Julie Benko Releases Debut Single From New Holiday EP On 10/13

CLUB44 RECORDS has announced that the debut holiday EP Christmas with You from breakout Broadway star Julie Benko will be released on Friday, December 1. After skyrocketing to fame as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway last season, she will return to the New York stage this month in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s highly anticipated musical Harmony. The EP’s debut single and title track, “(I Never Had a) Christmas with You, is an original retro-soul tune penned by Benko and a joyous duet with Grammy Award-nominated singer Mykal Kilgore. It will be released this Friday, October 13. A music video for the song is due later this fall. The single features exclusive artwork by illustrator Sara Soncini. The EP Christmas with You is produced by Julie Benko and Jason Yeager, with arrangements by Jason Yeager. Pre-save the single at orcd.co/christmaswithyousingle

“It was so wonderful to collaborate with Mykal,” Julie comments. “He’s a brilliant musician and had great ideas for shaping the song. He’s a storyteller, so he approaches the work as an actor, like I do. He really helped build on what Jason and I had created for its debut performance during our holiday show at 54 Below last year. Mykal is also annoyingly great as a vocalist. When we were mixing, the engineer was like, ‘Oh, I don’t need any autotune for this guy, not even the standard kind I give to normal professionals. He’s perfect!’ How dare he!”

This season, Benko joins the ranks of many great Jewish vocalists before her, releasing Christmas with You. The EP also features the classic Yiddish folk song “Tumbalalaika” for Chanukah, a new take on the beloved seasonal classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and the lesser-heard holiday gem “The Man with the Bag.”

“The song “(I Never Had a) Christmas with You” is about experiencing Christmas with my husband and collaborator Jason for the first time,” Julie continues. “I grew up without celebrating Christmas at home — we did Chanukah, of course. So when we got together, I was able to experience the magic of the holiday in a big way. Jason’s mom (his Jewish parent!) gets really excited about Christmas. She goes all out and decorates the whole household. Sure, I’ve participated in ‘Secret Santa’ exchanges at work and attended plenty of Christmas parties, but I never truly felt inside the holiday until I was invited into Jason’s family. I think that’s a pretty universal feeling – the discovery of something magical about Christmas after finding love.”

While this release has been in the works for months, the tragic world events of this past week have shed a new light on the music. Julie says: “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.”

JULIE BENKO is an actor, singer, and writer based in New York City. She recently marched her band out on Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, joining the annals of theatrical lore for her sensational understudy-to-star trajectory in the show. Between her tenure as the standby, alternate, and full-time Fanny, she played the role over 180 times and received numerous accolades for her interpretation, including Theatre World’s Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theatre. She was also called the 2022 “Breakout Star for Theater” in The New York Times, named among “10 Broadway Stars to Watch for 2023” by Variety, honored as one of “40 Under 40” for Crain’s New York Business, hailed by CBS Mornings as “Broadway’s breakout star,” and profiled in numerous national media outlets such as The New York Times and Time. This fall, she is originating her first role on Broadway, playing Ruth in the long-gestating Barry Manilow/Bruce Sussman musical Harmony.


1. The Man with the Bag – Julie Benko (Irving Taylor, Dudley Brooks, and Hal Stanley)

2. (I Never Had a) Christmas with You – Julie Benko and Mykal Kilgore (Julie Benko)

3. Tumbalalaika – Julie Benko (Traditional)

4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Julie Benko and Jason Yeager (Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane)