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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Stories from the American Songbook

Daytime Program on Zoom (Session 1 of 3-Session Daytime Series)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0106
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Clockwise: Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale; Woody Guthrie; Mary Martin and children from the Broadway production of "The Soundof Music" photo by Toni Frissell (Library of Congress)

Save when you purchase all 3 sessions of the Stories from the American Songbook series!

Some songs are so familiar they seem part of us. We dance and romance to them, come together, and dream of somewhere over the rainbow. Yet each of their creators had no idea their song would live forever. Using a medley of film clips and talk, writer and documentary filmmaker Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorites from the American songbook came to be and then as reimagined by different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing national moods were transformed into something more.

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.

Session Information

Songs of Hope and Yearning: Somewhere Over the Rainbow and You’ll Never Walk Alone

These songs were written to fit characters and moments in a 1939 movie and a 1945 Broadway show, but overtook their first lives to become the songs we most want to hear when our hearts need lifting: beautiful melodies and words that bring comfort and courage through the storms.

Additional Sessions

If you are interested in additional American Songbook sessions, view the upcoming schedule:

Patron Information

  • 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.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.