A Tribute to Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz
Multimedia lecture with Bonnie Weiss
In a career spanning more than fifty years, lyricist and poet E. Y. "Yip" Harburg (1896-1981) wrote the words to over 600 songs including Over the Rainbow and Brother Can You Spare a Dime. Presented by musical theater historian Bonnie Weiss, instructor, San Francisco State University.
Although Yip Harburg's name is not as easily recognizable as other lyricists like Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin and Oscar Hammerstein, his songs certainly are! With composer Harold Arlen, he wrote the lyrics to the entire score of The Wizard of Oz. The American Film Institute ranked Over the Rainbow the number one song to emerge from a Hollywood film.
Harburg also penned the lyrics to the hit Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow (with composer Burton Lane). With Harold Arlen he wrote such classics as It's Only a Paper Moon, Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe, and the Groucho Marx comic gem, Lydia the Tattooed Lady. With composer Vernon Duke, Harburg penned the words to the haunting April in Paris.
In this presentation you'll learn about Yip's early years as a poor Jewish kid growing up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and how it influenced his efforts to fight for social justice. You'll see how his vision is expressed through his lyrics, and via rare interviews. You'll get to see Yip, himself, performing many of his own songs. What's more, you'll see performances of his work by such legends as Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, and Groucho Marx, plus Tony Award winners Barbara Cook and Audra McDonald. Best of all, you'll hear Yip relate fascinating stories about how and why he wrote his marvelous words to these great tunes as well as view private archival footage from Yip Harburg's son.
Bonnie Weiss is a seasoned theatre educator, writer, radio and cabaret producer. She teaches musical theatre appreciation for Bay Area Classic Learning Road Scholar (Elder Hostel) programs and for San Francisco State and Dominican University OLLI. She also lectures at retirement communities throughout California. Among the many educational and community organizations through which she has offered her acclaimed presentations are San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The Concordia-Argonaut and Commonwealth Clubs, Masonic Lodges, The Stanford Women's Alumni Association, U.C. Berkeley Extension, the Colleges of Marin and San Mateo and the Blackhawk, Oakland and Palace of the Legion of Honor Museums.
Bonnie also writes feature stories and reviews for The Sondheim Review. From 1983 to 1991 she co-produced and hosted a radio show "Front Row Center" on KALW-FM, "Two for the Show" on KEST-AM and "Open Ear" on KQED-FM. She has also produced and acted as Master of Ceremonies for 12 sold-out cabaret shows in San Francisco and San
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