Using a medley of filmed performances, documentary filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite love songs from the American songbook came to be and how re-imaginings by different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something more.
Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.
JAN 20 Songs of Love and Yearning: “My Funny Valentine” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”
Written for Broadway musicals in 1926 and 1940, these songs outlasted their shows, and hundreds of versions later—from the simple to the soaring, the delicate to the sensual—they are the ones that turn our yearnings for love into the words and music we dream to.
FEB 3 Songs of Remembered Love: “Autumn Leaves,” “Send in the Clowns,” and “This Nearly Was Mine”
How tenderly these songs give wings to our memories of love lost but never forgotten. They are the poignant echoes of what was or might have been, the music of the heart’s private chamber.
FEB 17 Songs with Wide Open Arms: “What a Wonderful World” and “Smile”
These are the songs that can lift your spirits, bring back a smile, or open your arms to the day. They can melt our blues and keep us company when we’re happy. A wide range of arrangements keep them living on and on, through times of joy and tears.
Lukinson, who has won three Emmys and seven Writer’s Guild Awards, now teaches at NYU and the 92nd Street Y. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.
Photo caption (upper right): Clockwise: Nat King Cole, 1959; The original "South Pacific" playbill; Richard Rodgers seated at piano with Lorenz Hart on right (Library of Congress)
- If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
- Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
- Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of each session. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of each session, please email Customer Service for assistance.
- View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.