Harmony and Funny Girl star Julie Benko releases a multi-faith holiday EP Christmas With You December 1. Listen to the title track, a duet with Mykal Kilgore (The Life), above. The EP can be streamed or downloaded here.
The EP is produced by Benko and Jason Yeager, with the latter providing arrangements. Tracks include the classic Yiddish folk song "Tumbalalaika," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "The Man With the Bag."
Benko says the project has been in the works for months, but recent events in Israel have given it new poignancy. "In the words of Leonard Bernstein, ‘This will be our response to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.’ The holiday season is traditionally a time in which the world collectively longs for peace on Earth. Though music alone cannot heal the wounded, raise the dead, or erase the divisions that plague our society, it can provide solace and joy in times of tragedy and grief. I hope this music can be my contribution—however small—to anyone in need of comfort, healing, and hope."
Benko is starring in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony, currently running at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. She previously served as the Fanny Brice alternate in Funny Girl, becoming a fan favorite with regular Thursday evening performances in the role. Christmas With You is her third album, following Introducing Julie Benko and Hand in Hand.