CELEBRATING YIP: On Yip Harburg’s 117th birthday (Monday April 8, 2013) the Yip Harburg Foundation’s Rainbow Troupe performers sang several of Yip’s songs including “Over the Rainbow,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.” The show starts at 4:30pm at the Tompkins Square Library in Manhattan.
Following the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Apr. 8, 2013, the recording of “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” (music by Harold Arlen, lyric by Yip Harburg) from the soundtrack of the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz became an overnight best seller in the United Kingdom after a social media campaign by anti-Thatcher activists to download the song as a form of protest against her policies. Ernie Harburg, Yip’s son, issued a statement about this matter which was reprinted in Robert Mackey’s New York Times blog. Coincidentally, Thatcher died on Yip’s 117th birthday.
From Mar. 20 to Apr. 20, 2013 the Union Theatre in London under the artistic direction of Sasha Regan is presenting the 1968 Yip Harburg-Jule Styne-Nunnally Johnson musical Darling of the Day.
On March 10, 2013 Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl opened the third Annual Jewish Women’s Archive Annual Luncheon with what Tablet Magazine in its Dec. 2010 issue calls the #1 Jewish song of all time: Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow.” In her discussion of the song before singing it, Rabbi Buchdahl points out that in a “women’s reinterpretation” it can be characterized not only as “the most beautiful exilic prayer ever set to music” (according to Tablet) but also as a “Jewish feminist lullaby manifesto.”
On January 10, 2013 The Wonderful Wizard of Song: The Music of Harold Arlen opened at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City. Created by Arlen’s son Sam Arlen with singer-songwriter Marcus Goldhaber and George Bugatti, the play combines biographical material with performances of many of Arlen’s songs, some of which were written with Yip Harburg.
On Aug. 18, 2013 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new stage version of The Wizard of Oz will end its run at the Mirvish Theatre in Toronto before embarking on a North American tour.
The Del Rio Bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan was a countercultural center and experiment in workplace democracy from 1969-2004. Yip Harburg’s son Ernie was a co-owner and has just written a history of that establishment. It can be ordered via Amazon and other online booksellers, as well as directly from Huron River Press.