Married musical duo Julie Benko and Jason Yeager will release their debut album Hand in Hand August 26. Ahead of the release, the couple stopped by the Playbill Studio for an exclusive performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “It Might as Well Be Spring”; watch their rendition of the classic tune in the video above.
“When the pandemic began, we started a series called Quarentunes of us playing music from our living room just on Facebook Live and Instagram Live for our friends and family,” shares Benko, “In the middle of it, Jason said we should record these. That’s where the idea for the album came from.” The duo will celebrate the release with an in-person and live streamed concert at Birdland Jazz Club August 29 at 7 PM.
The album features theatre favorites and hits from the jazz and pop genre, along with original songs. Broadway titles include “People” from Funny Girl, “All I’ve Ever Known” from Hadestown, “If I Were a Bell” from Guys and Dolls, and “Another Life” from The Bridges of Madison County.
Currently starring as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl—before covering all Thursday performances once Lea Michele joins the company—Benko is featured on vocals, clarinet, flute, and percussion. Pianist-composer Yeagar accompanies on the piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, celeste, organ, and percussion.
Hand in Hand is produced and arranged by Benko and Yeager. Additional highlights from the album include a cover of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” and the original compositions “Sweet Pea” and “Just Begun.”
For more info about the upcoming concert, visit BirdlandJazz.com.