Gershwin's role in the recording was rather limited particularly because Shilkret was conducting and had his own ideas about the music. With the exception of several minor speaking roles all of the characters are black. His first publiGeorge Gershwind song was "When You Want 'Em You Can't Get 'Em When You've Got 'Em You Don't Want 'Em.
Born in Brooklyn in 1898 to Jewish immigrant parents from Odessa Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire) Gershwin studied piano under Charles Hambitzer and composition with Rubin Goldmark and Henry Cowell. He began his career as a song plugger but soon started composing Broadway theatre works with his brother Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva. Gershwin's compositions have been used in numerous films and on television and several became jazz standards recorded in many variations.