George & Ira Gershwin's political farce Of Thee I Sing was a hit in the presidential election year of 1932, and it was revived on Broadway in the presidential election year of 1952, opening on May 5 in a production featuring movie star Jack Carson as President John P. Wintergreen. But the attitude of Broadway audiences toward politics seemed to have changed in 20 years, and the show was gone after only 72 performances. Nevertheless, Capitol Records released a cast album, and since the original version had appeared more than a decade before cast albums became commonplace, this was the first full-length recording of the score. Don Walker's new orchestrations tended to speed things up, but the show remained largely a choral work and very much of its time. The leads, including Carson, Betty Oakes as his wife, Mary Turner, and Lenore Lonergan as the jilted Diana Devereaux, were not particularly impressive vocalists, and even on record this didn't seem like the best possible version of the show. But when it came out, it was the only one, and even 50 years later, when it was licensed by DRG and reissued on CD, it was one of the few, making it valuable as a record of an important Gershwin show.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Of Thee I Sing, musical|