From "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Yip Harburg crafted many an unforgettable lyric. San Diego State University pays homage to the writer with several special events, including a visit from lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) and the San Diego premieres of two Harburg musicals, The Happiest Girl in the World and the revue, Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Yip Harburg's America.
The Happiest Girl in the World kicks off the Harburg extravaganza Oct. 24 and 25. The 1961 Broadway musical comedy is based on Aristophanes' Lysistrata and set in ancient Greece, where the women of Athens hold a sex strike to stop the war in which their husbands are engaged. Dr. Rick Simas directs the staged reading, with Chris Moad starring. Admission is free.
Deena Rosenberg and Mel Marvin crafted the revue Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Yip Harburg's America, which follows five individuals as they search for the answers to life. Harburg's collaborations with Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Burton Lane, Jay Gorney, Vernon Duke and Jule Styne including "April in Paris" and "Look to the Rainbow" are featured. Paula Kalustian directs with musical direction by Dr. Terry O'Donnell. Performances run Nov. 10-18 on SDSU's Experimental Theatre. Tickets are $13-$9.
The final event will be the Harburg Symposium, held Nov. 11 at SDSU's Little Theatre. The University's own musical theatre expert Dr. Simas will moderate the talk which will feature rare archival videotape and performances from SDSU's MFA musical theatre students. Special guests include Oscar winner Schwartz, Harburg's son Ernie Harburg and Deena Rosenberg, author of "Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin."
For information on the Symposium and Happiest Girl, call (619) 594-6884. For tickets to Yip Harburg's America, call (619) 594 6365. -- By Christine Ehren