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A Special Tribute to Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz

This course was offered in Winter/Spring, 2013.

With Musical Theatre Maven, Bonnie Weiss

Harburg 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 one of Hollywood’s most beloved films, The Wizard of Oz. The American Film Institute ranked one of its tunes, “Over the Rainbow,” the number one song to emerge from a Hollywood film.

Harburg also penned the lyrics to the legendary Depression-era song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" (music by Jay Gorney), and 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 also get to see Yip, himself, performing many of his own songs in an engaging and charming manner. What’s more, you’ll see performances of his work by such legends of the stage and screen 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.

Advanced tickets: $13 for the public, $10 for members, seniors, students
Tickets at the door: $15 for the public, $12 for members, seniors, students

Advanced tickets can be purchased at http://www.jewishmusicfestival.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006.

Extra Program

Join us for a Wizard of Oz Sing-Along!
Sunday, January 20
2:00 pm
JCC East Bay, Berkeley


# Sessions
Date & time

Sunday, January 27
2:00 - 3:30 pm

$12 for members
$12 Learning for Life (age 65+)
$12 for students
Session Time Days Location Instructors
Jan 27 2:00 PM–3:30 PM Sun JCCEB Bonnie Weiss


JCC East Bay

1414 Walnut Street

Berkeley, CA 94709



Bonnie Weiss

Bonnie WeissBonnie 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 S.F. State, Santa Clara, 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 Mateo.