As early as 1925, George Gershwin’s visits to Florida, and the public’s fascination with the state’s real estate boom, inspired his Broadway musical Tip-Toes, set in Palm Beach. Gershwin spent the winter of 1933 at a Palm Beach home on South Ocean Boulevard that oil tycoon Emil Mosbacher had rented with his wife and three children. It was there that Gershwin wrote variations on I Got Rhythm. And in 1935, after studying black culture in Charleston, S.C., he returned to the island to write much of the groundbreaking opera Porgy and
“Palm Beach is once more itself after a few days of cold weather,” the Gershwin wrote. “I’m sitting in the patio of the charming house Emil has rented, writing to you after orchestrating for a few hours this morning . . . it goes slowly, there being millions of notes to write.”
ACT ONE: ” TIP TOES” — At the train station in West Palm Beach, flirtatious Rollo Fish Metcalf is surprised to see his socialite wife, Sylvia, planning to give a party for her millionaire brother, Steve. Steve is set to inherit the family glue factory. Rollo agrees to wait for vaudevillian entertainers, the “Komical Kayes” (Tip-Toes Kaye (a woman), Al Kaye and Uncle Hen Kaye). The Kayes are so poor that Tip-Toes had to travel in the luggage to avoid paying for a ticket. They stay in Palm Beach to see if they can find a millionaire for Tip-Toes to marry.