. Gershwin
24 They All Laughed Shall We Dance G. Gershwin
25. They Can't Take That Away From Me Shall We Dance G. Gershwin
26. Love Is Here To Stay Goldwyn Follies G. Gershwin

Curtain Call

27. I Got Rhythm Girl Crazy G. Gerswhin

There will be one 15 minute intermission
Running time: Approximately 2 hours 20 minutes

Director's Notes

My Journey with Ira

In 2010, my dear friend and former Artistic Director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Arnold Mittelman, sent me script called WORDS BY IRA GERSHWIN AND THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK by Joseph Vass. I was intrigued by this hybrid play that blended biography, lyric writing technique and a collection of 26 amazing songs into an entertaining, informative and moving story. I struck up a telephone relationship with Joe and I learned of his prior musical play THE SOUL OF GERSHWIN which focused on George Gershwin and his connection to Klezmer music. There had never been a play about the shy and less known Gershwin brother, so Joe with the blessings of the Gershwin estate endeavored to create one.

In the fall of 2012, I made the decision to produce the world premiere at North Coast Repertory Theatre where I am Artistic Director. Joe was our musical director and we were happy to welcome Mike Strunsky, Ira Gershwin’s nephew and trustee to the estate, and Arnold Mittelman to see it. Along with enthusiastic audiences, all were very taken with the script and production.

The decision was made to move forward and ensuing productions of the play occurred at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota and at Portland Stage in Maine. We then brought it back to North Coast Rep for a return engagement in 2014. Each incarnation has seen the play become more refined and well tuned.

What a thrill to now be bringing it to the Colony Theatre and to the greater Los Angeles audience.

As I direct an extremely gifted cast and band, and collaborate with the marvelous Kevin Toney as musical director to breathe life into this new incarnation of the play, and despite this being my fifth go at it, I continue to be swept up into the charm, wit, and heartfelt nature of Joe’s play. I marvel at the incredible songs that were created by this extraordinary group of composers and lyricists and I never tire of Ira’s humility and humanity, and of the legacy of brilliant work he created.

From the entire creative team, we hope you enjoy our production as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

 ~ David Ellenstein – Director


It seems like only yesterday that this picture was taken in April of 2000. On that day we moved from our 99-seat theatre on the fringes of Silver Lake that had been our home for 25 years into a beautiful 270-seat theatre created for us by the City of Burbank. This was our Grand Opening, when we invited the community in to see our new home.

Barbara and KeyOur fifteenth anniversary. Which makes me think of another anniversary.

The Colony was born on April 1st, 1975. On that day we signed a rental agreement for our first home, the 99-seat Studio Theatre Playhouse. Our rent was $420 a month and our top ticket price was $4 ($3 for students and seniors). Often there were more actors on the stage than people in the audience. Then a series of successes – most notably our 1977 smash hit, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles -- encouraged us to keep going. Initially, having a theatre was just something we thought would be fun to do for a while. But as John Lennon wrote, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

So here we are 40 years later. And in our 15 years in Burbank we have produced almost 70 shows, employed hundreds of professional actors, directors, designers, and technicians, and played to hundreds of thousands of people. We have also faced daunting challenges as the succession of global disasters, followed by economic collapse, followed by the rise in popularity of electronic entertainment-on-demand all served to decimate support of the arts everywhere.  During the past few years we have continued to witness with sadness and alarm the demise of theatres across the country.

But we’re still here. For a lot of reasons, among them the extraordinary dedication of our artists, staff, and board, the steadfast loyalty of our subscription audience, as well as the enthusiastic advocacy and support of the City of Burbank, certainly one of the most arts-friendly communities in the country.

We look forward to celebrating many more landmark anniversaries in our Burbank home, but this one is special, and our gratitude is boundless.

Barbara Beckley
Artistic Director


Brad Brown   Michael Jones   Hilda Kane   Chase Lazar
Ray Lorme, Linoleum City    Paul Manganiello   Vanessa Meier   Lucinda Michelle
Glenn Treibitz, Hollywood Piano   Wadler Data Systems   Rei Yamamoto