Arts and Culture

An Evening of George Gershwin

Ben Sears and Brad Conner. Credit:

An Evening of Gershwin, hosted by Brad Conner and Ben Sears, recounted the tale of George Gershwin’s rise to fame, his exploration of music, and his importance in defining the golden age of American musicals.

After an amusing tale of Gershwin’s childhood and his discovery of music, Conner and Sears plunged into their routine. They discussed Gershwin’s first published song, “When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em,” before moving on to his first hit, “Rialto Ripples.” Released in 1917, “Realto Ripples” was a commercial success and allowed his later hits like “Swanee” to reach a broader audience. Even today, when Sears and Conner play “Swanee,” it is undeniably recognizable—even to those who may not be followers of Gershwin.

Throughout the night, it was clear that Conner and Sears were able to engage the audience in a fun and educational way. They discussed Gershwin’s film, “An American in Paris,” offering anecdotes about the making of the film and singing bits of “Stairway to Paradise.”

An Evening of Gershwin took place in the Woolley Room in Mary Lyon Hall on Sept. 28. You can learn more about Conner’s and Sears’ work on their website,