The story of George Gershwin is coming to Ilford

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 March 2015

Robert Habermann, the star of 'I got Gershwin,' performing.

Robert Habermann, the star of 'I got Gershwin,' performing.


Leading actor, Robert Habermann, describes his new musical I got Gershwin as “the show of the man who wrote Summertime.”

Robert Habermann the star of 'I got Gershwin.'Robert Habermann the star of 'I got Gershwin.'

The song has been covered by more than 25,000 different artists, but Robert, 55, brings the story of the man behind the original to Ilford’s Kenneth More Theatre in his show I got Gershwin.

The show tells the story of George Gershwin, starting at his birth and ending with his tragic unexpected death from a brain tumour, aged just 37.

Robert, from Hampstead, north London, says this method allows the audience “to see the development of his life, if I wanted to hear someone sing a few songs I would buy a CD.”

Robert has performed a similar show about Frank Sinatra for his 80th birthday, telling the story of the singer’s life in Hollywood as a film star.

He said: “I did it this way for Frank because he said if I did it in any other way I would be shot.”

It made sense to write about George in the same way, as he wanted the audience “to get to know the performer.”

It was a meeting with George’s younger sister, Francis, which inspired Robert to write a show about him.

He explained: “I was introduced to her, which was amazing, and I was invited to see her apartment in New York, off Madison Avenue.

“I saw George’s piano and some of his paintings, and it was after this meeting I new I had to write a show about George.”

Robert had always been a fan of Gershwin, his father had bought him Rhapsody in blue when he was a child.

He explained it was important that people know where these famous songs come from, “his most famous song ‘summertime’ was one of the most recorded songs ever, yet you wouldn’t know who the heck he was.”

The show was originally put on for George’s centenary in 1998 and after almost 20 years performing Robert sings the songs to perfection.

He is working with his long time musical director Trevor Brown.

Robert explained: “I was first introduced to him 25 years ago and we have worked on and off since then.”

Trevor has produced Shirley Bassey, Michael Barrymore and many Royal Variety shows.

The last four years have seen Trevor and Robert work together consistently.

Robert describes him as, “my go to guy.”

The Kenneth More Theatre said they were “infected with Robert’s passion and enthusiasm for George Gershwin.

“We hope it will rub off on our audience and it will fill up well. We love this production and the music is timeless.”

I got Gershwin is on at the Kenneth More Theatre on March 20 at 2.30pm.

Tickets are on sale now from £11.50- £13.50. Call the box office on 020 8553 4466, or visit

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