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Over the Rainbow:
The Songs of Harold Arlen

Saturday July 8, 2023 at 8:00pm

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Saturday July 8, 2023 at 8:00pm

It’s time for you to “Get Happy” and travel “Over the Rainbow,” no matter the “Stormy Weather” in July, to immerse yourself in an evening celebrating the unique American legend Harold Arlen (b. 1905 – d. 1986), one of the most prolific composers for the stage and screen. Tony Award-winner Ted Sperling is Music Director and host, along with celebrated Broadway artists Mikaela Bennett (The Golden Apple), Aisha de Haas (Disney’s Newsies), Julie Benko (Funny Girl), and Nicholas Ward (The Music Man). True, there’s no place like home … except for the Venetian Theater at Caramoor!

Julie Benko, vocalist
Mikaela Bennett, vocalist
Aisha de Haas, vocalist
Nicholas Ward, vocalist

Ted Sperling, artistic director, pianist

Jeff Klitz, piano and arranger
David Mann, reeds
Dillon Kondor, guitar
Peter Donovan, double bass  
Kabir Adhiya-Kumar, drums 

Garden Listening / For those who prefer a more casual concert environment, Garden Listening tickets are $20, and are free for Members and children under 18 years old. Listen to the concert broadcast onto Friends Field (audio only) while enjoying a picnic, admiring a starry sky, or relaxing with the family. We recommend you bring your own seating for Garden Listening.

Summer Season Shuttle / Take the FREE shuttle from Metro North’s Katonah train station to and from Caramoor! The shuttle runs before and after every summer afternoon and evening concert. No need to RSVP to get on the shuttle, it will be there when you arrive (in the parking lot side of the station). And if it’s not there, that means that it just left and will be back in 5-10 minutes!

Learn More About the Artists

Who is Harold Arlen?

via songhall.org/profile/Harold_Arlen
Harold Arlen was born Hymen Arluck, the son of a synagogue cantor, was born in Buffalo, New York on February 15, 1905, and emerged as one of the greatest of all American composers and songwriters, writing extraordinarily complex melodies and harmonies that somehow remained accessible to a broad popular audience.

He grew up in Buffalo attending public schools and private music study with instructors Arnold Cornelissen and Simon Bucharoff. By age 7 he was singing in his father’s synagogue chore and by age 15 he had become a professional pianist and entertainer in nightclubs and lake steamers. In his late teens, he organized The Snappy Trio, which later became The Southbound Shufflers, and the trio found its way to New York City. In Manhattan, Arlen found a home as a singer, pianist, and arranger with dance bands and eventually with Arnold Johnson’s pit orchestra for the Broadway revue George White’s Scandals of 1928. Arlen appeared at the Palace Theatre in New York and did several tours with Loew’s vaudeville circuit.

He continued to work on Broadway writing songs for musicals 9:15 Revue, Earl Carroll Vanities (1930 and 1932), Americana, George White’s Music Hall Varieties, The Show is On. He also wrote entire scores for the Broadway shows You Said It, Cotton Club Parade, Life Begins at 8:40, Hooray For What, Bloomer Girl, St. Louis Woman, House of Flowers, Jamaica, Saratoga, and Free and Easy (a blues opera).

Arlen collaborated with the greatest of the Tin Pan Alley lyricists, including E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Leo Robin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields, and Truman Capote.

Arlen was also active in Hollywood producing some of the greatest film musicals of the era including The Wizard of Oz, Let’s Fall In Love, Blues In the Night, Star Spangled Rhythm, Cabin In the Sky, Up in Arms, Kismet, My Blue Heaven, Gay Purr-ee, Down Among the Sheltering Palms, and A Star is Born.

The Harold Arlen catalog boast the individual standards “Sweet and Hot” (1930, lyric by Jack Yellen), “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” (1931, lyric by Ted Koehler), “I Got A Right To Sing the Blues” (1932, lyric by Ted Koehler), “Stormy Weather” (1933, with Ted Koehler), “Ill Wind” (1934, with Ted Koehler), “Fun to Be Fooled” (1934, with Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg), “Last Night When We Were Young” (1935, with E.Y. Harburg), “Blues in the Night” (194 1, lyric by Johnny Mercer), “That Old Black Magic” (1942, with Johnny Mercer), “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe” (1942, with E.Y. Harburg), “My Shining Hour” (1943, with Johnny Mercer), “One For My Baby” (1943, with. Johnny Mercer) “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (1944, with Johnny Mercer), “Out Of This World” (1945, with Johnny Mercer), “Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home” (1946, lyric by Johnny Mercer), “I Wonder What Became of Me” (1946, with Johnny Mercer), “Come Rain or Come Shine” (1946, with Johnny Mercer), and “The Man That Got Away” (1954, with Ira Gershwin).

With a catalog of some of the greatest standards from Tin Pan Alley, the standout continues to be the unforgettable score for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. The film score includes a collection of songs, most notably the celebrated “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.

Ted Sperling, music director and host

Ted Sperling has maintained an active and successful career in the theater and concert worlds for 35 years. A multi-faceted artist, he is a director, music director, conductor, orchestrator, singer, pianist, violinist and violist. He is the Artistic Director of MasterVoices and was Music Director of the recent Broadway production of My Fair Lady, now starting a national tour. 

A Tony Award winner for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, Sperling is known for his work across many genres, including opera, oratorio, musical theater, symphony and pops. His concert of Carole King songs can be seen on the new PBS channel, AllArts, and his production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I can be seen on PBS. He earned rapturous reviews for his production of Lady in the Dark with MasterVoices at New York’s City Center this past April and for Let ‘Em Eat Cake at Carnegie Hall. 

Sperling appeared as Steve Allen in the final episode of Season Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and as bandleader Wallace Hartley in the original Broadway musical Titanic

To learn more about Ted Sperling, please visit his website (tedsperling.net). 

Mikaela Bennett, vocalist

Mikaela Bennett is a celebrated singer and actress who is garnering praise for her work on stages and in concert halls. She begins the 2022-23 season with a return to MasterVoices, playing the role of Micaëla in Carmen at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. Additional engagements include a debut with the Oakland Symphony for Mary Lou Williams’ Zodiac Suite conducted by Holly Choe; returns to The Cleveland Orchestra for Holiday Concerts conducted by Brett Mitchell and The Philadelphia Orchestra for Zodiac Suite conducted by Cristian Măcelaru; and her New York City recital debut at Alice Tully Hall. Last season she made debuts at The Glimmerglass Festival in the new Francesca Zambello production of The Sound of Music, in the role of Maria, and Blossom Music Center for performances of Zodiac Suite with The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Jader Bignamini. Additionally, she recorded Zodiac Suite with Aaron Diehl and The Knights conducted by Eric Jacobsen, and she returned to Carnegie Hall for MasterVoices’ A Joyful Noise, which featured 10-time Grammy Award-winning gospel group Take 6. Bennett is a native of Ottawa, Canada and a graduate of The Juilliard School. 

To learn more about Mikaela Bennett, please visit her website (https://www.mikaela-bennett.com). 

Julie Benko, vocalist

Julie Benko is currently marching her band out on Broadway, where you can catch her as the alternate for Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Thursday evenings. She was named the 2022 Breakout Star for Theater in The New York Times, honored as one of 40 Under 40 for Crain’s New York Business, hailed by CBS Mornings as “Broadway’s breakout star,” and praised in several other national platforms extolling her performance. Other Broadway and touring credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, and Spring Awakening. Of her numerous off-Broadway and regional appearances, favorites include Once (Wilde Award, Best Actress in a Musical), The Fantasticks, Our Town, Bar Mitzvah Boy, Rags, The Golem of Havana, and …Spelling Bee at such venues as Barrington Stage, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Weston Playhouse, and many more. Her debut album Introducing Julie Benko and newest record Hand in Hand (Club44 Records), a duo effort with her jazz-pianist spouse Jason Yeager, are now available wherever music is streaming.  

Also a writer, Benko’s first full-length play, The District, was named as a semifinalist at the Eugene O’Neill’s National Theater Conference, and her first short film, The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy, received accolades at film festivals across the globe. She holds a B.F.A. in Drama and an M.F.A. in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  

To learn more about Julie Benko, please visit her website (www.JulieBenko.com) and follow her on social media (@Jujujuliebee). 

Aisha de Haas, vocalist

Aisha de Haas was recently seen in SUFFS at The Public Theater and as Medda Larkin in the first national tour of Disney’s Newsies, as well as the “live-capture” Newsies movie. On Broadway, she has appeared in Caroline or Change; RENT; Bring In Da Noise…Funk; Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. Her off-Broadway credits include Nora Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore and Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show. She has also appeared on television and film, including in Madam Secretary; Blue Bloods; Law and Order; Across the Universe; and RENT the Film. She has toured the United States and abroad in Dreamgirls, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Little Shop of Horrors, and as a backing vocalist for various artists and as a solo performer with symphonies and music festivals. She is a Bistro Award winner for Outstanding Jazz Vocalist. 

To learn more about Aisha de Haas, please visit her website (http://www.aishadehaas.com). 

Nicholas Ward, vocalist

Nicholas Ward was recently featured in the hit Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, playing Oliver Hix (the baritone in the quartet). His past credits include playing the role of Mufasa in The Lion King, King Agnarr in Frozen, Chris in In Transit, and Miss Turnstile’s Announcer in On the Town. Ward has also had the great pleasure of performing in eight New York City Center Encores! productions including: Brigadoon, Cabin in the Sky, Pipe Dream, The Golden Apple, 1776, Zorba, Paint Your Wagon, and Annie Get Your Gun. Lincoln Center Productions include Camelot, and Andrew Lippa’s I am Harvey Milk. On film and television, he has appeared in Shmigadoon, Frozen 2, Ricky and the Flash, The Tony Awards, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, One Night Only: The Best of Broadway, The Disney Holiday Sing Along, and Rockefeller Center’s Tree Lighting. Regionally, he had been featured in many productions including, Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and Jesus Christ Superstar. His original Broadway cast recordings include The Music Man, Frozen, and In Transit.  

Health & Safety / We’re committed to maintaining the health and safety of our audience, artists, and staff, while ensuring that every visit to Caramoor is comfortable and enjoyable. Click here for more information and up-to-date health and safety policies.

This concert was made possible, in part, thanks to endowment support from The Adela and Lawrence Elow Fund for The Great American Songbook: 1900 to 1960. We thank the Elow Fund for The Great American Songbook for preserving and sustaining classic American songs through live performances.

Caramoor is proud to be a grantee of ArtsWestchester with funding made possible by Westchester County government with the support of County Executive George Latimer.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.