Endorsed by the Gershwin Family Interests, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and having triumphantly premiered with the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Gershwin’s Magic Key is the first-ever educationally-entertaining theatrical symphony concert exposing children and their parents to the extraordinary life and musical masterpieces of one of the greatest American composers of all time!

Classical Kids LIVE! presents this fully directed and produced theatrical production with full symphony orchestra and includes a featured pianist, 2 professional actors and an onsite director. The production also includes full score and all musician parts, period costumes, props, lighting & sound coordination.

The music is magically woven into the drama as two actors share their anecdotes and observations based on true incidents from the composer’s life. Presenting history, drama, music and fun, this engaging concert is an ideal addition to any children’s education program or family concert series. The performance is approximately 50 minutes in length and is recommended for audiences age six and up.


Extra, extra! Read all about it! Step into the 1920s’ streets of New York, where a poor newspaper boy has a chance encounter with the famous composer George Gershwin. Together, they explore the many sights and sounds of the city. Gershwin shares anecdotes about his life and musical passion and soon learns the Kid has musical talent, too… but can the boy find the magic key to unlock it?

The orchestra magically weaves Gershwin’s greatest hits into the drama as the master composer shares historical information and musical inspiration. A bonding friendship develops as they explore the vast melting pot of American music and discover the key to unlocking the boy’s own musical potential.

Family and student audiences will be captivated by over twenty of Gershwin’s most popular compositions from classical compositions including Porgy & BessAmerican in ParisCuban OvertureConcerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue to popular hits from the American Songbook including I Got RhythmSwaneeStairway to ParadiseSomeone to Watch Over Me, and Fascinating Rhythm.

Watch & Listen

Music Excerpts

1. Overture from Catfish Row:
Symphonic Suite in Five Parts: I

2. Swanee (Gershwin – Wodehouse)

3. Fugue subject from Catfish Row: Symphonic Suite in Five Parts: I

4. “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin” from Catfish Row: Symphonic Suite in Five Parts: II

5. “Strike Up The Band” (Gershwin – MacPherson)

6. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Norworth and Tilzer)

7. “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise”

8. “Nice Work If You Can Get It” (Gershwin – Bennett)

9. Period Medley: “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” (Ayer) & “Baby Face” (Akst)

10. “Rialto Ripples” (Gershwin – Tyzik)

11. Humoresque op. 101 no. 7 (Dvorak – Trinkaus)

12. Second Rhapsody (New York Rhapsody)

13. “Promenade” (Gershwin – Berkowitz)

14. An American in Paris

15. “Summertime” & “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” from Catfish Row: Symph Suite in Five Parts: I & II

16. “Oh Lord, I’m On My Way” from Catfish Row: Symphonic Suite in Five Parts: V

17. Concerto in F: III

18. Medley from “Oh, Kay!” (Gershwin-Warner)

19. “Second Prelude” (Blue Lullaby)

20. Cuban Overture

21. “I Got Rhythm” (Gershwin – Bennett)

22. “Fascinating Rhythm” (Gershwin-Warner)

23. Rhapsody in Blue


The instrumentation represents a maximum orchestra of 52 musicians in order to realize the full musical integrity of the excerpts listed above. Though we supply a set number of parts, we defer to each individual orchestra to reduce or increase proportionately according to organizational requirements. If increasing, we’re happy to supply PDFs for you to print extra copies.

A Conductor’s Book, complete with full-score and dialogue cues, along with a reference script is sent at least three weeks in advance of the concert along with all stand parts (bound books) satisfying the following instrumentation.

String Count (number of players): (stands = [may increase/decrease proportionately]
2[2/pic], 2[2/eh], 3[3/bcl], 2[2/cbn], 2asax[2/brsax], 1tsax/3331/timp+2/str
pf – provided by Classical Kids


Player breakdown in detail:
Solo Piano (featured Gershwin pianist provided by Classical Kids)
[NOTE: Pianist plays on 18 of the 23 excerpts above.]
12 woodwinds: 2 flutes (2.pic), 2 oboes (2.eh), 3 clarinets (3.bcl), 2 bassoons (2.cbn), 2 alto saxophones (2.brsax), tenor saxophone;
10 brass: 3 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba;
Timpani & 2 percussion: Crash cymbals, Drum Set (S.D., B.D., Toms, Cymbals), Gong, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes, Sus. Cymbals, Crash Cymbals, Woodblock, Temple Blocks, Triangle, Taxi Horns, Maracas, Bongos, Claves, Snare drum, Bass drum;
26 strings: 8 first violins, 6 second violins, 5 violas, 4 cellos, 3 double basses. (may increase/decrease proportionately)

Production Information Sheet