The Unsinkable Meredith Willson (2018)
While long remembered as the creator of the hugely successful Broadway musical, The Music Man, Meredith Willson was also a successful musician, conductor, composer, and beloved radio host prior to his Broadway career. Our current exhibit, The Unsinkable Meredith Willson, showcases his long career in entertainment that began in Mason City, Iowa using materials from the Meredith Willson collection housed in the Songbook Foundation’s archives.
Ella Sings the Songbook (2017)
"Ella Sings the Songbook" focuses on a celebrated series of eight albums recorded for Verve Records in the 1950s and '60s, when the respected jazz singer took a new and highly successful direction interpreting works by the most beloved composers of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood: Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer. Take a Virtual Tour.
The Great Indiana Songbook: Two Centuries of Hoosier Music (2016)
A celebration of Indiana's 2016 bicentennial, this exhibit highlights the songs, people and places that have helped Indiana carve out a distinct niche in America's musical landscape. A tour of many of the state's important contributions to music, both including and beyond the Great American Songbook, featured artists include Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Florence Henderson, the Ink Spots, the Jackson Five, Joshua Bell, Crystal Gale, Sandi Patty, Bill & Gloria Gaither, Noble Sissle, Steve Wariner, Carrie Newcomer, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and many more. Take a Virtual Tour.
Gus Kahn: The Man Behind the Music (2015)
A German-Jewish immigrant with a grammar school education, Gus Kahn rose to be one of the highest-paid lyricists of the 1920s and 1930s, producing as many as eight chart-topping hits a year. He also collaborated with co-lyricist Ira Gershwin and with some of the finest composers of the day, including Richard A. Whiting, Al Jolson, Vincent Youmans, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Harry Warren, and his primary collaborator Walter Donaldson. Of his more than 800 published songs, many including “Carolina in the Morning,” “Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goodbye)”, “Making Whoopee,” “Ain’t We Got Fun” and his masterpiece, “It Had to Be You,” have remained popular standards over the course of nearly a century. Take a Virtual Tour.
A Change is Gonna Come: 1960s Broadway Musicals (2014)
For over a century composers, writers, singers and dancers have flocked to New York City for the opportunity to work in the forty theaters located between 42nd and 57th Streets. Here these artists meld melodies, lyrics, dance, and stories to create experiences that make us laugh and cry. Our exhibit looked at the 1960s as a crucial time for American musicals, and a turning point for musical theater worldwide. Take a Virtual Tour.
Blast from the Past: Roaring Hot 20s Jazz (2013)
Flappers, speakeasies, and prohibition; the "Roaring 20s" needed a soundrack to go with the unbridled revelry that marked the decade, and hot jazz delivered. This exhibit showcased some of the musicians who helped changed the sound of jazz.
The Great American Songbook (2012)
This exhibit provided an overview of the Songbook, including some of its most well-known composers, lyricists, and performers. Display items included selected pieces from Michael Feinstein's personal collection such as Fred Astaire's dancing shoes and the player piano roll from George Gershwin's 1925 Rhapsody in Blue.
GI Jive: The Music and Entertainers of WWII (2011)
Our first interactive exhibit highlighted the performers who entertained the troops through USO shows as well as the music that unified our nation during the World War II era.
A long term goal of the Great American Songbook Foundation is the construction of a free-standing museum on the campus of The Center for the Performing Arts that will allow us to offer more extensive and in-depth exhibits on the music and artists of the Songbook.