Sponsored Project

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Life and Times of Lyricist Yip Harburg

Nicolas Rossier
Nicolas Rossier

Yip Harburg, was born in 1896 on Manhattan's Lower East Side to a working-class Jewish family of Russian ancestry. After his electrical business went bankrupt during the Depression, lifelong friend Ira Gershwin introduced Harburg to the stage and film circles where he immediately thrived.From Broadway to the Hollywood Hills, Harburg penned the words to many of America's most iconic tunes, including Broadway shows Bloomer Girl, Finian's Rainbow, and Jamaica. Celebrated not only for his lyrical genius, Harburg became known as a staunch advocate for social justice. In 1932, he wrote 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime' for the Broadway revue Americana. The song immediately struck a chord with those reeling from the Great Depression and went on to become a classic.His most recognized song, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' helped propel the movie The Wizard of Oz to one of the most internationally well-known and loved stories in modern history. He went on to win the Academy Award for Best Song. Yip Harburg tragically died in 1981 in a car crash on Sunset Boulevard.Somewhere Over the Rainbow revisits the impressive range of Harburg's work and his undying commitment to equality through interviews with entertainers, scholars, family and friends.