The Open Mind Discussion Group

The Open Mind is an informal group offering a series of discussions on important ideas and issues. Topics have included The Paranoid Style in American Politics, The Importance of Painting to Winston Churchill, Immigration, and The Strange Career of Jim Crow. The events are held at Soho Coffee House, 22nd and P Streets, NW, generally on weekday afternoons. Those who express an interest in participating receive readings in preparation for the event. For more information, or to be added to the invitation list, send an email to

Off to See the Wizard:
The Saga of a Jewish Songwriter 

Discussion Led by Harold Meyerson

Thursday, April 18, 2019  3:00 – 4:30 pm

Soho Tea & Coffee
2150 P Street, NW (near Dupont Circle Metro)

[You Must Register to Participate]

“Few American artists in any medium have ventured more outspoken, serious, and satiric statements on society than Yip [Harburg] achieved on the Broadway musical stage of the forties, fifties (while being blacklisted from pictures), and sixties.”
— Harold Meyerson and Ernie Harburg,

Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz?

 Born to an immigrant Jewish family on New York’s Lower East Side, Yip Harburg reached the heights of Broadway and Hollywood. Along the way, he changed the shape of American musicals, and wrote many memorable songs:

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? • April in Paris • Over the
Rainbow • If I Only Had a Brain • Lydia, the Tattooed Lady •
Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead • How Are Things in Glocca Morra? •
Old Devil Moon • It’s Only a Paper Moon • Off to See the Wizard

 “[B]esides L. Frank Baum, if there is one person preeminently responsible not just for the charm of the [Wizard of Oz] musical but for its coherence, it is Yip,” say Meyerson and Harburg.

“Yip Harburg might be considered the most influential of all the masters. He was one of the first to write lyrics to character, and combined the wit of Hart and Porter, the warmth of Hammerstein, the directedness of Berlin, and the spirit of Gershwin,” according to Martin Gottfried, author of Broadway Musicals 

How did this unlikely and little-known man become such an influential shaper of American culture? And do it despite political activism that landed him on Hollywood’s infamous blacklist?

 * * *Discussion Leader:  Harold Meyerson
Meyerson, the co-author of Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz?,
is the executive editor of the magazine, American Prospect. He wrote
a regular op-ed column for The Washington Post and has written articles
for The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, and The New York Times,
among other publications. Born in Los Angeles, he served as executive
editor of the LA Weekly from 1989 to 2001. He writes regular op-ed
columns for The Los Angeles Times.

* * *To participate, you must register for this event.

Send an email to
Include your name, your preferred email address, your phone number, and a sentence or two about yourself.

 When you register, we will send you the readings. 

* * * 

Hurry: There are a limited number of seats! 

Soho coffee house is graciously providing space for this event at no charge. Please support them by purchasing refreshment while you are there.