The Dana Suesse Project

Dana Suesse, 1932

Dana Suesse arrived on Tin Pan Alley in her teens and turned out a string of hits that included You Oughta Be In Pictures, Yours For A Song and My Silent Love. Like her friend, George Gershwin, she also wrote larger compositions that straddled the worlds of jazz and classical. In 1932, Paul Whiteman commissioned her Concerto In Three Rhythms for his “Fourth Experiment in Modern Music” when Dana was just 22. The New Yorker magazine called her “The Girl Gershwin” in the hype of the day.

Dana Suesse came to Fort Worth in 1936 to do the music for a show called Casa Mañana. The city of Dallas had been named the official site of the 1937 Texas Centennial celebration, and not to be undone, Amon Carter hired Broadway producer Billy Rose to mount a bigger Fort Worth Frontier Centennial Fiesta. The city spent $3 million on a new dinner theater built to seat 4,000. It held the largest rotating stage in the world, surrounded by a moat that shot jets of water high into the air. The city spent another $750,000 on the production itself, hiring hundreds of locals for the dance numbers. From New York, Rose summoned Paul Whiteman, dancer Sally Rand, director John Murray Anderson and Dana Suesse to put on a show that was talked about for decades.

Fort Worth Civic Orchestra is proud to re-introduce the music and the story of Dana Suesse to our community. She was a musical pioneer who came to Fort Worth at an important moment in the city’s history.