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On Stage: Do You Like Gershwin?

I like a Gershwin tune—how about you? Gershwin standards are the order of the evening in Music Theatre Wichita's production of Nice Work If You Can Get It. In addition to a musical score by George and Ira Gershwin, the book was written by Tony award-winning writer Joe DiPietro, built on work by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse. The story follows the exploits of wealthy, much-married Jimmy Winter, who is about to embark upon yet another marriage when his plans are interrupted by female bootlegger Billie Bendix and her gang.

About the musical, which premiered on Broadway in April 2012, DiPietro said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of screwball comedies of the ’20’s and ’30’s—the ones featuring bootleggers and playboys and dowagers and chorus girls. So when the Gershwin estate approached me about writing Nice Work If You Can Get It, I jumped at the chance and set about to put a modern twist on these classic comic archetypes. I suppose I wanted to recapture the past in all its toe-tapping glory while making today’s audiences laugh out loud in the process.”

Music Theatre Wichita is presenting Nice Work If You Can Get It at Century II on June 15 to June 19. Also onstage on Fridays through Sundays throughout the month of June is A Midsummer Night's Dream, produced by the Wichita Shakespeare Company at our city parks. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and your own refreshments.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.