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Next, we're gonna take you to the streets of New York City for a piece that's inspired by a couple of my favorite artists. First there's the illustrator, Al Hirschfeld who's been drawing celebrities and Broadway stars for most of the 20th century. And then there's composer/songwriter George Gershwin, who took jazz of the streets, dressed her up, and took her to the concert hall. My friend Ralph Grierson plays piano on this next number, and it all starts with a single slinky note on the clarinet, and a simple line on a piece of paper.
―Quincy Jones[src]

"Rhapsody in Blue" is a 1924 musical composition by American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.

It was featured as a segment in Fantasia 2000, having initially been developed as a standalone short. It can also be heard in the lobby playlist of the Hotel New York. It is the longest segment in Fantasia 2000.


Set during the Great Depression, it tells the story of several people in a daily life during a rough period. It starts with the following:

  • Construction worker Duke heading off to work, while having dreams of being a jazz musician.
  • A jobless man named Joe is having coffee at a diner, feeling depressed at having no job and having a lack of money and is treated badly due to being out of money, not even having enough to spend on food.
  • A little girl named Rachel has to go various classes throughout the day while her parents work in the struggling economy, having to be with her nasty nanny throughout the day doing things she has no interest in or is bad at (such as ballet, which leads to her crashing into a closet, swimming, where she is covered from head to toe with various swim aids, singing badly to the point a dog faints, splashing her art teacher with blue paint, tying up someone with a gymnastic rope, just blocking a tennis ball with the racket, and almost falling off her piano-playing chair).
  • A man named Flying John is out and about with his wife, Margaret, getting stuff for her dog while he just wants to have fun.

Each character goes through a rather dry day until something miraculous happens to each of them that changes everything. They each have a different goal they each want to go to at some point, which is shown while each of them watch a group of people skating on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center: Duke wishes to become a drummer in a jazz band, Rachel wishes to spend more time with her parents, Joe wishes to have a job, and John wishes to be out and about, having fun.

  • Duke decides that he has had enough of the job that he hates and goes off to join a jazz band, but has trouble getting to the studio, which results in him "buying" a kid's scooter to make it in time.
  • In quitting, Duke gives up his jackhammer which lands in Joe's arms, and Duke's boss hires him on the spot, believing he's a part of the night shift, giving Joe a job that he can have to himself.
  • Rachel, while resisting her nanny's insistence to go to the next class, ends up knocking her rubber ball off a window sill and into the street. Duke ends up bumping the ball into the buildings, which results in it getting Rachel's parents' attention, who see her head right for oncoming traffic. In their panic, her parents save her just in time to make sure she doesn't end up getting hit, leaving her nanny dismayed.
  • While Joe is starting his new job, he accidentally snags Margaret on a hook meant for some bolts, freeing John and he goes to Duke's grand debut in his jazz band, taking part with the dancers.

So in the end, they each get what they always wanted.


Artistic Supervisors

  • Art Director: Susan McKinsey Goldberg
  • Artistic Consultant: Al Hirschfield
  • Artistic Coordinator: Dan Hansen
  • Assistant Artistic Coordinator: David Blum
  • Layout Supervisor: Rasoul Azadani
  • Background Supervisor: Natalie Franscioni-Karp
  • Clean-Up Supervisors: Emily Jiuliano and Vera Pacheco
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: Mauro Maressa
  • Production Manager: Loni Beckner-Black
  • Assistant Production Manager: Monica Lago-Kaytis

Animators: Tim Allen, James Baker, Jared Beckstrand, Nancy Beiman, Jerry Yu Ching, Andreas Deja, Robert Espanto Domingo, Brian Ferguson, Doug Frankel, Tom Gately, David Hancock, Jin Kim, Bert Klein, Joe Oh, Jamie Oliff, Mark Pudleiner, Michael Show, Marc Smith, Chad Stewart, Michael Stocker, Andreas Wessel-Therhorn, Theresa Wiseman, Anthony Ho Wong, Ellen Woodbury, and Phil Young


  • Journeymen: Doug Walker, Antonio Navarro, and Jeff Purves
  • Key Assistants: Mark E. Koerner and Trish Coveney-Rees
  • Assistants: Kevyn Wallace, Donivan W. Howard, and Chung Sup Yoon
  • Blue Sketch: Bill Davis


  • Journeymen: Greg Miller and Thomas Woodington
  • Assistant: John Piampiano

Visual Effects


  • Production Accountant: Liza Breuninger
  • Assistant Production Accountant: Maureen Mo O'Hare Davis


  • This music was used in episode 6 of the 2021 TV series called Takt. Op Destiny.
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