E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, lyricist of Finian’s Rainbow, the classic The Wizard of Oz film, and many more shows and movies, will be celebrated in a noon concert December 14 at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (92Y) in New York City.
Hosted and performed by cabaret singer Harvey Granat with accompaniment from pianist David Lahm, the concert will also examine the politics of Harburg (1896–1981), a leftist who spent time on the Hollywood blacklist, whose songbook also includes hits like “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow” (written with composer Harold Arlen) was listed as number one on the Songs of the 20th Century list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Special guests at the concert include Ernie Harburg, the lyricist’s son, and his wife Deena Rosenberg, cultural and music historian, author of Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin, and founding chair of the musical theatre program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
They will explore how the lyricist—full name Edgar Yipsel Harburg—addressed such issues as racial and gender equality and union politics in his work.
Harburg wrote lyrics for two dozen Broadway musicals, including Jamaica, Flahooley, Bloomer Girl, Life Begins at 8:40, and the 1931 and 1934 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies.
The 92Y event is the third and final concert of Granat’s fall 2017 Songs & Stories series of shows focusing on Hollywood and Broadway songwriters. Previous concerts celebrated Richard Whiting and Cole Porter.
92Y is located on Lexington Avenue between 91st and 92nd streets in Manhattan. Tickets for The Lyrics of Yip Harburg concert cost $29, and can be ordered by clicking here.