Barry Manilow says it’s ‘surreal’ his musical tackling fascism is finally headed for Broadway
Barry Manilow says it’s “surreal” his musical tackling the impact of fascism is finally headed for Broadway.
The 79-year-old ‘Mandy’ crooner has had the ‘Harmony’ show in the works for more than 20 years after co-writing it with Bruce Sussman, 74, and is amazed it is going to open in October at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.
He told Page Six: “Standing in front of the theatre is really surreal. It’s really happening!”
The show was first staged in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and there have been productions over the years in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
But it wasn’t until a critically acclaimed run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage that producers finally managed to sort a Broadway run.
Lyricist Bruce said: “We held on because the piece is so important to us. We thought that it was a story that needed to be told and wanted to tell it.”
The musical is based on the true story of the hugely popular German group the ‘Comedian Harmonists’ from the 20s and 30s.
The sextet was made up of three Jews and one member who was married to a Jewish woman, and was split apart by the rise of Nazism.
Barry added: “As these years have gone by there’s always been something about anti-Semitism as we put this show on, but this year it’s very loud... (it) is a funny show, filled with music and a lot of laughs so it’s not a serious, serious play. This is a real musical.”
Bruce said lines in the show about anti-Semitism have shocked audiences who have seen it, but refuses to change them as he thinks it is more important than ever to keep them in the musical.
He added: “I was actually worried that people thought I was writing to the headlines.
“Those lines had been there for years so it’s resonating more than ever.”