Radio Song-Play in one act
First Performance
New York, October 24, 1937;
Broadcast on the Columbia Workshop, WABC

I'VE GOT THE TUNE was written in 1937 following a commission from the Columbia Broadcasting Corporation. Dedicated to Orson Welles, it was performed over the Columbia Workshop, WABC, on October 24, 1937. The conductor was Bernard Hermann, and it was directed by Irving Reis. The cast was particularly notable for the appearance of Marc Blitzstein in the title role, as well as Lotte Lenya as the Suicide, and Shirley Booth, who would later play the title role in Blitzstein's Juno. The complete cast was as follows:

Mr. Musiker Marc Blitzstein
Beetzie Shirley Booth
Madame Arbutus Adelaide Klein
Captain Bristlepunkt Kenneth Delmar
Private Schnook Norman Lloyd
The Suicide Lotte Lenya
Choral Director Hiram Sherman

The one-act play tells the story of a composer who has a tune, but is seeking the words to give it meaning.

After a series of cartoon-like encounters, with a "high-art" salon, a group of fascists, a suicidal woman, and tin-pan alley, Musiker's tune is ultimately transformed by a group of high school kids into an anthem of hope and freedom:

Because this is our day!
We're singing songs of May!
That's why we sing today!
Because we'll rule the world tomorrow, we can sing today!

It's certainly a touch naive, but the honesty of Blitzstein's music, and its deceptive simplicity are quite moving and its message that art can help to change the world oddly refreshing in these dark times.