My Ship

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Composer Kurt Weill

"My Ship" is a popular song written for the 1941 Broadway musical Lady in the Dark, with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

The music is marked "Andante espressivo"; Gershwin describes it as "orchestrated by Kurt to sound sweet and simple at times, mysterious and menacing at other".[1]

It was premiered by Gertrude Lawrence in the role of Liza Elliott, the editor of a fashion magazine. In the context of the show, the song comes in a sequence in which Elliott, in psychoanalysis, recalls a turn-of-the-century song she knew in her childhood.

The song was not included in the 1944 Hollywood film Lady in the Dark, a fact which Ira Gershwin found inexplicable:

Later, when Lady in the Dark was filmed, the script necessarily had many references to the song. But for some unfathomable reason the song itself—as essential to this musical drama as a stolen necklace or a missing will to a melodrama—was omitted. Although the film was successful financially, audiences evidently were puzzled or felt thwarted or something, because items began to appear in movie-news columns mentioning that the song frequently referred to in Lady in the Dark was 'My Ship'. I hold a brief for Hollywood, having been more or less a movie-goer since I was nine; but there are times ...

— Ira Gershwin[1]

In 2003, Herbie Hancock won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for a version of this song released on the album Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall.

Cover versions[edit]

Artists who have recorded the song include (in alphabetical order):


  1. ^ a b Gershwin, Ira (1959). Lyrics on Several Occasions (First ed.). New York: Knopf. OCLC 538209.
  2. ^ "Bob Chester And His Orchestra", Discogs.
  3. ^ "Hugh Masekela – Almost Like Being In Jazz". Discogs. Retrieved 24 October 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Furia, Philip (1996). Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist (First ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508299-0.
  • McClung, Bruce (2007). Lady in the Dark, Biography of a Musical. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512012-4