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January 5, 2024 The Hollywood Reporter"Looks Like He Made It: Barry Manilow at 80: As he breaks records in Vegas and takes on Broadway, the legend looks back on life and love, with input from an emotional Bette Midler, who is finally ready to forgive her cherished accompanist for becoming a superstar in his own right" by Seth Abramovitch
Barry Manilow is standing poolside at his Palm Springs home, a spectacular, eight-bedroom hillside villa with far-reaching views of the Coachella Valley. He’s taller than one might expect — a little over 6 feet — and rail-thin, which makes him appear even taller. Manilow is relaxed this morning, tapping one spindly leg to a tune wafting through the speakers — not one of those easy-listening grooves that made him a music superstar, but a thumping slice of techno called “Love Regenerator,” by Calvin Harris. He has an entire Spotify library of that stuff. Manilow, it turns out, loves dance music.

At 80 — he reached the milestone last June — Manilow is coming off of one of the busiest stretches of a consistent, six-decade career. In September, he played his 637th show at Las Vegas’ Westgate Resort Hotel — beating Elvis’ record of 636 performances on that very stage (when it was the Las Vegas Hilton) back in 1976. (On and off since 2004, he’s played two weeks a month there, three nights a week.) Manilow sold out five nights at Radio City Music Hall in October and has another five planned for April. He also has a residency booked for June at the London Palladium — what he bills as “the last, last U.K. concerts.”

His musical, Harmony, about a real Jewish boy band that became famous as the Nazis rose to power in Berlin, debuted on Broadway in November after 25 years of workshops. (Bruce Sussman, Manilow’s longtime lyricist on songs like “Copacabana,” is his collaborator.) As if that weren’t enough, Manilow’s cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” currently sits at No. 15 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart — three spots ahead of Dua Lipa’s “Houdini.” Add it to the pile: Manilow has had 11 hits in the top 10 on the Hot 100 (including three No. 1s — “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs” and “Looks Like We Made It”) and sold over 85 million records, making him one of the best-selling recording artists of all time.

No one is more astonished by all this than Manilow himself. “My family, most of them lived until 74 — so when I hit 74, I thought, ‘This is the end,’ ” he says. “But it didn’t happen. It kept on going. I kept going on the road. I kept on making records. I mean, when does my body give in?”

Ken Thomas, his tour manager for the past 15 years, sees no signs of him slowing down. “I think it’s an unspoken thing that he’s going to go until he physically can’t walk out on that stage,” Thomas says. “He’s said, ‘If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.’”

“I have a theory that your spirit is one age and your body is another age,” says Melanie Taylor, a backup singer for Manilow since the early 2000s. “Barry has a really young spirit and a childlike mind. He’s curious and very engaged in life and very consistent.”

Thomas credits Manilow’s staying power to two things. “One, the road is his family,” Thomas says. (Manilow is backed by a loyal crew and a 24-piece band.) “We enjoy each other’s company and performing gives us a purpose to get out there every day. The other is Barry’s drive to always make things better. Up until 10 minutes before showtime, he’s always changing, tweaking, improving. There are days when that puts us nose-to-nose on things — but at the end of the day, he’s always right.”

For Manilow, that fine-tuning is the fun part. “Changing things around, working with the musicians and the lights and the video behind me, I love that,” he says. “But the performing part, that’s the job for me. That’s the hard part. It looks like I’m having a good time up there and there’s a part of me that is having a good time up there — but it’s the job.”

To help him stay fit, he has a personal trainer who works with him every morning (“I haven’t got a big, muscular body, but I like it”). Quitting smoking also helped. At his worst, he was up to three packs a day of filterless Pall Malls. These days he waves a white e-cigarette around as he speaks, like a magic wand. “I don’t eat and I don’t sleep. That’s also the trick,” he continues. “I often find myself trembling and think, ‘Oh — I should probably get some calories in me.’ ” Manilow nods off around midnight each night and is up by 4 a.m., at which point he’ll shuffle over to his desk and “make trouble for Garry,” he says, referring to his romantic partner, manager of 45 years and husband since 2014: Garry Kief.

Manilow and Kief have lived full-time in Palm Springs for 25 years. Two days before our meeting, Manilow wrapped “A Gift of Love VI” — a five-night stint at a Palm Springs theater for which he takes no paycheck and donates all proceeds to 25 charities in the area. I caught the final date of those shows and came away astonished at Manilow’s showmanship and how powerful his pipes remain after all these years — particularly when one of his bombastic and unabashedly emotional finales kicks in. (Yes, that’s him singing. “I’m a terrible lip-syncher,” Manilow says. “I don’t know how to do it.”) Resistance is futile. Your brain is telling you it’s schmaltz, but your ears are telling you it’s the most delicious schmaltz you’ve ever tasted. Before you know it, you find yourself levitating out of your seat and shouting, “Bravo, Barry, bravo!”

Manilow has been eliciting that kind of euphoria since his earliest performances. “The second gig I ever did was in a place called The Bijou in Philadelphia,” he recalls. “Edna, my mother, came down to see it. Back then, performance-wise, I stunk. But they saw something in this skinny guy at the piano that they liked. The word was out: ‘This guy has got something.’ At one point, everybody stood up. Edna thought there was a fire. She started running to the exit. But they were applauding. Those audiences believed in me way before I did.”

Manilow is emphatic that he was never supposed to be the marquee draw. What he envisioned for himself growing up in the “slums of Williamsburg,” Brooklyn, from the moment he first touched a piano at age 13, was a career as an orchestrator and songwriter — one of those guys bent over the ivories behind the star. And that’s exactly what he was for the first decade of his career, making a living in the daytime writing commercial jingles (“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” is his — and he made only $500 from it), while at night providing accompaniment in smoky rooms to a long list of female belters, all of them hoping to be the next Barbra Streisand. None would — none, that is, until a tornado of wild energy and talent swept into his life in 1971 in the form of Bette Midler...

“The owner of the Continental Baths was Steven Ostrow,” Midler, 78, tells me of the infamous gay New York bathhouse where she got her start. Located in the basement of the former Ansonia Hotel at Broadway and 74th, the Baths were envisioned by Ostrow, a former opera singer, as a cabaret-slash-sex club where anything went. Careers were launched from that stage — not just Midler’s, but those of Peter Allen and Melissa Manchester, too... Finding herself in desperate need of an accompanist, Midler was sent by Ostrow to meet Manilow at his apartment. “He sent me down to No Man’s Land — Lexington, somewhere in the 20s — and I went up to meet Barry,” she says. “I quickly discovered he could play anything. He could arrange anything. He could make anything funny — or sad. He had a tremendous amount of tools at his disposal. He had a great ear and just so much charm.”

Manilow had a different first impression of Midler: “She was every Jewish boy’s nightmare come to life,” he wrote in his 1987 memoir, Sweet Life. “She was my mother, my grandmother, and all of my female relatives rolled into one.”

It wasn’t until their debut performance together at the Baths — in which Midler launched into an ecstatic rendition of “Friends,” her signature song — that it fully dawned on Manilow what a monumental star this 5-foot-1 bundle of neurotic creativity really was. “I was in shock,” he says in Sweet Life. “She had given me no indication during our rehearsals that she had all that inside her. I felt as if I had stuck my hand into an electric socket.” They were each brilliant musical interpreters in their own right. But together, their combined talents produced something akin to a miracle — the birth of “the Divine Miss M...”

The crowds were indeed great and grew larger. Ostrow eventually roped off a section where spectators who weren’t also bathhouse clientele could watch the show fully clothed. “Then we got some offers to go on the road,” Midler recalls. “Barry put together a terrific band — the first Harlettes were jingle singers he knew — and we played a whole bunch of little nightclubs all over the country. That was a tour I will never forget.” They also played Upstairs at the Downstairs, a cabaret on 56th Street that featured singers and comedians like Joan Rivers and Madeline Kahn. It was at one of those shows that Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun caught their act. “People were standing on the tables,” Midler recalls. “And he decided, ‘I don’t know what this is — but I need to have it.’ So he signed me.”

Almost immediately, problems arose. Midler chose Joel Dorn, producer of Roberta Flack’s album Killing Me Softly, to produce her debut. Dorn sidelined Manilow, who had obsessed over arrangements on songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Do You Want to Dance?” Says Midler: “Barry and Joel didn’t get along, and it was very tense, and kind of stressful. I kind of took a back seat.”

In the end, Ertegun was underwhelmed by the airless and highly technical album Dorn had produced. So was Manilow, who stormed into Ertegun’s office clutching a recording of Midler performing with him live at Carnegie Hall. On the strength of that tape, Ertegun agreed to let Manilow produce an entirely new album that captured Midler in her loose, live element. The result was 1972’s The Divine Miss M. “Pretty soon I was on the cover of Rolling Stone and I never looked back,” Midler says.

The success of Divine Miss M, which went double-platinum and earned Midler the Grammy for best new artist, calmed the discord in the air — but not for long. Soon, Manilow was offered his own record contract with Bell Records, home to 1970s pop stars like David Cassidy and Tony Orlando & Dawn. The news did not go over well with Midler. “When I told her, ‘I think I got a record deal,’ she said, ‘Doing what?’ ” Manilow recalls. “I said, ‘Singing!’ She said, ‘You can’t sing!’”

Midler admits to being terrified of losing him. “I felt it in my bones that I was going to be left high and dry because he really was so accomplished and was capable of so many things. I didn’t know where I was going to find another [musical director] and I really couldn’t have made it without him. He had a sense of how to present me and how to present what it was that I was trying to express in those songs.”

They struck up a deal. Manilow agreed to back Midler on her first arena tour — the big leagues — and, in exchange, she agreed to let him perform three original songs from his 1973 debut album, Barry Manilow, before the start of her second act. “People started coming to see him,” Midler recalls. “Of course, there was a certain amount of jealousy on my part because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.” The tour allowed Manilow to find his stage legs. But the album — its biggest hit was the seven-minute soft-rock suite “Could It Be Magic” — did not sell.

Enter Clive Davis ... On June 24, 1974, Davis caught Manilow opening for Dionne Warwick at Wollman Rink in New York’s Central Park. “I didn’t know from songwriting or not songwriting,” says Davis, now 91. “I was just very impressed with his showmanship — or the combination of his voice and his showmanship.” Says Manilow: “He came backstage and he shook my hand and said, ‘Welcome to Arista Records.’”

It was while pulling together material for Manilow’s second album, Barry Manilow II, that Davis broached the idea of covering other songwriters’ material. “I thought he was a real good songwriter,” Davis says. “But what I said to him was, ‘I don’t think you have a first single here.’ ” Manilow was initially taken aback by the suggestion. He had envisioned himself as a singer-songwriter. “Would Paul Simon agree to cover someone else’s song?” he asked himself. Definitely not. So why should he?

Undeterred, Davis brought Manilow a song by a U.K. artist named Scott English called “Brandy” that had seen some success on the British charts in 1971. He told him to take a stab at covering it, but to change the girl’s name to “Mandy,” because Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” was a hit at the time. Still resistant but eager to humor his new boss, Manilow spent the day trying to capture the song’s folk-rock grit. Davis hated it. “Then I played him a slow version with the new chord changes and the modulation,” Manilow says. “And he said, ‘Just do that.’ ” The song went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Jan. 18, 1975, turning Manilow into a superstar.

“When ‘Mandy’ went to number one, we came to an agreement,” Davis explains. “He would write and produce the bulk of his album — and he would give me two songs per album of other writers’ work.” Davis’ golden ears would continue to pay off, and Manilow would have further smashes with covers — “Weekend in New England,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” even “I Write the Songs” were written by somebody else. But he also composed many of his own hits, including “Could It Be Magic,” “Even Now” and “Copacabana,” the last of which won him his only Grammy, for best pop male vocal performance, in 1978. In 2002, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In Manilow’s current stage show, “Mandy” begins with a projection of a performance of the song from that era. There young Barry is, in all his satin and sequined glory, his fluffy blond mane hanging down to his shoulders, his puppy-dog blue eyes selling every lyric. Then Manilow emerges onstage and observes for a few moments, before taking a seat at the piano and dueting with his younger self...

Coming out was never an option for Manilow — until it was the only option. “I didn’t want my career to go away. I love it. I’m grateful for it. But it was a burden to keep it quiet,” he says. “I was always worried. Every interview: ‘They’re going to ask me whether I’m gay or not.’ Nobody ever did, by the way. They never asked me the $64 question...”

Manilow met his husband in 1978. He was in L.A. to work on a TV special tied to his latest hit — the irresistible dance-floor saga “Copacabana,” inspired by a trip to Rio — and was introduced to a young executive at ABC named Garry Kief. Manilow had just sunk millions into a huge condo in the San Remo building on Central Park. “But I met Garry, and that was it,” he says. “I never went back.” Kief had been married to a woman since 1971, and their daughter was a 1-year-old at the time. (Manilow had wedded his high school sweetheart, Susan Deixler, in 1964, but the marriage was annulled two years later.) “It was a real complicated couple of years there,” Manilow says. “But it was so real. I knew this was it for the rest of my life. This was going to be forever. Garry didn’t. But I did.”

They have been together ever since — 45 years, the first half of which was spent between Bel Air and Palm Springs, where they owned the Kaufmann residence by Richard Neutra, a midcentury modern masterpiece immortalized in the Slim Aarons photograph “Poolside Gossip.” Then they found their current home and decided to move to Palm Springs year-round. “My life is so noisy,” Manilow explains. “But it’s quiet here and it’s just beautiful. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”

Manilow is popular around town. In April, he showed up in person to watch Modern Men, the Coachella Valley men’s chorus, perform Manilow! Songs That Make the Whole World Sing. He also stopped by the Tool Shed, a local gay bar, to play a musical version of Bingo called Singo, which turned into a Manilow sing-along. “They were so great to me, that crowd of guys,” he says. “I loved it.”

It’s a comfortable existence. But retirement is not yet an option — not so long as the muse beckons. Says Midler, “To be 80 and still playing Las Vegas and still putting butts in the seats. God knows, I wouldn’t want to do it. But, hey — Barry’s doing it. He’s still vital, he’s still energetic, and he’s still Barry. We had so much fun,” she continues. “I wish I’d taken more pictures. It was a great, great time. So when he left me, I was bereaved. I was really pissed off — because I loved him. It turned out OK, but I nursed a grudge. I’m famous for that. I think we left on a note that wasn’t the greatest. But I’m so much older now, and so is he, and we’re not what we were. I want to make sure that he knows how much I love him.” Midler grows overcome with emotion. “And I’m so proud of him. I’m proud of the fact that he keeps going and that his generosity has never faltered.”

December 22, 2023 Yahoo! News
[SOURCE: THE DESERT SUN]
"Barry Manilow, you are one of our desert’s treasures" by Ray Matlock Smythe
I went to the Barry Manilow Christmas Concert Sunday, Dec. 17 at the McCallum Theater. It was nothing short of fantastic on every level. The beautiful set, full orchestra, great backup singers and then the amazing Barry Manilow himself. He moved and sang like a man in his 50s. The show was like a Las Vegas review with a Christmas theme. So much energy, gorgeous music, lights and nonstop singing. Barry is such a classic showman.

Of course, he gives the money from these concerts to charities here in the valley. How generous is that gesture. Honestly, it was one of the best concerts of my life. The audience was on their feet for the last 30 minutes of the show. Never have I witnessed such adoration for a performer in my life as I did Sunday. Barry’s charming personality and good spirit were so welcoming to everyone in the theater.

How lucky we are to have Barry as a permanent resident here in our desert community. Honestly, he should be an ambassador for our country. He truly brought so much joy and goodwill to the world last night. Thank you, Barry, for all you do for our community. You truly are one of our desert treasures.

December 21, 2023 ABC AudioBarry Manilow’s new Christmas hit was almost a Christmas album
Barry Manilow has scored a holiday hit with his version of Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” But if things had gone differently, we would’ve gotten a whole album of Christmas songs from the legendary entertainer. “I was going to make a Christmas album this year, but this year turned [out] to be the craziest year of my career and I couldn’t finish it,” Barry told ABC Audio. “But I had three songs done and that was one of them.” Barry said he made Mariah’s song his own by making it “a little simpler,” adding, “I really loved the writing of the song. I thought the melody was strong. I thought the lyric was strong.”

In fact, Mariah’s song is one of the rare modern holiday tracks that is just as popular as classics like “White Christmas” — something Barry says is extremely hard to pull off. “As you become more and more popular, it always gets to, ‘OK, let’s do a Christmas album.’ And that is a big challenge,” he notes. “Because a lot of us try to write our own Christmas songs … and you can’t compete with the standards.”

Barry’s decision to cover a beloved song, instead of trying write one himself, and then release it as a stand-alone single turned out to be a good one. And it’s paid off in a way he never expected. “I loved what we had done to that song. And I said, ‘Why don’t you just put it on Spotify during the Christmas month? See what happens,'” he notes. “And holy moly, it’s bulleting up the charts. I never thought I would tell anybody that I’m bulleting up the charts again.”

December 20, 2023 American Songwriter"Barry Manilow’s 'Harmony' Is No Jukebox Musical, and There’s a Serious Message Amidst the Songs and the Laughs" by Bryan Reesman
Believe it or not, Barry Manilow originally wanted to just be a songwriter and compose music for Broadway shows—and that’s certainly more than enough. The former dream happened early; the latter finally happened after decades of being a performing superstar. Manilow and longtime lyricist Barry Sussman have worked together for 50 years, and after more than 30 of them, their goal of bringing a show to New York has finally become a reality. Just don’t expect musical theater renditions of tunes like “Mandy,” “Copacabana (At the Copa),” or “I Write the Songs”—this is an entirely original production.

The genesis for the new Manilow/Sussman musical, Harmony, on Broadway came about in the early 1990s when the latter saw the 1976 documentary The Comedian Harmonists about the genre-hopping German singing sextet of the same name. It included interviews with surviving members. Sussman immediately told Manilow about it, and they began their long journey toward writing, scoring, and mounting the musical.

And what a story it is: three Jews and three gentiles create a singing sensation in their homeland by combining their dulcet harmonies with funny stage routines and applying them to popular numbers of the day, drawing increasing international attention between 1928 and 1934. But the rise of the Nazis and the persecution of Jews there and throughout Europe led to their dissolution. The members’ stories continued on different paths after that, but the musical focuses on the period just before through just after that aforementioned timeframe.

Since 1997, four off-Broadway productions of Harmony have been staged—in San Diego, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, along with a failed attempt in Philadelphia—and nearly a decade after the last iteration, it made its way to the Great White Way after a recent off-Broadway NYC run. The twist of this rendition is that the elderly version of one of the members, named Rabbi, relates the tale to the audience and also tries to vainly warn his youthful self of the mistakes he is making. It adds an extra layer to the storytelling and helps audiences relate better to the characters.

The first act of Harmony starts in an exuberant, classic Broadway-style beginning, as we are soon introduced to each of the distinct members of the singing group and how their voices combine together. As their fortunes swell and their act blossoms with comedic flair, we get a strong sense of the international accolades that could lead to great things for them. But by the second act, the reality of the Nazi takeover of Germany threatens the fabric of the group and their personal lives.

A very effective character in the second act is the Gestapo officer who first sits in the front of the theater to watch their performance, then half-pretends to be an ally to them because they have an influential composer friend in the Nazi Party. But the cold, calculating officer slowly twists the knife, because he knows such protection will gradually diminish. His sinister presence is a reminder that when fascism rises, art and culture inevitably suffer under intense oppression—a lesson that is certainly still relevant in modern times. The show has received criticism for what some critics feel is not quite the right balance between the slapstick musical elements and the depiction of the troubling societal ills rising in Germany at the time. Yet there are certainly memorable moments that will linger after people leave the theater.

Harmony arrives at a precarious time; so many of the issues it deals with could happen again. Manilow and Sussman certainly are aware of that, but what makes the show doubly important is that it is not only reawakening the memory of the group, but exposing them to so many people who never knew of their existence. As the show’s tagline says, Harmony tells “the extraordinary true story of the greatest entertainers the world would ever forget.”

Harmony is currently playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. To learn more about the Comedian Harmonists, venture to this site.

December 11, 2023 Billboard.com"Barry Manilow Talks ‘A Very Barry Christmas’ TV Special and Changing His Mind About the Term ‘Fanilow’: He has had A Very Barry Year -- busy and booked, just the way he likes it" by Paul Grein
Barry Manilow turned 80 this year, but don’t think for a second that he’s slowing down. He’s too booked to even consider it. Tonight (Dec. 11) at 10 p.m. ET/PT, NBC will air Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas.

The show was filmed about five weeks ago at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino where he performs his long-running show, Manilow: Las Vegas – The Hits Come Home! The special consists of half holiday songs (“Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Feliz Navidad” and “White Christmas”) and half Manilow hits (his three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits – “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs” and “Looks Like We Made It” – and what is probably his most famous song “Copacabana”). The special was directed by Matt Askew, who directed Weekends With Adele.

A Very Barry Christmas is Manilow’s third Christmas-themed TV special. He has also released three Christmas albums and was planning to record another one this year, but didn’t get it done. “I started to lay out all the songs that I was going to do, and then this year happened,” Manilow told Billboard. “This year was like the craziest year ever.”

Manilow was honored by the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall in May. He played five consecutive nights (there are no nights off for this trouper) at Radio City Music Hall in May and June – and he’s already booked for five more shows at the legendary venue in April 2024. He was a presenter on the Tony Awards in June. Harmony, the stage musical he wrote with longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, which had spent decades in development hell, finally opened on Broadway in November.

Manilow has probably done more TV – and used it more effectively – than just about any other pop music performer. He won a Primetime Emmy in 1977 for his first special, The Barry Manilow Special. The show, which featured Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall, was seen by 34 million viewers. He won his second in 2006, for the PBS show Manilow: Music and Passion.

He won that first Emmy, at least in part, because he was hot as a pistol in 1977, with a No. 1 single on the Hot 100 (“Looks Like We Made It”) and a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 (Barry Manilow/Live). He won his second, at least in part, because his fellow professionals respected the way he had survived the ups and downs of a long career. He had “made it through the rain,” to borrow the title of one of his best songs – one that a longtime Fanilow (that would be me) ranked No. 6 on this list of his 25 top 40 hits on the Hot 100 that we posted in June to coincide with his reaching the big 8-0.

Manilow talked to Billboard on the eve of tonight’s special. This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Billboard (BB): How did this new special for NBC come about?
Barry Manilow (BM): NBC executives came to see my regular [non-holiday] show at the Westgate and we were talking afterwards, and they were saying they were looking for Christmas product because everybody was on strike. And I said, “I have a Christmas show. We’ve been doing it for the last four years, and everybody seems to love it.” We sent them a video of it and they loved it. Before we knew it, we were taping the show.

BB: You’ve taken this Christmas show on the road too.
BM: It’s always received really well. I figured out a way of not only doing Christmas songs but my hits. It goes back and forth. It still always feels like a Christmas show, even when I’m singing “Copacabana.”

BB: Christmas songs are right in your wheelhouse because so many of them are filled with yearning and emotion.
BM: Even the [up-tempo] ones feel emotional because we’ve heard them all of our lives. That’s the only way I write, arrange or perform. If it doesn’t make me feel something, and if it doesn’t make the audience feel something, whether it’s sad or happy, then I’ve missed; then I haven’t done it right.

BB: When did you tape the special?
BM: About four or five weeks ago. We did two tapings. When I did my first batch of specials back in the ’70s and ’80s, there were about five cameras. [On this one,] they brought in 12 cameras. They had every angle they possibly could. It’s a beautiful-looking special. It looks other-worldly.

BB: Any guests?
BM: No, but we have Santa, little children, loads of Christmas trees — and it snows on the audience.

BB: Why do you think TV works so well for you?
BM: I try to be as genuine and as honest with every word and everything I say as I possibly can. If I’m right, that works to the camera, just like it works to an audience. If I can’t feel that I am being truthful in every lyric that I sing, then I shouldn’t be on the stage.

BB: Last night I watched your 2019 interview for the Television Academy’s The Interviews series. You talked about how that first special in March 1977 took you to another level of fame and recognition – which is saying something, because you had had two No. 1 hits by that point.
BM: The next morning [after the special aired], I went to the airport and everybody was yelling at me, “Barry! Barry! Barry!” The day before that, nobody paid any attention, but after that, it changed.

BB: Did ABC ever offer you a summer replacement TV show, like a lot of music stars did back did back then?
BM: They did, but I turned it down. I didn’t think it was the right thing to do — but I told them I would love to do one special a year, and they were OK with that. I didn’t think summer replacement [series] were helping the artist, and I didn’t want to be the guy that introduced people and did comedy sketches. That’s really not what I do. I would be terrible at that.

BB: I didn’t realize the term “Fanilow” came from your 2003 appearance on Will & Grace.
BM: One of the characters [played by guest star Sara Gilbert] was waiting [in line with Will, played by Eric McCormack] for tickets to a show of mine and said she was a Fanilow. It was a joke. It was clever and people picked up on it.

BB: That phrase was a gift to you, because it’s catchy and affectionate.
BM: I didn’t like it in the beginning. I thought it was kind of a put-down. But people would come up to me and say, ‘I’m a Fanilow,’ and they’d be so proud that I began to like it. And now I do like it.

BB: I’m impressed that, 50 years into your career, you played five nights at Radio City.
BM: For a New York guy like me, just to do [one night at] Radio City would have been enough — but to sell out five nights, that was really a thrill.

BB: I’m also impressed that you played five consecutive nights. Artists half your age take nights off.
BM: Oh please. I don’t even worry about that. I never get tired. I don’t sleep and I don’t eat. That’s my secret.

BB: Harmony finally opened on Broadway this year. When did you and Bruce first write it?
BM: We got the idea in 1997. It took awhile for us to put it together. And then the producer couldn’t get [it to Broadway] so we’d put it back in the drawer. Then there was another producer waiting to try it. Most of the time, we signed with a production company for three years. Every time we had to wait [until the previous deal was up]. Most of the time they just couldn’t get it to New York.

BB: Dionne Warwick [whose 1979 comeback album Manilow produced] got the Kennedy Center Honors last week. The ceremony will air on TV later this month. It seems to me that if they base their selections on artists who have risen to the top in many different fields of entertainment, you should have gotten it by now. You went to the top in recordings, TV and live performances. If you ever do get that call, what would it mean to you?
BM: Well, it’s quite an honor. No, they’ve never called and asked, and I don’t think they ever will. Maybe I just don’t do the kind of thing they want their honorees to do. I don’t understand why. If they did, would it be the top of the line? It would be pretty close to the top of the line to get an honor like that.

December 10, 2023 Daily Herald"Still making music: Barry Manilow celebrates the holidays on NBC" by Jay Bobbin Gracenote
While we may already be in the season for celebration, any occasion showcasing Barry Manilow is a holiday for his generations of fans. A winner of a Grammy, two Primetime Emmys and a special Tony Award, the enduringly popular singer-songwriter has released seasonal albums over the course of his nearly 50 years as a star, and some of those tunes will factor in - along with many of his pop standards, from "Mandy" to "Copacabana" - when "Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas," airs at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, on NBC. (The special also will stream on Peacock starting the next day.)

Taped at the International Showroom of the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino (which was formerly the Las Vegas Hilton), where Manilow has broken Elvis Presley's record for doing the most shows at the venue during his 14-year association there, the hour will also include such seasonal favorites as "Jingle Bells" and "White Christmas." A 24-piece band backs Manilow during his Vegas performances, one of which was attended by network executives - setting the stage, both figuratively and literally, for the new special.

"A whole bunch of NBC people came to see the regular show I do at the Westgate, and they were interested in filming that," the genial Manilow explains. "During the conversation after the show, they said they were looking for Christmas stuff because they couldn't create anything until after the writers' strike, which was going on then. I said, 'I've got a Christmas show.' They said, 'You do?' And I said, 'Yeah. And it's all ready to go, if you want it.' We do it in various places every year," notes Manilow, "and I sent them a video of it, and they loved what they saw. They came to the Westgate with their cameras, we had a big audience, and off we went. The only problem was me, because I kept forgetting to do certain things, but they made the show even more beautiful than it was before. There were many more lights and more Christmas trees, and it was just gorgeous."

Manilow has a long-standing affinity for the holiday season. "I love my Christmas albums," he maintains of "Because It's Christmas," "A Christmas Gift of Love" and "In the Swing of Christmas." "I loved doing them. I don't listen to my albums, but now and again, if I'm going to listen to any of them, it's those. I love the arrangements and the orchestrations and the songs that I chose. I'm very proud of those Christmas albums."

Still, Manilow realizes that his fans also want his time-tested hits. That catalog encompasses such standards as "I Write the Songs," "Could It Be Magic," "Looks Like We Made It," "Tryin' to Get the Feeling," "Can't Smile Without You," "Weekend in New England," "This One's for You," "Even Now," "Daybreak" and "New York City Rhythm." "I've figured out a way of putting together some of the hits and a lot of Christmas songs," Manilow says, "but it always still feels like a Christmas show even if I'm doing 'I Write the Songs' or 'Mandy.' I think the audiences would probably be disappointed if I didn't do the hits, and that's what we've done for NBC, too. We had to edit it down, because the live Christmas show goes about 90 minutes, and you can't do all of that on a one-hour TV show with commercials. We recorded everything, though, in the order that I always do it."

Las Vegas has been a factor in Manilow's career virtually from the beginning. "I started in Vegas when I was a kid," he recalls. "I opened for Helen Reddy, and the Vegas audiences were really great, very kind to me. And I thought, 'I think I'm going to wind up here eventually.' We went back periodically to do [shows at] the Desert Inn and then the Sahara, so when I was offered a Vegas residency, I jumped at it. That meant I could stop touring, but I didn't want to stop performing or lose my band and my crew, so it was a perfect thing to do."

2023 has been a bountiful year for Manilow, encompassing a sold-out concert run at New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall (where he'll return in April) and the opening of the second Broadway show he has composed the music for, "Harmony," with lyrics by his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. It's the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, six young German men whose success before World War II was impacted by global events.

"This has been the wildest year ever," Manilow reflects. "You couldn't get away from me! It started at Carnegie Hall, where the New York Pops honored me with a whole evening, accompanying singers doing my stuff. From there, I went to Radio City Music Hall and on tour, and it just kept going from there. Month after month, there was another event. And I like that. If these things hadn't happened, I would have invented something. "I just like creating," Manilow concludes. "I'm not one of those guys to just sit around and watch television. Either I have an album to promote or a concert, and I like doing what I do. I really do."

December 8, 2023 USA Today"Barry Manilow loved his 'crazy' year: Las Vegas, Broadway and a NBC holiday special" by Melissa Ruggieri
Even Barry Manilow can’t believe the year he’s experienced. Whether he’s checking out a Stevie Nicks concert in Palm Springs, California, or dashing into a high-end retailer in Las Vegas, the recognizability factor is amplified. “This crazy year,” Manilow says by phone from his California home, a hint of disbelief in his voice. “People always say the nicest things. All they want to tell me how much my music has meant to them and to have a selfie and I am happy to do it. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in me.”

Manilow’s resurgence – not that the maestro celebrating 50 years in the industry ever went anywhere – is threefold: A spring sold-out run at Radio City Music Hall (a homecoming of sorts for the Brooklyn native); a record-breaking residency at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas with his ongoing “Barry Manilow – The Hits Come Home!” (he smashed Elvis Presley’s record of 636 shows at the venue’s International Theatre in September); and the 30-year dream of bringing his original musical “Harmony,” written with longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, to Broadway (it opened Nov. 13).

Manilow, 80, will cap his year with “Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas,” a holiday special airing on NBC (10 p.m. ET/PT) Monday and streaming on Peacock the next day. The music icon, who has sold more than 85 million records worldwide with eternally hummable hits including “Copacabana (At the Copa),” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Looks Like We Made It” and “Mandy,” chatted about what makes a memorable Christmas song, why he loves his Las Vegas venue and his hopes for “Harmony.”

USA Today (UT): So what makes something “a very Barry Christmas?” Is it your mere presence?
Barry Manilow (BM): (Laughs.) I’m sorry to say it is. I’d been doing this Christmas show (on the road) for about five years and I love it and the audience loves it. We changed the set around and we have snow and Christmas trees and the presents and it’s wonderful. When the curtain opens, it looks like a Christmas card. The NBC people came out to check out my regular show and in conversation they said they were looking for a Christmas show since the writers were on strike and I said, ‘I have a Christmas show ready to go!’ It’s a cut-down version of my 90-minute show but it’s the highlights – Christmas songs and some of mine that people love. When I did my first TV special (in 1977), there were probably five cameras. Now it’s 12 cameras! Holy moley! I went into the control room and it looked like they were launching the Space Shuttle. But it’s a beautiful-looking show and it sounds great.

UT: You have a new cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which seems like an interesting choice for you. What made you want to cover it?
BM: I was supposed to have a Christmas album out this year, but it takes me awhile because I have to arrange all the songs and one of the ones I wound up completing was the Mariah song. It’s a wonderful record and a solid song. When I dove into it I didn’t want to do the Wall of Sound Phil Spector thing she did, which is great sounding. The melody and the lyrics are strong, so I went the other way and made it much more simple. There are hardly any instruments playing and it builds and builds and by the time we get to the bridge it’s a really big record. When it came time to do something for this Christmas, I said to (manager and husband) Garry (Kief), put it on Spotify and see what happens and it started to blow up without any help. I never thought I’d be saying I have a record with a bullet, but what a way to end this insane year.

UT: You’re a master at melody. What do you think makes a good Christmas song?
BM: Something that makes you feel and a catchy melody are the top answers. You get a catchy melody, you can sing anything. But for me, I need to feel something. The ones we all know, it’s because you feel good or melancholy. Every new artist eventually makes their first Christmas album and it’s hard to write Christmas songs.

UT: And what’s the status of that Christmas album you’ve been working on?
BM: I’ll try again this summer to finish it. I’ve laid out all that I want to do with it.

UT: So let’s talk about Vegas. I’ve seen you at various places there over the years, but what makes Westgate such a good fit for your show?
BM: For me, it’s the perfect place. I like to communicate with an audience. The bigger the crowd gets, the more trouble I have communicating. This place, which is like 1,500 people, is the perfect place for what I want to do. I want to make people understand the words I’m saying. I want them to feel something when I’m on that stage. I did a run at the Paris (casino) and it was the most beautiful and expensive show we’ve ever done and a wonderful production. But it was so complicated that I could not change anything. If I wanted to throw another song in, it took a week to relight and restage and I didn’t realize I would be imprisoned. At the Westgate, I can throw in any song I want; they just redo the lights and we can throw it in the show that night.

UT: Do you spend much time doing anything else in Vegas?
BM: I do not. There’s always something to do for me in the afternoon, but the last thing I would do is to go out. I have gone shopping a few times because they have a big mall with some nice stores like Prada and this and that. This year has been one of the biggest of my career and my face is pretty well known at this point. I went to see Stevie Nicks and it was “Barry! Barry! Barry!” and that hasn’t happened like that in a while.

UT: What did you think of Stevie?
BM: I thought she was great. She’s got a very interesting-sounding voice and is very appealing. The big surprise was how much she talked between songs and described the songs she was going to do. I didn’t expect that. She made us all want to listen to the song that was coming up.

UT: Over the years we’ve talked about “Harmony.” (Manilow’s musical based on the true story of arguably the first boy band from the 1920s and ‘30s – The Comedian Harmonists – superstars of their era based in Berlin.) It’s gone from San Diego to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Off-Broadway and now, finally Broadway. What is your overriding feeling of seeing that goal achieved?
BM: Now we hope, and the big question is, will it last? No one can predict that. January and February are usually the worst months for Broadway, so if we can make it through that we might have a successful Broadway show. Right now we’re doing very well. It was an amazing day when the marquee went up. It made it real. Did it make me cry? No, but it felt like finally, after all these years.

UT: You recently announced your last concerts in England coming up this summer. Have you thought about when you might stop performing in the U.S.?
BM: I like working, I do. I’m still healthy and I still can sing and look pretty much the same. I don’t have any plans on stopping. I like being with the band and I enjoy standing on stage and talking to the audience. I wanted to stop those crazy tours in England because to make any money there you have to stay a couple weeks, so I’m saying goodbye to touring in England like we did in the U.S. We don’t tour anymore, but I’ll go out and do a few weeks. It was the touring that had to stop. I missed the dogs. I missed my life.

December 8, 2023 People.com"Barry Manilow Reveals the Christmas Movie That Had Him 'Crying at the End' Ahead of NBC Holiday Special: 'Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas' will premiere on NBC on Monday night" by Rachel DeSantis
Barry Manilow isn’t one for Christmas traditions - but there is one classic holiday movie that can bring him to tears. The legendary star, 80, tells PEOPLE that he remembers one winter where he was laid up, sick, on the couch, and caught a broadcast of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life. “I’ll never forget crying at the end of it. When art can make you cry, you know that it’s definitely wonderful writing, when it can do that to you. When a painting can do it or when a song can do it, or when a movie like that can do it, you know that that is the real deal,” he says. “And that’s what happened to me when I watched It's a Wonderful Life.”

Luckily for Manilow and his fans, the holiday spirit will be a bit more cheerful on Monday night, when his NBC special, Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas, airs at 10/9c. The hour-long special was filmed on the same Las Vegas stage at the Westgate that Manilow performs his residency, and will feature his 24-piece band accompanying him on classic hits like “Copacabana” and “Mandy,” plus holiday tunes like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Feliz Navidad” and “White Christmas.”

Manilow had already been touring a Christmas show on the road for the last several years, so when NBC came knocking, he was raring to go. “We have the set and we have the songs and we have the layout and we have children and we have Santa Claus and we have snow and we have Christmas trees,” he says. “When NBC heard about it, they said, ‘Can we bring our cameras?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure!’”

For Manilow, who’s released three Christmas albums over the years, it’s the perfect way to showcase his true passion when it comes to the holiday season: the music. “I really like the songs. Yes we’ve heard them all of our lives, but because we know them, for me, I love rearranging them,” he says. “When I started making records, whenever I did a standard, I would arrange them for myself. And that’s what I did for all these Christmas albums that I’ve had out — I’ve taken the standard Christmas song and played around with them and made them into my own. That’s the part I like the best of this Christmas show.”

He gives “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as an example, explaining that he took the standard and spun it on its head, turning it into a “kind of swingy thing.” He adds that his most unexpected holiday favorite is “River” by Joni Mitchell, a 1971 classic off Blue that, while more about the winter season, features shades of “Jingle Bells.” “I did the same thing with ‘River’ that I’ve done with a lot of them. She’s a wonderful performer and a wonderful songwriter,” Manilow explains of his arrangements. “I found my version of ‘River’ and I love doing it, and I don’t think the whole audience actually ever knew ‘River,’ but they sure do like it when I’m done with it.”

Meanwhile at home, Manilow says he recently put his own Christmas tree up with the help of his family, including husband Garry Kief, Kief’s daughter Kirsten and Kirsten’s 2-1/2-year-old daughter (Manilow revealed to PEOPLE in October that he’s now a grandfather). “She’s a toddler, so she doesn’t really know what we’re doing,” he says. “But she had a good time with us. She was running around and breaking the Christmas balls.”

Manilow has plenty to celebrate this holiday season. In September, he broke Elvis Presley’s record for most performances in Las Vegas, an honor he still seems awed by. (Manilow says he purposely put the focus on raising money for various charities like Manilow Music Project, Musicians on Call and more instead, as he “didn’t even like the idea of breaking Elvis Presley’s record”). “It wasn’t a focus on me breaking anybody’s record,” he says. “It was wonderful to be able to do that, but you can’t break Elvis’s anything. There’s nobody like him. This man changed music, so I was honored to be a part of anything with Elvis.”

Then in November, his show Harmony finally premiered on Broadway, and he says reception so far has been “great.” “When you put a show up in New York, the sentence you want to hear is, ‘You got to see this one,’” he says. “And we’re getting that from everybody who sees it. The word of mouth is excellent. The reviews were terrific, and now we’ll see what happens.”

For now, though, Manilow is ready to get festive. “It’s a beautiful and joyful, feel-good Christmas show,” he says. “I hope everybody tunes in, because they’re going to be singing along with me, and it’s just a wonderful, wonderful-looking Christmas show. NBC blew it up even bigger than what I could think of.”

Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas will premiere on NBC on Monday at 10/9c. It will be available to stream the next day on Peacock, and an encore will air on Dec. 20.

December 5, 2023 ReMIND Magazine"Barry Manilow on His Favorite Song (You Won’t Guess It!) and More" by Barb Oates
Barry Manilow truly writes the songs that make the whole world sing. From “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs” to “Can’t Smile Without You” and “Copacabana,” we all know and love these melodies. So how do you even begin to pick a favorite? It’s like picking your favorite child and announcing it publicly, but for global music superstar Barry Manilow, it took only a few minutes before he responded to our question.

When we talked to Manilow about his new holiday special coming up, Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas (airing Dec. 11 at 10pm ET on NBC), he shared so much about his career and his favorites. Here’s more of our conversation:

ReMIND Magazine (RM): Is there a song that speaks your truth the most? Is most personal to you?
Barry Manilow (BM): That’s an interesting question. There’s one song that I did on an earlier album that I wrote with my collaborator, Marty Panzer, who wrote the lyrics, and it’s called “All the Time.” Out of all the songs that I’ve ever written, and I’ve had a lot. And I certainly love “Could It Be Magic,” which is based on a Chopin prelude, and “Copacabana.” But “All the Time” is very deep. It’s about feeling like a misfit when you’re growing up. And it affects a lot of people when I do it. So that’s the one that comes to mind.

RM: Do you have a favorite song of yours?
BM: I go back to the first album where I did “Could It Be Magic,” and it still holds up for me. “Could It Be Magic” I based on Chopin’s Prelude in C minor, and I knew nothing about records. I knew nothing about singles. Single records should last two minutes. “Could It Be Magic” lasted eight minutes. I didn’t even know anything about singles, I just liked the song. I loved what I did to the song when I started writing it, because I’m an arranger. I love producing records. And so on that first album, it was an eight-minute song and it jumped out of the record. It jumped out of the album, what they used to call FM stations. The hip stations started to play it, and it became popular during the ’70s. And I’m still crazy about it. So that’s the long answer to your question. “Could It Be Magic” is the answer.

RM: Any song you get tired of performing? Like, “Oh, do I have to sing this song again?”
BM: Never, never. If I ever did, I wouldn’t sing it. I would take it out of the show. It’d be very unfair to the song and to the audience. Actually, that did happen to “Looks Like We Made It” years ago. I just couldn’t find the truth in it for some reason. I found myself thinking about somebody else while I was singing it. That’s just awful. So I took it out of the show for a couple of weeks or maybe a month or so, and then I put it back in. But now, I don’t feel that way about any of it.

RM: Tell us about your Fanalows — your fan base over the years. What is it like when you look out into the audience, and you see these people crying when they hear your music and just so absolutely in awe of you and your work?
BM: It means I’m doing the job that I love to do. I’m very grateful that they’re still with me, and that there’s anybody with me. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m always ready for the whole thing to fall apart any day. And yet I’ve got these strangers out there that continue to come and cheer me on, and they’ve been doing that for all these years. From the very first time I got on a stage. And I stunk. I really didn’t know what I was doing all those years ago, and yet they didn’t agree. They liked what they heard, they liked what they saw, and they stuck with me all these years. And they’ve gotten bigger and it’s just an amazing ride that I’ve had because of them. I would not have the kind of life I have without those people whose names I don’t even know. And yet they just have been so generous all these years.

RM: Do you have a fan encounter memory that you’ll never forget?
BM: The kind of stuff I do kind of does draw people because it is very emotional. They’re not just silly love songs — and there’s nothing wrong with silly love songs — but with me it’s just, for some reason, it’s deeper than that for people who listen to what I do. So I get the most moving people. It’s the most moving meetings that I could ever imagine. I stand there and just listen to them or watch them cry or I have to think that I’ve helped them with my music. Really to think that I’ve helped them get through hard times with a song or a performance, it’s just kind of overwhelming. So yeah, I get it all the time and it’s really quite amazing.

Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas airs on NBC Monday, Dec. 11 at 9pm ET.

December 2, 2023 Digital Journal"Review: Barry Manilow performs at Rockefeller Center in New York" by Markos Papadatos
On November 29, Barry Manilow performed in New York’s Rockefeller Center just in time for the annual tree lighting ceremony. NBC news anchor Al Roker introduced Manilow as an “absolute legend.”

A Grammy award-winning artist, Manilow performed Mariah Carey’s holiday standard “All I Want For Christmas is You” with a slight twist to it. He sang the tune in a slower, expressive, and jazzy fashion, which allowed his rich, rumbling voice to shine; even at the age of 80, his voice was smooth as silk. It was superb, and the Big Apple audience loved him.

Kelly Clarkson reiterated that Manilow is “legendary.” Manilow revealed to Clarkson that he is celebrating the holidays this year by “being off the road,” being home, and “playing with the dogs.”

He was joined by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and they performed a joyful performance of “Because It’s Christmas (For All The Children),” which was uplifting and full of positivity. “Happy Holidays everybody,” Manilow said, following the warm response.

His new TV special “A Very Barry Christmas” will premiere on Monday, December 11 on NBC. To learn more about Barry Manilow, check out his official website.

December 1, 2023 The Desert Sun"Barry Manilow Christmas concerts to benefit 25 Palm Springs area nonprofits" by Winston Gieseke
Barry Manilow has had an incredible year. In addition to completing a sold-out run at Radio City Music Hall; opening his second Broadway musical, “Harmony”; and being honored at Carnegie Hall by The New York Pops; the composer and recording artist recently performed his 637th show at the Westgate Las Vegas, beating Elvis Presley’s previously held record for most appearances on the same stage.

But that’s not all. He also has a new Christmas single rising up the charts (a cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”) and a Christmas special, “Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas,” airing Dec. 11 on NBC and streaming the following day on Peacock.

Manilow’s record-breaking career spans seven decades. He has sold 85 million albums, charted 13 No. 1 hits and won two Emmys, a Grammy and a Tony. A long-time philanthropist, the performer has also raised money for hurricane relief after both Hugo (1989) and Katrina (2005) as well as supported numerous charitable organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, to name just a few.

His foundation, The Manilow Music Project, supports music education in schools by donating instruments, providing grants and scholarships and helping young musicians gain access to excellent education. To date, the project has distributed more than $10 million in instruments and funds. Locally, Manilow has raised millions of dollars for Coachella Valley charities over the past 20 years and is gearing up to add to that with his annual Christmas concerts at the McCallum Theatre.

“A Gift of Love VI” kicks off Dec. 12 and comprises five shows. “We choose 25 local charities, and we give them a lot of seats and all the money that we make,” Manilow tells The Desert Sun. “It goes right to each of the charities. I don't get paid for any of those shows. My band and the crew, of course, does but I don't because it's a charity show.” The 25 charities benefiting this year are AAP – Food Samaritans, ACT For MS, Angel View, Animal Samaritans, Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Boo2Bullying, Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley, Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, College of the Desert Foundation, DAP Health, Desert Symphony, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Jewish Family Service of the Desert, LifeStream Blood Bank, Loving All Animals, Manilow Music Project, Martha’s Village & Kitchen, McCallum Theatre Education Institute, Negro Academic Scholarship Fund, Oswit Land Trust, Palm Springs Search & Rescue, Paws & Hearts, Safe Schools Desert Cities, The Judy Fund and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

The idea of giving back has been on Manilow’s mind from the beginning of his career. “I always thought that as soon as I start making money, I would start giving it away,” he says. “I think that's what everybody does - or at least I hope that when you get lucky as I did, you start helping people.”

In addition to his Gifts of Love, the composer has long given his fans the gift of his music. This includes three Christmas albums. This year, he had planned to do a fourth. “I was going to make a full Christmas album, but this year just exploded and I didn’t have enough time to finish it,” he says. “I went into the recording studio and recorded three of the Christmas songs that I was going to put on an album, and one of them was Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You,’ which everybody loves.”

Manilow’s legions of fans will love his spin on the modern classic. “When I listened to the Mariah Carey version, it's kind of like that Phil Spector Wall of Sound record, and I didn't want to do that. So I came up with a different angle on the song and a different arrangement. We released it (Nov. 3), and it's moving up the charts really quickly. It's a big surprise.”

Despite his amazing and busy year, Manilow says he has no plans to retire. “They'll have to drag me out of not working. I love working and I'm not stopping. I'll certainly keep doing (“A Gift of Love”) every year. I will. As long as I can still walk and talk and sing, I'll be doing it every year.”

A Gift of Love concerts will take place Dec. 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17. Tickets are available at agol6.com.

November 30, 2023 iHeartRadioBarry Manilow Talks His Broadway Musical 'Harmony,' What Inspires Him, Being A Grandfather & More!
November 25, 2023 NPR (National Public Radio)"An early boy band was world famous — until the Nazis took over" by Jeff Lunden
Long before there were The Backstreet Boys or BTS, there was a boy band called the Comedian Harmonists. A vocal sextet in Weimar Germany, they were world famous — but once the Nazis rose to power they were silenced, because three members were Jewish. Their story has now been turned into a Broadway musical called Harmony, with a score by pop superstar Barry Manilow.

A new musical: About 30 years ago, playwright Bruce Sussman, who had collaborated with Barry Manilow on the musical Copacabana, went to a screening of a film about the Comedian Harmonists "and endured three and a half hours of German documentary making with subtitles," he said. "And instead of being daunted by it, I was completely overwhelmed by it in the most positive way. And I ran to a pay phone and called Barry and said, 'I think I might have found the story we would like to musicalize.'"

Manilow had never heard of them but was immediately smitten by their sophistication. "They were a combination of the Manhattan Transfer musically and the Marx Brothers comedy," he said.

But the musical possibilities aside, the group's story made for compelling, stage-worthy material. "They rose from impoverished street musicians to international celebrities almost overnight," said Sussman. "They were discovered in a little club singing on the same bill with Marlene Dietrich who was unknown at the time. ... They sold millions of records at a time when the recording industry was in its infancy. They made 13 films, performed in the greatest concert halls around the world. And 1933, Hitler comes to power, and some of our group members are Jewish. And how they confront their collision course with history is our second act."

"The beauty of it is that, you know, in the most chaotic time in history, three Jews and three Gentiles found harmony," said director/choreographer Warren Carlyle. "They literally found harmony when the world around them was pulling people apart."

Meeting the Rabbi: The show has gone through many iterations and productions over the years, but now, Harmony is framed as a memory play. The last surviving member of the group, a character known as Rabbi, speaks directly to the audience. He's played by Broadway veteran Chip Zien. "The show is somewhat through the eyes of my character, but I also get to weave in and out of the action a little bit," said Zien. And, indeed, during the show he dons wigs and mustaches to become Albert Einstein and Richard Strauss, among other notables.

When he was working on Harmony in the 1990s, Barry Manilow actually met the real Rabbi Cyckowski , who turned out to be an elderly neighbor who lived just a block away from Manilow in Palm Springs, Calif. "He was adorable," Manilow said. "He went right back to the vaudeville world. He said if they hadn't destroyed what we did, we would have been bigger than the Beatles!"

Manilow also met the Rabbi's wife, Mary. In the musical, she's played by Sierra Boggess. She's pragmatic and sees the problems the group is facing, as a Gentile, before they do. Boggess said the cast did research and spoke with a historian. "And he said that the Jews in that time had too much hope and not enough fear," she said. "That's really stuck with me. And I wrote that on almost every page of each scene that I would start."

Danny Kornfeld is making his Broadway debut as the young Rabbi. He said he watched documentaries, read books and even traveled to Berlin to prepare for the role. "I visited Rabbi and Mary's first apartment in Berlin, the apartment that they left, a potential synagogue that they probably got married at," he said. "So, it was really establishing my own sense of relationship to the city itself."

Always relevant: While the first act is fairly light-hearted, the second act brings the Nazi threat quite literally into the audience. "When that particular officer walks down the aisle of the Barrymore Theatre, you know, the world has changed, because our room has changed," said director Warren Carlyle.

Harmony may feel especially relevant now because the world outside the room has changed. But, Barry Manilow said, unfortunately, the show has always seemed relevant. "Every time we mounted the show, everybody would say, 'Oh, this is the perfect time for Harmony,'" said Manilow, "because it was always this anti-Semitism thing going on all the time, every single time. 'This was the perfect time for Harmony.' Well, of course, now it's very relevant."

November 23, 2023 TV Insider"Barry Manilow Previews His NBC Special ‘A Very Barry Christmas’" by Ileane Rudolph
“Jingle bells.” “White Christmas.” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” For his latest concert special, the legendary Barry Manilow doesn’t write all the songs that make the whole world sing — but he performs the heck out of these holiday standards. At 80, the crooner-composer is still going strong with a steady Las Vegas gig, a cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” the new Broadway musical Harmony, and now A Very Barry Christmas. Manilow gives us a peek.

TV Insider (TVI): What’s the Very Barry scoop?
Barry Manilow (BM): What I like most is that I figured out how to put in a handful of my hits with all the Christmas songs I’ve recorded over the years.

TVI: Which hits?
BM: I did a whole batch of them: “Mandy,” “Weekend in New England,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “I Write the Songs” and “Copacabana.”

TVI: What’s your spin on the Christmas tunes?
BM: Because I’m an arranger, they’re not going to be the versions you expect. I can promise they’re full of joy, especially when little kids come onstage with Santa for my “Cornball Christmas Medley.”

TVI: Sounds like a highlight!
BM: A boy who came up to my knees sings a great version of “Jingle Bell Rock.”

TVI: Do any celebrity guests join you onstage in Vegas?
BM: Nope, just little old me.

TVI: Why do you call the show “feel-good”?
BM: It’s always been my job to make people feel good. When the lights go down, they forget what’s going on [out in the world]. They sing and laugh and walk out feeling better than they did.

Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas, Monday, December 11, 10/9c, NBC

November 15, 2023 iHeartRadio Broadway"Barry Manilow Has Made His Broadway Dreams Come True" by Lex Miller
Recently, iHeartRadio Broadway sat down with Barry Manilow to discuss one of the biggest years of his career. Fresh off the heels of Harmony opening night, Manilow discusses his Broadway dreams coming true, being honored by the New York Pops, and performing a his Christmas show.

November 14, 2023 Radar Online"Bruce Sussman & Barry Manilow’s ‘Harmony’ Review: Broadways Best and Most Important New Musical" by Donny Meacham
Harmony strikes a powerful chord. Harmony — a new musical — that opened Monday night at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre — by legendary songwriters Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, is a new original work of art that will give you hope for humanity in a world that seems to be falling apart.

Harmony tells the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, a real-life singing group who rose from the streets of Berlin to play some of the most prestigious concert halls around the world. Selling millions of records in the 1920s and '30s, the world’s original boyband made thirteen movies and performed with the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker (both of whom appear in the new musical). Then in 1933, Hitler came to power, and within a few years, the group's meteoric success came to a halt. Their films were destroyed and their records were confiscated.

The reason we have never heard of The Comedian Harmonists is the story of ‘Harmony,’ so magnificently told by Sussman’s pitch-perfect book.

If you love to laugh, act one of ‘Harmony’ is the best new musical of the season. If you love to cry, act two of ‘Harmony’ is the most important new musical of the season. Blending both acts together is the genius of this glorious new show.

Act one is by design a traditional golden-age musical. As author Sussman put it in a recent interview, "the sort of show that would have been written about these talented young men if act two had never occurred." Sussman cleverly gives us a clue to his intentions in the final scene of the first act which takes place backstage at Carnegie Hall where the group’s triumphant New York debut is being celebrated.

There are telegrams from Fanny Brice, Gypsy Rose Lee, Will Rogers, and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia – all of whom have had musicals written about them. The decision made in the dressing room that night would change their lives forever, conveyed in the dazzling song ‘Home’ sung by the equally dazzling Sean Bell who is amazingly making his Broadway debut playing Bobby.

I don’t think there could be a better way to end the act than this anthem -- with a soaring melody by Manilow and devastatingly great lyrics by Sussman of hope and optimism about the future, set against a terrible sense of foreboding that what we in the audience feel about what will happen next.

The other performers playing The Comedian Harmonists are equally wonderfully in their well-rounded roles: Rabbi (Danny Kornfeld), Harry (Zal Owen), Erich (Eric Peters), Chopin (Blake Roman), Lesh (Steven Telsey).

Ruth, brought to life by Julie Benko, will break your heart in a role that will be impossible to forget at awards season. While, Mary, wife of Rabbi, played by Sierra Boggess, will melt your heart.

Theatrical treasure Chip Zien must be singled out for his shattering performance. This is what is must have been like seeing Ethel Merman create the role of ‘Rosie’ in Gypsy or watching Barbra Streisand blow the roof of the Winter Garden theatre in ‘Funny Girl.’

Zien, the original baker in Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, ‘Into the Woods,’ has found his greatest role at the age of 76 – playing the lead character, Rabbi, and several other supporting characters he summons up. (Give this man the Tony award right now).

Act two is where Sussman’s superb book comes into its own. I don’t think I can remember the last time I left a theater humming the book, but that’s exactly what happened.

To say act one is a musical and act two is a play is no insult to Manilow’s magnificent theatre score, but rather a compliment to Sussman's deft book. And if all this makes the show sounds disjointed, do not fear it certainly is not. Rather, it is a perfect jigsaw puzzle of a musical where miraculously all the pieces eventually fit perfectly together in the most thrilling fashion.

The last 20 minutes of HARMONY are the most remarkable 20 minutes you will ever experience within a theater. You can hear a pin drop.

Director Warren Carlyle and scenic designer Beowulf Borritt deliver an audacious design relying on black mirror which presents challenges for iconic lighting designers Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher who meet the challenge head-on and create one of the most imaginative lighting designs in recent memory. The costumes by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, which run the gamut from impoverished street singers to tiara-clad concertgoers, are spot-on.

Finding harmony in the most discordant chapter of human history is what The Comedian Harmonists did. What Manilow and Sussman have done is equally impressive. The men who made the whole world sing with their Grammy-award winner mega-hit ‘Copacabana,’ will now make the whole world think with what will surely become the most important hit of their careers – ‘Harmony.’

If you only see one show this year, make sure it’s Harmony. Not only will it change your life, hopefully it will change the world too. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MINUTES with one intermission.

A New York Times Critic’s Pick, Harmony received a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical and an award for Outstanding Best Book of a Musical and the Off-Broadway Alliance’s Best New Musical for 2022. It also received eight 2022-2023 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and two 2022 Lucille Lortel Award nominations including Outstanding Musical.

The creative team for Harmony includes Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Linda Cho & Ricky Lurie (costume design), Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting design), Dan Moses Schreier (sound design), batwin + robin productions (media design), Tom Watson (wig & hair design), Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (casting), Sara Edwards(associate director/choreographer), John O’Neill (music director), Michael Aarons(music coordinator), Doug Walter (orchestrations) and Scott Taylor Rollison (production stage manager).

November 13, 2023 Playbill"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony Opens Long-Awaited Broadway Debut November 13: Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess, and Julie Benko star in the new musical at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre" by Logan Culwell-Block
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's musical Harmony officially opens its long-awaited Broadway debut November 13 after beginning previews October 18 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Tony winner Warren Carlyle is directing and choreographing.

Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey lead the cast as Comedian Harmonists Bobby, Young Rabbi, Harry, Erich, Chopin, and Lesh, respectively, sharing the stage with Chip Zien as Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, Julie Benko as Ruth, Bronwyn Tarboton as Clara, Benjamin H. Moore as Titus, Lee Zarrett as Ezra, Allison Semmes as Josephine Baker, Bruce Landry as Border Guard, Zak Edwards as Obersturmführer, and Andrew O'Shanick as Standartenführer.

The ensemble also includes Rhonnirose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kate Wesler, and Stuart Zagnit, with swings Dan Hoy, Matthew Mucha, and Kyla Stone rounding out the company.

The musical—featuring music by Manilow and lyrics and a book by Sussman—tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. The work is partially based on The Comedian Harmonist Archive, as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada.

The musical has had a long road to Broadway. A world premiere staging played California's La Jolla Playhouse in 1997, then directed by David Warren. A pre-Broadway tryout was announced for Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre in 2003, only to be canceled due to financial woes. The musical reemerged in a 2013 co-production at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, with Tony Speciale directing. The California run won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. The Broadway bow is a transfer of the musical's 2022 Off-Broadway run at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which Carlyle also directed and choreographed. The Off-Broadway staging was critically acclaimed, earning nominations for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards. It won the Best New Musical Award from the Off-Broadway Alliance. A Broadway cast album was released in August.

Manilow also serves as music arranger, with orchestrations by Doug Walter, vocal arrangements by Manilow and John O'Neill, music coordination by Michael Aarons, and music direction by O'Neill. The production also features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, media design by batwin + robin productions, hair and wig design by Tom Watson, casting by Jamibeth Margolis, and production stage management by Scott Taylor Rollison. Juniper Street Productions is production manager, and RCI Theatricals' Beverly Edwards is general manager.

Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief lead a producing team that also includes Scott Abrams, Jonathan & Rae Corr, Hunter Arnold, Adam Riemer, Marco Santarelli, Tom D’Angora, Michael D’Angora, Paul Gavriani, Nick Padgett, Neil Gooding Productions, Christine Petti, Rob Kolson, James L. Nederlander, Mark Jacobs, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Jamie DeRoy, Ira & Yael Kleinman, Matthew Rosenthal, NETworks Presentations, LLC, Caiola Productions, Good Productions, Sig Anderman, David Bryant, Picklestar A Cohen, Michael B. Cox, Susan Dubow, Greg Field, David Gemunder, David & Lori Hsieh, In Unison Productions, Larry & Robin Kaufman, Willette & Manny Klausner, Sara Miller McCune, Michael Patrick, Harvey & Sandy Platt, Mark Revitz, Jason Rose, Larry Starr, Laurie M. Tisch, Witzend Productions, Harold Matzner, Joanne Sherry Mitchell, Addiss Keena/Amuse, Inc., Burba Hayes LLC/Hunter Johnson, Michelle J. Kaplan/Megan Ann Rasmussen, Viva Diva USA Inc/Theatre Nerd Productions, Bellanca Vasi/Jon & Ron Yonover, and Frederic J. Siegel/The Storyline Project.

Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger of STILETTO Entertainment.

Visit HarmonyANewMusical.com.

November 9, 2023 Y! Entertainment"Barry Manilow Is Still Making the World Sing at 80: ‘This Has Been the Biggest Year of My Career’" by Louise A. Barile
“This has been the biggest year of my career,” says Barry Manilow. In addition to selling out dates at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall and in Las Vegas, where he broke Elvis’ record for the longest musical residency in September, the singer’s long-awaited musical, Harmony, which he wrote in 1997, is set to open on Broadway on November 13. “I never gave up on this show,” he says. The year of Barry continues into the holiday season. Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas is set to premiere on NBC on December 11, and will be available to stream on Peacock a day later. “I love doing our Christmas show! We get to sing my pop hits and favorite Christmas songs,” says Barry, who filmed the special in Las Vegas with his 24-piece band. “It’s a feel-good hour full of music.”
November 8, 2023 Showbiz 411"Barry Manilow Comes After Mariah Carey with a Surprise Version of Her 'All I Want for Christmas' Perennial" by Roger Friedman
All Barry Manilow wants for Christmas is a hit with his cover of Mariah Carey’s holiday song. Manilow dropped “All I Want for Christmas” last Friday with little fanfare. But now it’s jumped up to number 4 on iTunes holiday song list. His spare version is a welcome relief to Carey’s Phil Spector wall of sound perennial. Manilow’s voice never sounded better (Open Spotify.com). Meanwhile, Manilow’s Broadway musical, “Harmony,” opens Monday with all new songs. He’d like that to be a hit, too, Santa.
November 7, 2023 New York Times"Barry Manilow Finally Gets His Wish: a Broadway Show: “Harmony,” about a singing group undone by Nazism, has been a decades-in-the-making labor of love for the singer and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman" by Jesse McKinley
Barry Manilow is superstitious. Such a statement may come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the 80-year-old pop legend’s career, with decades of hits, endless Las Vegas residencies and international fame as a still-smooth crooner who wrote the songs that made the whole world sing.

Yet, there is one thing that Manilow has always pined for and now inspires some irrational fears: a Broadway show. For nearly 30 years, that goal has proved tantalizingly out of reach despite a labor of love: “Harmony,” a musical he composed with his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, the lyricist who also wrote the show’s book.

“Harmony,” which follows the unlikely story of a sextet of 1930s singing and vaudevillian stars — the Comedian Harmonists, torn apart by the rise of Nazism and World War II — is now scheduled to open on Monday at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Barring, of course, some cosmic catastrophe that both Manilow and Sussman joke about. Sort of. “We keep thinking the theater is going to get hit by a tornado,” Manilow joked over lunch in Midtown in September after their first day of rehearsal.

Sussman, 74, laughed along: “It’s got to be something.”

Not to jinx the opening, both men offer a “kinahora” - a Yiddish locution meaning “no evil eye.” It’s a dash of dark humor that is not completely unfounded, considering the tortuous route that “Harmony” has taken from page to the Barrymore’s stage. Sussman first conceived of the show in the early 1990s after seeing Eberhard Fechner’s 1977 documentary about the Harmonists in New York. “I came out of there and went to a phone booth on Lafayette Street, and I called him and I started babbling away,” Sussman recalled. “And he said, ‘I’m in.’”

Both men were immediately intrigued by the story of a popular singing group (they had played Carnegie Hall, for instance, in 1933) that was destroyed by — and lost to — history. Half of the group was of Jewish descent, and the Nazi takeover of Germany would eventually silence them.

But the urge to compose a musical was also deeply seated in Manilow, who says he was never interested in pop music as a child in Brooklyn, when he was already a precocious musician, playing accordion and piano. “It wasn’t interesting enough for me,” Manilow recalled, of pop. “I didn’t know what was on the Top 40. I was into jazz and Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. I was into classical music. And I was into Broadway scores.” He added: “And I memorized every note from every one of those albums. And that started it off.”

Manilow played piano in bars, worked in the CBS mailroom and wrote a raft of jingles, something he says that taught him to write a “catchy melody in 15 seconds.” (He and Sussman, both of whom are Jewish, met in New York in the early 1970s.)

Still, Manilow says that it was his sudden pop stardom — beginning with ballads like “Mandy” and continuing with later earworm hits like “Copacabana (at the Copa),” which Sussman helped write — that somewhat sidetracked his desire to write for the stage, though Manilow did do a series of Broadway concerts over the years. “You can either write, ‘I love you’ or ‘I miss you,’” Manilow said of his masterful Top 40 songcraft. “You go any further than that, you’re writing a Broadway song.”

Despite that superstardom — and yes, probably because of it — “Harmony” did debut at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 1997, but got mixed reviews and failed to transfer. Still, interest in the show continued to percolate, including in 2003, when an out-of-town tryout in Philadelphia — before a planned Broadway run — suddenly evaporated when financial backing disintegrated.

More iterations followed: In 2013 and 2014, the show had runs in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle recognized the two men for their score. Again, producers expressed interest in Broadway, but deals fell apart, something Sussman seems remarkably measured about. “The gantlet that a new musical goes through, every step can be the end,” he said. “You do a reading, it’s over. You survive the reading, you do a workshop, it’s over. You survive the reading and you go to a regional and it’s over. And we all know shows that I’ve done that have died at one of those steps. We never did.”

Manilow was a little less sanguine about the process. “I put it in the drawer many times,” he recalled. “It was so heartbreaking every time it didn’t make it.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, however, Sussman and Manilow started to “kick the tires” on the show again with Warren Carlyle, the British director and choreographer who won a Tony Award in 2014 for his work on “After Midnight” and was nominated for Tonys for his work on the revivals of “Kiss Me, Kate” (2019) and “The Music Man” (2022).

One possible turning point in the show’s luck, Carlyle said, was the addition of a narrator character — an older rabbi played by Chip Zien — who walks the audience through the various eras of the show. “It was massive,” he said. “For me as director, it unlocks the whole show because previously it was kind of a six-headed dragon. You know there were these six guys: They all have wonderful stories. They all have rich lives. And I just didn’t know who to follow and I didn’t know how to focus the show.”

To solve the problem, Sussman suggested splitting the existing role of one of the Harmonists in two. In addition to his younger self the show would also include his older self, a rabbi, serving as a narrator. “And suddenly for me, it was like, now the story has a point of view,” Carlyle said.

Following that work, the show was staged in 2022 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, where audiences — and critics — seemed to respond in ways that they hadn’t before. Writing in The New York Times, Elisabeth Vincentelli praised the songs “crafted in a defiantly classic mold,” which steer the show back to “solid emotional ground.”

She also noted the creative team’s ability in “balancing the shifting moods, which is no easy feat because they must shuffle broad humor and, well, Nazis.”

Zalmen Mlotek, the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, which presented “Harmony” at the museum, said that he had heard about “Harmony” after a recommendation from the developer Bruce Ratner, the chairman of the museum. “When I heard that Manilow and Sussman had written a piece about the Holocaust, I looked at it, the idea of the Comedians, this singing group, had had their careers destroyed, it was just very compelling to me,” he said.

Sussman and Manilow also said they were aware of a different relevance to their decades-old show when watching it last year at the museum, amid a rising number of antisemitic incidents in the country. That disturbing trend has only been amplified in recent weeks as war broke out in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

During the Folksbiene run, Sussman said, “I would sit in the back of the house and there’d be audible responses from the audience and certain lines, and I started getting nervous that people would think I was writing into the headlines. But some of those lines are 15, 20 years old.”

Most of the major cast members from the Folksbiene production have transferred to Broadway, though most are lesser-known performers, something that may make marketing the show difficult. And while Manilow knows he’s a draw — see all those years in Vegas — he’s also not performing, of course. “I hope the show is strong enough to stand on its own,” he said.

Still rail thin and apparently indefatigable, he has been commuting from the West Coast, where he is still doing three shows a week at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. (He just passed Elvis for the most shows ever at that resort.)

A onetime heavy smoker, Manilow is now a vaper, who — unlike his booming singing voice — is a quiet speaker. (Sussman still recalls seeing burn marks on Manilow’s piano keys where his Pall Malls would burn down as he composed.) Sometimes standing to vape, he also conveys a nervous energy about watching a show from the audience for a change. “It’s a terrible, terrible thing: I see all the flaws and faults,” he said with a chuckle.

Still, he and Sussman said they hope to avoid any bad luck — theatrical, critical or otherwise — this time around. “People say, you know, ‘Oh, you must be so excited?’” Manilow said. “I don’t know what I am, really. We’ve been just waiting for this moment for so many years.”

November 6, 2023 Vanity Fair"Harmony Comes to Broadway, Nearly 30 Years in the Making: 'We never gave up,' Barry Manilow said of the show he cocreated with Bruce Sussman, because 'we knew what we had'" by Jessica Derschowitz
When rehearsals started for Harmony in the still-sweltering days of early September, it marked the start of something new and also the culmination of decades of waiting and hope for its creators, pop icon Barry Manilow and writer and lyricist Bruce Sussman. The flurry of activity over that week, which also included the musical’s marquee going up and the box office opening, had Manilow — certainly no stranger to accolades and fanfare — feeling a level of shell shock. “It’s coming at us,” he shared, sitting in a midtown restaurant during an escape from the heat. “We’ve gone through so many years of believing in this show, and this is a [moment of], ‘hang in there long enough, this is what you get.’”

Sussman, his collaborator of 50 years, couldn’t contain his emotions during that first day in the rehearsal room. When he said, “Welcome to Harmony on Broadway,” he forced the last word out with a crack in his voice. It was a “catharsis,” he said, seated next to Manilow, adding later that he hoped the duo would be able to take these milestones in as they kept coming. Because when Harmony — which boasts original music from Manilow and book and lyrics from Sussman — officially opens at New York’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre on November 13, it will be a Broadway bow nearly 30 years in the making.

Harmony is based on the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a German sextet that rose to fame in the late 1920s and early ’30s with their musical and comedic stylings, but because three of those members were Jewish, the group was all but erased from history once Hitler came to power. At the height of their fame, the Harmonists were international sensations, selling millions of albums, making movies, and performing with the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker. But under the Nazi regime, possessing their music at all was considered a crime.

Director-choreographer Warren Carlyle (The Music Man), who is directing the Broadway production and also helmed Harmony’s 2022 off-Broadway run, put it in a more modern context: “They were the most famous boy band in the world — and we never heard of them.”

Sussman first learned of the Harmonists via a German documentary about the group. After watching the film, he rushed to a downtown Manhattan pay phone (this was the ’90s, after all) to call Manilow; they’d been looking for something to write a musical about, and this could be it. “It was clear to me that this was a show about the quest for harmony in what turned out to be the most discordant chapter in human history,” said Sussman. “Why we didn’t know them was the story, and that was fascinating.” Manilow emphasized the point: “They’re the Manhattan Transfer, they’re the Marx Brothers. So how come we don’t know these men?”

Both set forth immersing themselves in researching the group, who have also been depicted in the 1997 film The Harmonists and a short-lived 1999 musical, Band in Berlin. “It was illegal to sell their records or play them, so people hid them under their mattresses,” said Sussman. “After the war, these old 78s came out and were turned into 33 1/3s, and then CDs and all that. So we have a recorded history of what they sounded like. There’s a couple of minutes of film from two of their movies, but the rest of it’s gone.” Manilow, who was touring in Germany around that time, encountered an entire wall of their albums in Tower Records and came home with a suitcase filled with CDs.

Harmony premiered in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, six years after Sussman first saw that documentary. “The reviews were great, the word of mouth was great,” Manilow recalled, but producers weren’t able to get it to New York. Again and again, their Broadway hopes hit roadblocks: a 2003 production fell apart due to lack of funds, then the duo had to go to arbitration to win back the rights. Other stagings followed in Atlanta in 2013 and Los Angeles in 2014, but the Great White Way still eluded them.

It was when producer Ken Davenport stepped in that Harmony finally made its way to New York, but even that hit a familiar stumble: a 2020 production at the National Yiddish Theatre was postponed due to the pandemic. The delay was fortuitous, though, because it allowed Manilow, Sussman, and Carlyle to look at Harmony anew before the production went forward in 2022. Over the course of twice-weekly Zooms, the trio dove deep into every page, every song. And then Sussman had an idea: What if they added an older incarnation of one Harmonist, the man nicknamed Rabbi, to serve as a narrator and anchor for the piece?

He wrote two different drafts so they could see which version made for, well, a more harmonious musical. “For me, previously, the show was a six-headed dragon — there were six leading men all trying to tell the story,” Carlyle (who’s known Manilow and Sussman for years, since he was in the original West End cast of their Copacabana musical) said. “When I’m directing something, I’ve got to know whose point of view I’m telling the story from. I can’t just tell a story in a wide shot and hope that the audience will know who to follow.” The change cracked things open in an entirely new way. “We read through both versions, and it was very, very clear that was doing something really fantastic for us,” the Tony winner added. “And it just revealed itself.”

The elder Rabbi, portrayed by Broadway veteran Chip Zien (Into the Woods), begins the play as the last surviving Harmonist, and in sharing their story he also has to confront the parts of it he doesn’t want to remember, ones where he doesn’t like the choices he made. Sussman said, “I realized that it wasn’t only a show about the six guys, it was a show about a character trying to find redemption through remembering.” (He’s not simply a static storyteller, though - Rabbi also pops up in various other roles throughout the telling of it.)

The early parts of the story lean into musical comedy as it follows the group’s rise (they were called the Comedian Harmonists for a reason, and Carlyle says his choreography leans into that aspect when depicting the group’s early years), but takes deeper, more dramatic turns as the show goes on.

The full breadth of his role as Rabbi is like nothing the 76-year-old Zien has done before. “I was a history major in college, and I was on my way to law school. The Harmonists lived through one of the most turbulent periods in history — here was a funny, wonderful, world-famous singing group that bumped up against fascism,” he said. “It’s everything I like about theater. And just a thrill to have the chance to do this at my age.” (The creative team has nothing but raves for him too: “He’s branded this character with his name,” said Sussman of Zien. “He’s giving a sensational performance — a gut-wrenching, funny, saucy performance.”)

Zien is reprising his role for the Broadway run, as are all the actors who played the young Harmonists (Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey) in the National Yiddish Theatre production, and Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, Phantom of the Opera). Newcomers for the transfer include Julie Benko, who wowed audiences as the alternate for Fanny Brice in the recent revival of Funny Girl.

The Broadway run is an opportunity to deepen the show further, even as Manilow noted the version audiences will see now still feels like the same Harmony he and Sussman first premiered all those years ago. It also comes at another turbulent time in history, with antisemitism on the rise in the US and abroad, and in the aftermath of the deadly October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel that precipitated the ongoing war.

In a follow-up email after the conflict began, Carlyle reflected on telling this story in our present moment. “The world around us has changed and the way I’m now hearing dialogue and experiencing moments in the show has also changed. For example: The first lines of [the song] ‘The Wedding’... ‘As you enter the house of Israel, may you find happiness and peace’…these lyrics now land in a completely different way to me. Three Jewish characters huddled on the edge of the stage saying, ‘we can fight this’... feels so sad and so overwhelming to me,” he said. “I feel a greater responsibility, now more than ever, to tell this story.”

The Harmony company also shared a statement, written by the show’s Holocaust/antisemitism adviser and consultant Dr. Irving Berkowitz, that said, “We the Harmony company, are gripped with grief at this time of global disharmony. October 7, 2023 has become the largest single day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. This is not only a time for mourning but prayers for the safe liberation of those held captive, for the protection of Israeli soldiers and citizens (Jewish and non-Jewish) as well as innocent Palestinians, and for peace inside and outside the House of Israel.”

Speaking in September, both Sussman and Manilow noted how the story of Harmony has felt timely every time they’ve mounted it. The neo-Nazi protests outside Parade, the revival of the musical about a Jewish man who was lynched in Georgia, earlier this year was yet another recent example to point to. “There are lines that get audible responses in the house on some nights — lines that were written in 1998, 2001, 2004,” Sussman said of Harmony. “And nothing has changed, except what’s going on outside the world of the theater.”

With Harmony’s Broadway opening almost here, Manilow said he and Sussman always held out hope the show would get to this point. “We never gave up,” the hitmaker said, despite all the times they had to hit pause or put it away, because “we knew what we had.” And Sussman hopes audiences who come to the Barrymore will learn who these six men were, and that Rabbi’s journey serves as a reminder of the importance of remembrance — the Harmonists, yes, but also that the very act of remembering “is not only a good thing, it’s imperative.” A vital hope for greater harmony, and Harmony itself.

November 3, 2023 Parade"Looks Like He Made It! Barry Manilow Has a New NBC Christmas Special!: The singer of well known hits 'Copacabana' and 'Can't Smile Without You' sets a Christmas special with NBC" by K.L. Connie Wang
Not too long ago, I decided to visit Las Vegas for a little self-care retreat. I dubbed the trip my "senior tour" as I ended up going to see a couple classic acts: comedian Rich Little and singer Barry Manilow. Little was as funny now as he was back in his heyday in the late '70s, and Manilow had so much energy that I felt like I had had a shot of caffeine!

Manilow recently broke a Vegas record when he surpassed Elvis Presley as the longest-running resident artist in Sin City. Elvis had set the record back in 1978 with 636 shows. Manilow, now 80, smashed the record in September and there seems to be no sign he's slowing down. Not only does he have his Vegas residency, he also penned Harmony, his second musical which is set to debut on Broadway Nov. 13.

On top of that, NBC just announced a Christmas special: Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas is set to premiere in December. Here's what we know about the holiday production.

What is Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas? Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas will showcase Manilow's most loved hits. While a setlist hasn't been released, we'll hear some of his most popular songs, including "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Copacabana," "Can't Smile Without You" and "Mandy." Manilow was raised Jewish but we'll still hear plenty of classic Christmas tunes like "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and maybe some newer songs too.

The classic crooner has released several Christmas albums over the years. His version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with K.T. Oslin is one of my all-time favorites. He also sang "Christmas is Just Around the Corner," which was featured in the Hallmark film, Cranberry Christmas. “I love doing our Christmas show! We get to sing my pop hits and my favorite Christmas songs,” Manilow said in a release. “It’s a feel-good hour full of music.”

“Barry’s legacy and longevity is truly something to behold,” said Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Live Events and Specials, NBCUniversal Media Group. “His repertoire of songs are beloved by generations and we can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with one of America’s most iconic musical legends.”

Who will perform on Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas? We'll hear plenty of Barry over the course of the one-hour special and it's anyone's guess who might drop by for a visit. Perhaps Santa will make a pit stop on stage!

Where will Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas be filmed? The Christmas special will be filmed at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas where Manilow performs his hit show, "Manilow: Las Vegas—The Hits Come Home!”

When does Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas premiere? Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas premieres Monday, Dec. 11 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

How can I watch Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas? Barry Manilow's A Very Barry Christmas will premiere on NBC on Dec. 11 at 10 p.m. ET and will be available to stream the next day on Peacock.

October 30, 2023 New Yorker"Barry Manilow Digs New York: To mark the opening of 'Harmony,' his musical about the Weimar-era sextet the Comedian Harmonists, the singer went back home to Williamsburg and poked around" by Sarah Larson
In his youth, Barry Manilow lived on a street called Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and though he’s lived in Palm Springs for decades, he’s always considered himself a New Yorker. (“The city rhythms all undo me / So sue me!” he sings in “I Dig New York,” on his 2017 album, “This Is My Town.”) This month, his musical “Harmony,” co-written with Bruce Sussman, opens at the Barrymore - on the other Broadway. On a recent rainy Tuesday, Manilow took a spin around the old neighborhood, peering at the strange and the familiar from the back of an S.U.V.

“We didn’t know we were poor,” Manilow, a youthful-looking eighty, said. He wore a black coat, spoke in a quiet, raspy voice, and took occasional drags from a vape pen. He waved it toward a young Orthodox woman who was opening the front door of a bustling prewar building where his family had lived. “The Mayflower — that’s where I hung out most of the time.” (He released “Here at the Mayflower,” an album imagining the lives of the building’s residents, in 2001.) He lived in an apartment with his grandparents and his divorced mother. As his 1983 memoir, “Sweet Life,” begins, he’s a shy eleven-year-old glumly returning from the orthodontist, passing Sal’s Shoe Repair and Kleiner’s Grocery and despairing about his braces. At home, his grandmother comforts him, saying, “Hello tatteleh, have some milk and cookies and then you’ll practice your accordion.” He didn’t mind the accordion: “I wasn’t bad at it, and I learned to read music.” Then his mother remarried, to a music enthusiast. “He changed my life,” Manilow said. “We moved to the Keap Street apartment, and he threw out the accordion and got me a spinet piano. Everything changed.” He addressed the chauffeur: “Mark, take us to Keap Street.”

Mark drove to Keap Street and stopped in front of a small tenement. “The family that owned the building—to get to the top floor, you would go through their living room,” Manilow said. “See that air-conditioner on the very top window? There’s my old room. It was an old closet. So I was in the closet for all those years.” (Manilow married his longtime partner and business manager, Garry Kief, in 2014; they have been together since 1978.) Manilow mastered the spinet, then taught himself arranging: “Arranging is the thing that I love—taking the song, slipping out a facet, finding a different facet.” Mark drove by a Satmar girls’ school, the former Eastern District High School. “This is my old high school,” Manilow said. Any memories? “Horror,” he said. “Nothing but terror. I did have good friends. And I was part of the band—first clarinet. Can you imagine the second clarinet? I wasn’t very good. But I kept getting better and better at the piano.” He went on to the New York College of Music, jingle writing (“Like a Good Neighbor,” “Stuck on Band-Aid”), and pop megastardom (“Mandy,” “Copacabana”), which has endured.

“This has been the biggest year of my career, I think,” he said. “They did a tribute to me at Carnegie Hall—wonderful Broadway singers, the New York Pops.” That was in May. “Then five nights at Radio City, sold out.” In September, in Las Vegas, he was given the key to the Strip after breaking Elvis Presley’s record for most performances at the International Theatre (six hundred and thirty-seven). “Now ‘Harmony.’”

“Harmony” tells the story of the Comedian Harmonists, a real-life Weimar-era vocal sextet in Berlin, whose fizzy performances of close-harmonizing comedic songs (“Der Onkel Bumba aus Kalumba Tanzt Nur Rumba,” “Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus”) made them an international sensation. “They were the Manhattan Transfer of their day,” Manilow said. “But they were the Marx Brothers, too—slapstick comics who did complicated harmonies. The Nazis destroyed everything they had done, because three of them were Jews.” (The group dispersed before the war; all six survived.) Harry Frommermann, the founder, “was the arranger. He came up with some of the most inventive part-writing and ideas. So Harry’s the guy that I connect with the most.” Composing the score, “I was in heaven.” In the Comedian Harmonists’ repertoire, “every song was a different style of music, and I love that. All of my albums have different styles of music—there’s either a big-band cut or a novelty cut or big ballads or little jazz songs—and the same thing with this musical.”

Sussman and Manilow wrote an early version of “Harmony” in 1997. Regional productions followed; a big one fell through; time passed. Last year, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Manhattan, mounted this new production, directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle. “I mean, can you think of a more perfect place?” Manilow said. It has transferred intact. “Bruce and I never gave up on this show. We just wanted people to remember these people. We didn’t want them to disappear. These six geniuses.”

He’d thought about popping over to Carnegie Hall, where his grandfather started Manilow’s first standing ovation in 1971, and where a key scene in “Harmony” takes place, but pivoted toward lunch: “Mark, take us to Peter Luger.” Any final local observations? “No,” he said, laughing. “Get me out of here!”

October 29, 2023 Broadway World"Watch Barry Manilow Talk HARMONY on Broadway on CBS Sunday Morning: Harmony, now in previews, officially opens on Monday, November 13, 2023" by Blair Ingenthron
Barry Manilow appeared on CBS Sunday Morning this week to discuss his career, and becoming a Broadway composer with Harmony on Broadway along with book writer and lyricist Bruce Sussman. Harmony, now in previews, officially opens on Monday, November 13, 2023.

Harmony features an original new score by legendary Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history comes to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

The show stars Chip Zien; Sierra Boggess; Julie Benko; the Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey; Allison Semmes and Andrew O’Shanick. They join Zak Edwards, Dan Hoy, Bruce Landry, Rhonnirose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kyla Stone, Bronwyn Tarboton, Kate Wesler, Stuart Zagnit, and Lee Zarrett.

The creative team for Harmony includes Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Linda Cho & Ricky Lurie (costume design), Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting design), Dan Moses Schreier (sound design), batwin + robin productions (media design), Tom Watson (wig & hair design), Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (casting), Sara Edwards (associate director/choreographer), John O’Neill (music director), Michael Aarons (music coordinator), Doug Walter (orchestrations) and Scott Taylor Rollison (production stage manager).

A New York Times Critic’s Pick, the musical received a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical and an award for Outstanding Best Book of a Musical and the Off-Broadway Alliance’s Best New Musical for 2022. It also received eight 2022-2023 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and two 2022 Lucille Lortel Award nominations including Outstanding Musical.

Harmony is produced by Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, Garry Kief and Hunter Arnold, and joined by Scott Abrams, Jonathan & Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Marco Santarelli, Tom D'Angora, Michael D’Angora, Paul Gavriani, Nick Padgett, Neil Gooding Productions, Christine Petti, Rob Kolson, James L. Nederlander, Mark Jacobs, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Jamie deRoy, Ira & Yael Kleinman, Matthew Rosenthal, NETworks Presentations LLC, Good Productions, Sig Anderman, PickleStar A Cohen, Michael B. Cox, Susan DuBow, Greg Field, David Gemunder, David & Lori Hsieh, IN UNISON Productions, Larry & Robin Kaufman, Willette & Manny Klausner, Sara Miller McCune, Michael Patrick, Harvey & Sandy Platt, Mark Revitz, Jason Rose, Larry Starr, Laurie M. Tisch, Witzend Productions, Harold Matzner, Addiss Keena/Amuse, Inc., Burba Hayes LLC/Hunter Johnson, Joanne Sherry Mitchell/Michelle Kaplan, Viva Diva USA INC/Theatre Nerd Productions, Bellanca Vasi/Jon & Ron Yonover, and David Bryant/Siegel StoryLineProject.

October 25, 2023 NME (New Musical Express)"Barry Manilow announces final UK shows with London residency: The 80-year-old recently beat Elvis’ record for the longest-running show in Vegas" by Liberty Dunworth
Barry Manilow has announced details of a London residency, which will play host to his final run of UK shows. The 80-year-old singer will perform nine nights in the capital next spring to mark his last-ever shows on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Taking place at the Palladium, the residency will kick off towards the end of May 2024 and run until the beginning of June. Manilow will also play a one-off show at Manchester’s Co-Op Arena on May 19 before kicking off the London residency.

He announced the news on X/Twitter on Monday (October 23), sharing ticket details and explaining to fans why he chose to close out his UK shows at this venue in particular. “In 1978, The London Palladium is where I began my love affair with the British public,” Manilow wrote. “These shows will be my last full concerts in Britain and I wanted to end where I began – at the London Palladium.”

Tickets go on sale this Friday (October 27) at 10am BST – you’ll be able to buy yours here. Additionally, pre-sale tickets are available now and on offer to those who have signed up for his fan page. The run of UK shows comes on the heels of the ‘Copacabana’ singer’s extensive run of shows in Las Vegas over the years.

Recently, Manilow broke a record with his residency in Nevada – beating Elvis Presley‘s record for the longest-running show in Vegas. This milestone was marked back in September when the singer performed his 637th show at Westgate. However, this final run of UK shows is far from suggesting that the pop veteran is done with US performances. Next February, Manilow will embark upon yet another Vegas residency before he flies across the pond for the London gigs.

Back in 2017, the veteran performer came out as gay at the age of 73. He also explained that he didn’t open up about his sexuality sooner out of fear of “disappointing” his fans. Speaking to People at the time, the singer confirmed that he married his manager/long-term partner Garry Kief in April 2014 – having met back in 1978.

October 20, 2023 Parade"Barry Manilow's Long Road to Broadway: The musical legend discusses his life, work and how his dream of writing a Broadway musical finally came true with 'Harmony'" by Neil Pond
Barry Manilow doesn’t need much downtime. I never sleep,” he says. “I get four hours a night. That’s all I really need. It’s been that way for years.”

That’s not surprising, perhaps, for a guy from the city that’s said to never sleep, a place that’s running full throttle all the time. “When you start out in New York, you’re always a New Yorker,” he says, admitting it’s true even though he’s lived on the West Coast for more than two decades. “I just have a lot of energy; I talk fast, I think fast. Maybe it’s because New Yorkers are always moving, scrambling to get a seat on the subway or something.”

He’s not scrambling these days for many subway seats, especially in Palm Springs, Calif., the Sonoran Desert resort town where he’s talking with Parade from the recording studio of his spacious home. “It’s very hot, but it’s beautiful,” he says, turning his gaze to a nearby window. “Blue skies and mountains and lots of palm trees.” As he speaks, his two beloved Labrador Retrievers, Jake and Abbey, bark for his attention.

All those non-sleeping hours over all the decades and all that Big-Apple energy have given Manilow, who recently turned 80, more waking time to enjoy the scenery, love on his dogs—and mostly, make more music. In his durable career as a singing, songwriting, hit-making master showman, he’s chalked up sales of some 85 million albums and released nearly 60 singles, including a bucketful that were No. 1, Top 10 and Top 40 radio hits, including “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “It’s a Miracle,” “I Write the Songs,” “Can’t Smile Without You” and “Copacabana.” He’s been honored with nearly every award possible, including a Grammy, a Tony and an Emmy (actually, two of them). And he was even nominated for an Oscar, for “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” a song he performed for the soundtrack of the 1978 Chevy Chase/Goldie Hawn comedy Foul Play. Billboard magazine has called him as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary entertainer of all time.

Since 1974, he’s hit the charts with 25 different songs. On TV, he’s hosted nearly 20 prime-time specials; he played himself in episodes of Murphy Brown, Will & Grace and Ally McBeal, and starred in a movie based on “Copacabana,” his biggest hit. Somewhere in there, he transitioned from showbiz success to entertainment icon, becoming an enduring emblem of dependably mellow, infectiously pleasing, timelessly Manilow-ic pleasantness that now continues into the 21st century (his songs are so mellow, authorities in one Australian town played them on speakers to deter gangs from gathering).

Since 1974, he’s hit the charts with 25 different songs. On TV, he’s hosted nearly 20 prime-time specials; he played himself in episodes of Murphy Brown, Will & Grace and Ally McBeal, and starred in a movie based on “Copacabana,” his biggest hit. Somewhere in there, he transitioned from showbiz success to entertainment icon, becoming an enduring emblem of dependably mellow, infectiously pleasing, timelessly Manilow-ic pleasantness that now continues into the 21st century (his songs are so mellow, authorities in one Australian town played them on speakers to deter gangs from gathering).

“They were like The Manhattan Transfer meets the Marx Brothers,” says Manilow, the composer and arranger of the music for the production, along with longtime songwriting collaborator, Bruce Sussman, who wrote the lyrics. The Broadway opening has been a long time coming, he says, noting that he and Sussman began the project 25 years ago. Harmony eventually played around the country, beginning in 1997 in California, but it wasn’t until now that it reached New York City’s legendary theater district—with a full cast and a Tony-winning director, Warren Carlyle, attached.

“I’ve been on Broadway twice,” he says. “But always as a performer; this is the first time as a composer of a bigger musical, and it’s been one of my dreams to do that. Having Harmony open on Broadway is going to be the highlight of my career.”

Show Tune Roots: Composing original music for the Broadway show brought him full circle to his childhood. Manilow was born Barry Pincus in 1943 and grew up in a working-class section of Brooklyn, a place where “everyone was poor,” he says. (He changed his last name to Manilow, his mother’s maiden name, after his father left them and she remarried.) An accordion, then a miniature piano—a spinet—awakened his musical talent, which was later fueled by his stepfather’s record collection, heavy with Broadway soundtracks like Oklahoma!, Brigadoon and Carousel. Those big, splashy orchestrated show tunes shaped his earliest musical instincts. “What was on the radio was junk,” he says, “compared to everything else I loved.”

He was voted “Most Musical” in his senior class at Brooklyn’s now-defunct Eastern District High School, and after graduation, he married his high-school sweetheart, Susan Deixler. Their friends didn’t think it would last, and it didn’t; they split after a year, and the marriage was annulled. In the breakup and division of property, Manilow made sure he got the piano.

After attending New York City’s prestigious The Julliard School for performing arts, he found work as a pianist for Broadway rehearsals, then was hired to write, sing and record commercial jingles. Before America knew his name, they heard him crooning on the radio and TV about State Farm Insurance (“Like a good neighbor…”), bandages (“I am stuck on Band-Aid…”), McDonald’s (“You deserve a break today…”), KFC, Pepsi and other products. He learned early in the jingle factory—the recording studios for all those advertising spots—how to make a good song; he absorbed everything he could from older, more experienced engineers, producers and musicians, finding out what worked and what didn’t. “I learned it’s got to be catchy enough to get on the radio, catchy enough for people to remember,” Manilow says.

Then he met Bette Midler in the early stages of her ascension to musical stardom. She hired the young piano-pounding prodigy as her accompanist, bandleader and producer for her breakthrough album, The Divine Miss M, and her tour. When Manilow got an offer to record an album on his own, it surprised them both. “I called Bette and said, ‘I think I just got a record deal…’” he says. “She said, ‘Doing what?’ I said, ‘Singing.’ She said, ‘But you don’t sing!’ I said, ‘I know! But they think I do.’”

His first album, Barry Manilow, in 1973, was a bit of a flop. “It sold, like, five copies,” Manilow says; actually, it was about 35,000, but still a commercial disappointment. “There were some very nice songs on there. But it was kind of a relief. I could go back to doing what I really wanted to do, which was not singing.” Yes, one of the most successful of all singing stars admits he felt out of his league as a headliner, behind a microphone, in front of audiences. Remarkably, he still does. “I never had ambitions to perform,” he says. “It surprises me to this day that I’m still doing it, because I don’t think of myself as a singer or a performer. I’m a musician. And performing and singing—it’s always a surprise that anybody likes it.”

Soon he found out a lot of people were liking it. In 1974, his second album, Barry Manilow II, provided a breakout smash with “Mandy.” Having a hit record was truly life- changing; the waves of newfound fame came crashing so hard and fast that he tried disguising himself to avoid the crush of fans and remain unnoticed in public. “I put cotton in my mouth, like Marlon Brando” in The Godfather, he says. But people recognized him anyway. “They thought I’d had dental work.”

And the rest is musical history: a long stand of radio hits, worldwide acclaim, five decades of recording and performing. The improbability isn’t lost on him today—that a Brooklyn kid with an accordion could go from a tiny tenement apartment to become a world-famous superstar. How did that happen? “Beats the sh-- out of me,” he says with a chuckle, adding he’s never been one to dwell on the past, or question how or why. “I don’t think like that. I just think about the next thing,” he says. “There’s always the next thing with me; I’ve always got two or three projects in the pipeline. And it’s always been like that.”

Another thing he’s always done is give back. He’s never forgotten those early days of barely getting by when his family scraped to afford to buy him an accordion, then a tiny piano. For most of his career, he’s helped youth and leaders pump up their musical programs, with concerts this summer again raising money for deserving music teachers and schools. The Manilow Music Project has been generating funding since 2008 “to keep dreams alive one instrument at a time.” “As a performer, you give back,” he says. “I gave back as much as I could as soon as I started making some money. And I still do.”

After this summer’s tour dates, he headed to Las Vegas, as he’s done for the past 14 years, and where he’s bigger—and even busier—than Elvis. Manilow’s long-term residency at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, in the heart of the world-famous Vegas strip, unfailingly attracts sellout crowds of die-hard “Fanilows.” The hotel has a different name now, but he plays the same showroom where the King once held court in the 1970s—and where Manilow recently broke Presley’s previous record of 636 performances.

Earlier this year, he was honored by the esteemed New York Pops in a special black-tie event for the organization’s 40th anniversary, and he got rave reviews for his five nights of shows, with a 50-piece orchestra, at Radio City Music Hall this summer. He marked his 80th birthday at one of his shows by wobbling onstage with a walker—a joke about becoming a newly minted octogenarian—as fans showered him with robust birthday greetings. The birthday blowout was planned by Manilow’s longtime manager, Garry Kief. They’ve been together now for 45 years and were officially married in 2014; Manilow didn’t officially “come out” as gay until a few years later, in a 2017 cover story for People. “He’s such a good guy and he’s so smart,” he says of Kief. “He takes good care of me. I’m a really lucky guy.”

He knows he’s lucky, too, to have not just stayed afloat over the decades, but to have thrived. In addition to Harmony opening in New York—“It’s going to be the most exciting night of my life”—Manilow has finished recording a new batch of songs for an upcoming album and will release four new seasonal tunes in December. With all of his projects over the years, he just hopes people say, “He made me feel good,” he says. “That’s what I would like.”

October 19, 2023 People.com"Barry Manilow Recalls Bette Midler's Hilarious Response to His Record Deal" by Jeff Nelson
Barry Manilow is looking back on his musical breakthrough. When the pop icon was starting out in the industry, he was a songwriter, arranger and a go-to accompanist in New York City for singers like Bette Midler. So when he scored a recording contract in 1969, no one was more surprised than his artist friends — and Manilow himself. "I made some demos of songs that I had written — I was singing on my demos because I couldn’t afford to [hire] a bona fide singer — and Bell Records liked what they heard and offered me a record contract. People couldn’t believe that I was the one that got the record contract. They were supposed to; I was just a piano player, arranger," says Manilow, 80, whose musical with lyricist Bruce Sussman, Harmony, began previews on Broadway on Wednesday.

One of the first calls he made with the surprising news was pal Midler, whom he would play piano for at N.Y.C.'s gay hotspot at the time, the Continental Baths. Manilow recalls: "When I told Bette [Midler], I said, 'I just got a record contract.' And she said, 'Doing what?' I said, 'Singing.' She said, 'Well, you don’t sing.' I said, 'Yeah, I know, but they think I do!'"

Manilow broke through with his 1974 hit "Mandy" and has gone on to sell more than 85 million albums worldwide since. But getting onstage was an adjustment for the Brooklyn native. "The part that terrified me and that I wasn’t very good at was performing. It never dawned on me that it would be me up there singing and communicating with an audience. That was the hard part. And I stunk," Manilow says. "Yet the audiences didn’t think so. They didn’t care that I was awkward and stuttering. They liked the fact that I was a real guy up there. Little by little, because of these wonderful [fans], I figured out how to do it. But I still sometimes feel like a fraud since I never really wanted to do this."

But Manilow learned from Midler, now 77, during their time collaborating together. "She was so daring. She's still the most talented human being I've ever, ever seen, forget about worked with. She tops them all. She can do anything. She's a comic, she's a singer, she's a actress. She's just the most brilliant talent ever, and I was lucky enough to be there and supporting her with my arrangements and ideas," he says. "I loved working with Bette. And what I learned from her was, take chances. Don't play it safe."

Manilow is still taking chances himself these days. His and Sussman's musical Harmony opened its first production in La Jolla, California, in 1997. Now more than 25 years later, it has hit the Broadway stage at the [Ethel Barrymore Theatre]. “I couldn’t be prouder or more excited," he says. "For a while it looked like it was never going to happen."

October 18, 2023 People.com"Barry Manilow Reveals He's a Grandfather" by Jeff Nelson and Angela Andaloro
Barry Manilow is a grandfather! Speaking with PEOPLE in this week's issue, the iconic singer, 80, revealed that he's now a grandfather as husband and manager Garry Kief's daughter Kirsten, 47, recently became a first-time mom, bringing a baby girl into their lives. "Garry’s daughter Kirsten adopted a little girl, and so I’m now a grandfather," he tells PEOPLE. "I’ve never, ever thought about having a baby or having anything to do with [being] a father or any of that. I’m watching this little girl — she’s 2 and a half - grow up and learn. This is a brand-new experience for me, and I really am enjoying it," he adds.

The exciting news comes amid a year of milestones for Manilow, 80, who recently beat Elvis Presley's record for most concerts at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas as he played his 637th show at the venue. Manilow shared a video from the monumental show to social media on Sept. 23, and the venue was adorned with celebratory decorations. "Welcome to our record-breaking weekend," he told the audience in the clip. "Tonight we are breaking his record with our 637th show here," said Manilow, who was joined on stage by multiple individuals from the Westgate and the Clark County Commission to receive the key. Additionally, Sept. 23 was declared "Barry Manilow Day" in Las Vegas.

"It really is all about you guys," he reportedly told fans at the show, per NPR. "You know I love all the awards and all, but I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. Thank you for coming tonight and through all the years."

Manilow's exciting year continues with his upcoming Broadway production Harmony. The new musical, which Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Manilow wrote an original new score for alongside lyrics and book by his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, is decades in the making; Manilow initially premiered the musical in California all the way back in 1997. Harmony was originally intended to open on Broadway in 2004, but the run was canceled when its funding fell apart, according to The New York Times.

The production is centered around the real-life story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of German singers who gained fame in the 1920s and '30s. The group ran into trouble as Germany's Nazi regime took power in the '30s because it featured some performers who were Jewish, according to the Times. “They represent everything I love — they’re a combination of The Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers, with complicated harmonies — and funny as hell,” Manilow told the outlet about Harmony in April. “When we dug into it, it just killed me: Why don’t we know about them?”

The production also stars performers Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko among its principal cast; it is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle. Harmony begins preview performances Wednesday, Oct. 18, with opening night at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13. Tickets can be purchased here.

October 6, 2023 Entertainment Weekly"Barry Manilow has spent his career wanting to write musicals — with Harmony, it's finally happening: Manilow and lyric & book writer Bruce Sussman break down script pages from their new musical Harmony" by Maureen Lee Lenker
Barry Manilow never wanted to be a pop star. His first and deepest love is musical theater (he even studied at Juillard). But after working as a musical director and arranger and accompanist, he fell into the singing career that has nabbed him Grammy Awards, Top 40 singles, and over a dozen platinum albums.

But now, at 80 years old, he and longtime writing partner Bruce Sussman, 74, are finally making their dream come true with Harmony, a stage musical that tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists. The Harmonists were an ensemble comprised of six young men who rose to fame in in 1920s Germany with their blend of harmonies and comedic stylings — but their inclusion of Jewish singers ultimately led them to be erased from the history books.

Manilow's first major professional gig was writing the score for the Off-Broadway musical The Drunkard, and he tells EW that not much has changed in the essence of songwriting for the stage since 1964 (Harmony is no jukebox musical of Manilow's greatest hits, but an original composition). "The rules are still the same and the joy is still the same," he says. "For me, this pop career was a big surprise. I had to learn how to write a pop song. I had to learn how to make a pop record. But my goal when I was younger was to be a Broadway composer, and that's why it feels so good to see my name on the marquis that says 'Music by Barry Manilow.' That's a really big moment for me."

Manilow also dragged writing partner Sussman along into the pop music business. "The problem with people like Bruce and I who like writing songs that are about something is that you can't do that in a pop song," reflects Manilow. "All you got in a pop song is, 'I love you or I miss you.' And if you go any further than that, you're not writing a pop song, you're writing a Broadway or a film song."

When Harmony opens Nov. 13 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway, it will represent over 20 years of effort from Manilow and Sussman. The musical first premiered in San Diego, CA in 1997 — and the duo have been trying to get it to the Great White Way ever since.

After dreaming about it for years, the pair decided to make a go of writing a musical after collaborating on the scores for animated films Thumbelina (1994) and The Pebble and The Penguin (1995). "The classic animated films follow the Rodgers and Hammerstein formula for writing a musical," says Sussman. "So when we had a chance to do that, it was time to roll up our sleeves. If anything that lit the fire in both of us to say, 'Listen, we've got to get back to the stage because that was such a joyful experience.' It was right around that time that we really committed to writing Harmony."

Sussman first discovered the story of the Comedian Harmonists from a New York Times review of a 1977 German documentary The Comedian Harmonists, which was playing at the Public Theatre. "The review was really compelling and it featured a photograph of six young guys with their hair brill-creamed," Sussman remembers. He went to see the 191-minute film and was blown away. "I was gobsmacked and went to a phone booth on Lafayette Street and called Barry and said, 'I think I found it. I think I found the story.'"

Manilow agreed it was a subject ripe for their exploration, and the two immediately set to work, leading to their first opening night in 1997. Harmony was meant to have a Broadway opening in 2003, but the production fell apart due to lack of funding. In 2004, Manilow released an album where he recorded all of the songs from the show himself. Finally, it ran in Atlanta and Los Angeles in 2013 and 2014, before it made a 2022 Off-Broadway premiere.

Sussman says it was the COVID-19 pandemic that really led him and Manilow to revisit their dream. "During the pandemic, we had all that time off, and Barry and [director] Warren Carlyle and I Zoomed twice a week," he notes. "We said as long as we have this down time, why don't we kick the tires and see if there's something else we want to do. Over the course of a couple months, we came up with a big idea that changed a lot."

  1. A Proposal

    In this draft, Sussman was trying to determine whether he should insert a marriage proposal from Chopin (Blake Roman) to Ruth (Julie Benko) before or after Rabbi's narration. "The proposal is in, and we love it," Sussman says. "There were two spots that I was considering, and I put it in the later moment. We staged it a few days ago and I like it a lot."

  2. Terms of Endearment

    While Chopin calls Ruth "baby," she has many names for him throughout the show, including Honey, Chopin, and his real name, Erwin.

    "Chopin is a nickname because he actually was called that when he was playing piano in a brothel," Sussman explains. "And one of the ladies who made her career there called him Chopin because she thought he played so beautifully and he loved it because he hated his real name, which was Erwin. So it occurred to me that his girl, his girlfriend and eventual wife, would call him Erwin when she was angry at him because she knew he hated it. She'd call him Chopin by default, like 'Chopin here, help me get this off the shelf,' and then call him something, a term of endearment, baby, honey, whatever, when things were good. I realized that I could use that to clock where they were in their relationship."

  3. From a certain point of view

    The play has the framing device of a narrator, the character known as Rabbi. But his role changed significantly in the new drafts the team worked out during the COVID-19 shutdown. "We looked at the two drafts and decided which one we were going to do and we picked the one that had the big change," says Sussman. "There was always narration, but originally we had him as a young lad who reveals himself to be an old man at the end of the play. Now, there are two of them now — an older and younger."

    The older Rabbi is played by Chip Zien, who serves as narrator throughout the show, while Danny Kornfeld plays the younger Rabbi in the thick of the action.

  4. Time travel

    Accompanied by a swelling orchestra, Rabbi's narration carries us back into his memories of 1927 Berlin. Sussman had to figure out a way to translate this into staging, and even added dialogue to make it clear. "That whole transition, which used to be only visual images now is populated with our ensemble," he explains. "It's in Rabbi's mind, and all of the characters we will eventually meet flood in. He has to gain control over his memory and slow down, one at a time. That was a big, big collaboration between both my director and Barry with the music for that section, and me, where I provided lines for some of these characters."

    On the next page, Sussman makes note of a similar issue, wanting to convey the setting of Tivoli Gardens to the audience. "One of the wonderful things about Tivoli Park is that it's architecture built of light bulbs," he says. "I didn't feel an American audience would necessarily know that. My director picked up the ball with that, and we now have a transition that establishes all of that choreographically. So, I didn't have to write anything."

  5. The sign of the beast

    In the number, "Come to the Fatherland," the Harmonists appear as "demonic marionettes," according to Sussman's penciled-in note. "That number goes way back," he explains. "It was one of the earliest pieces we wrote. The guy who sings the lead on this one, Zal Owen, he can do demonic marionette better than anyone ever. I just realized that's the key to this number — they have to really be menacing, demonic marionettes."

    For musical theater fans who see the words "Fatherland" and immediately think of Cabaret, Sussman and Manilow stress that Harmony doesn't draw inspiration from Cabaret despite a similar setting. "I can't say this score has a sound to it because the Harmonists didn't have one sound," Manilow says.

    "This group sang in so many different styles," adds Sussman. "We listened very carefully to a number they did called 'The Puppet Show.' I forget how to say that in German, but it was puppet show and it was a jaunty gallop. We got the idea for what 'Come to the Fatherland' could be from that."

  6. Finding the right word

    Here, Sussman pondered swapping "jokes" in the lyric "Here's to the jokes we swallow" with "junk." His notes point out that this would require a new rhyme with "folks" in the lyrics above. Sussman says he ended up leaving it as is with the word "jokes." "I decided it's stronger this way," he notes.

    Harmony begins preview performances on Oct. 18 and Sussman and Manilow hope that audiences will take the story of the Comedian Harmonists home with them. "Our goal was to make sure that the audiences walk away knowing who these men are," reflects Manilow. "They were erased from the world. And when we discovered them, we said, 'Who are these people and why don't we know about them?'"

    Adds Sussman: "The history we ignore is the history we're condemned to repeat."

September 30, 2023 Broadway WorldBruce Sussman and Barry Manilow Can't Wait to Get HARMONY on Broadway: Previews begin for Harmony on Wednesday, October 18, 2023
"We've been doing this for a long time! We kept bumping into brick walls in getting it [to Broadway]. Just being able to get Harmony to New York on Broadway is exactly what we always dreamed of. It's been a long ride." Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's dreams are coming true this fall. Rehearsals are now underway for Harmony – the new, original musical by the pair and direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle.

Based on an unbelievable true story, Harmony tells the tale of the most successful entertainers you've never heard of. . . until now. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom. What happened next is the story of Harmony.

[Click Here to] watch as they chat more with BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge about the show's long journey to Broadway!

September 23, 2023 Louisville Public Media"Barry Manilow's Musical Legacy: 50 Years of Hits and New Albums" by Kyle Meredith
In a new conversation with Kyle Meredith, music legend Barry Manilow shares insights into his current tour, album milestones, and exciting upcoming releases. The iconic singer reveals his heartfelt commitment to supporting high school music programs during his tour stops, reflects on the power of melodies that propelled his success as a commercial jingle writer, and expresses his admiration for electronic artists like Underworld, Fat Boy Slim, and Claptone.

Manilow dives into the details of his latest album, "Night Songs II," and the anticipation surrounding the premiere of his musical "Harmony" on Broadway. He also takes us on a journey through the stories behind his debut album, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the enduring charm of "Manilow Sings Sinatra," which turns 25. Additionally, Manilow offers a sneak peek into his upcoming projects, including a pop album and a Christmas album.

September 19, 2023 (Update: September 21, 2023) Las Vegas Review-Journal"Watch for ‘Hound Dog!’: Barry Manilow on the cusp of overtaking Presley’s record" by John Katsilometes
Even now, Barry Manilow recalls his first appearance in Las Vegas. It didn’t go well. “It was horrible,” he says in a phone chat. Manilow was Bette Midler’s conductor, piano player and arranger in the early days of both entertainers’ careers. Midler was a favorite of Johnny Carson, who headlined at the Sahara’s Congo Room from 1964 to 1980, during breaks from “The Tonight Show.” Carson invited Midler to open for him during a run in 1972. “She was doing so well, the word of mouth was so great, she was a wonderful talent and funny, so she opened for him,” Manilow recalls. “And she died there. They just hated her. They were offended by her dirty jokes, they didn’t know what song she was singing, they didn’t understand what she looked like. Then Johnny would come out and tell them how wonderful she was.” But unlike Tony and Rico’s fateful crap in “Copacabana,” this tale ends happily. Crowds actually liked Manilow’s role in the show. He launched his solo career soon after and achieved worldwide success with the top-selling “Mandy.”

The 80-year-old Manilow is now on the cusp of overtaking Elvis’ mark for performances at Westgate’s International Theater with 637. The actual record-breaking show is Saturday. But Manilow is celebrating with performances through the weekend, beginning Thursday. In passing the King’s mark at the venue, Manilow is benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Manilow Music Project, Musicians on Call, Three Square, Victoria’s Voice and Youth Villages.

Johnny Kats: As you’re talking about Elvis, we all know of course his first appearance in Vegas didn’t go great either, opening for Shecky Greene at the New Frontier (in April 1956).
Barry Manilow (BM): No kidding. He didn’t go over well. He was known to be sexy, wiggling his hips, and I guess they didn’t like that.

Kats: He was doing his act for a dinner show audience, with the hips.
BM: Like I say, I did not have that problem. I was Mr. Clean, I was not offensive, and they were just fine with me.

Kats: This position you have in relation to Elvis’ career in Las Vegas, how does that feel? He is still such an icon here.
BM: What he did was so far away from what I do that I really don’t even consider us in competition. He was an inventor of a style of music. You’ve got to give him credit for that. And I was an inventor of my kind of music, with the big ballads and the big backbeats. That’s the only thing we have in common. I just admired his fame and his talent.

Kats: It seems there is no end to your contract at Westgate. Are you planning to extend into next year?
BM: I’m not a part of that discussion. If Garry (Kief, Manilow’s manager and husband) says that David Siegel, who owns Westgate, wants me to sign a contract and be George Burns and stay until I’m 100.

Kats: Oh, my. Job security, to say the least.
BM: Whether it’s gonna be that ... but you know, listen, we’re all happy, very happy. We’re sold out night after night after night. And the audiences are just great. And it’s great. And there’s no reason to not keep playing at the Westgate.

Kats: You think you’ll finish your career in Las Vegas?
BM: Maybe, maybe. But I don’t even think like that, like, “Where do I want to be the last hurrah?” I really haven’t even thought about it.

Kats: You’ve covered Elvis before. Planning anything special for this weekend?
BM: Yeah, yeah, I looked up my catalog because I never listen to my own stuff. I’ve got four beauties that he did that I rearranged for myself, and we’re going to do a few of those.

Kats: “If I Can Dream” is one, right?
BM: Sure.

Kats: So, what other ones are you going to come with?
BM: You don’t want me to give it away! (Laughs)

Kats: I’m curious! Are you going to do all four? A sample from the four?
BM: We’ve rehearsed all four. I don’t know whether I’ll do all four. But my band knows, and I know, what we’ll play. We’ll see what happens.

Kats: Well, I will be there. You can’t miss me. I’ll be the one with the glow stick.
BM: And I’ll be the one singing “Hound Dog.”

Kats: Hold on! Hold on! I didn’t have Manilow singing ‘Hound Dog’ on my bingo card.
BM: Ha, ha, ha! I’m serious! Watch for ‘Hound Dog!’

Kats: OK, OK. I wouldn’t put it past you.

UPDATE (9/21/2023): Manilow did sing a new arrangement of “Hound Dog” on Thursday night, pairing it with “If I Can Dream,” and later singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love” with lyrics shown on the big screens. Manilow wore a vintage, red-satin Elvis ‘77 concert jacket. “I don’t really know what I can do for a charity weekend for Elvis Presley...” he said, then counted into a newly arranged, swinging cover of “Hound Dog.” As he wiggled his hips, his backing dancers rushed to halt the dancing. Manilow shouted, “I was channeling him! I was channeling him!”

Manilow joked that he and Elvis had a few characteristics in common. “He swiveled his hips. I’ve had both of my hips replaced.” Manilow even handed out scarves to screaming fans in the front row, a classic Presley move. Manilow is planning to put this record of reach as he’s just announced a full schedule for 2024.

Clark County Commissioners Tick Segerblom and Ross Miller presented Manilow with the Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation making Sept. [23], 2023 [Barry Manilow] Day. Manilow is the rare star two have been presented the Key to the City of Las Vegas, and also the Strip. Mayor Carolyn Goodman awarded Manilow a proclamation and a key plaque in June to give him his first key. He has two now (maybe he’ll be honored with a key chain from the State of Nevada). Even Elvis never achieved that.

September 15, 2023 Las Vegas Magazine"Barry Manilow talks about the path that led him to break Elvis Presley’s record in Las Vegas this week" by Matt Kelemen
Barry Manilow hadn’t planned on having as momentous of an 80th year as he’s been having: In May, The New York Pops celebrated its 40th birthday with a Carnegie Hall gala dedicated to Manilow’s music; later that month, he began a five-night run at Radio City Music Hall, where he was joined by the leads of his musical Harmony, which opens on Broadway in November; and a summer tour preceded his return to Las Vegas, where he is on track to break Elvis Presley’s record for the most performances in the iconic International Theater. Manilow never met Elvis, but he did stay in the original Elvis Suite when Westgate Las Vegas was The Hilton. “It was an older suite, but it was huge,” Manilow said during an August interview with Las Vegas Magazine. “It was the entire floor, the entire 30th floor, so I did get a sense of where he actually stayed when he was there.”

The 30th floor was remodeled shortly after Manilow’s Hilton 1985 debut. He stays in the current Elvis Suite when he flies into Vegas for his Thursday-Saturday Barry Manilow: The Hits Come Home shows. For Manilow, it was love at first sight when he saw the stage where The King reigned for 636 shows. Arenas enable him to take his music to the masses, but he considers the stage and audience capacity at the International Theater perfect for what he does. “I like traveling into the audience,” said Manilow. “I have trouble being as intimate as I want to be with an arena. It’s fun and it’s exciting, but it’s a whole different kind of feeling than the Westgate. The Westgate is the perfect room for me. Out of all the rooms that I’ve ever played, this is the one for me. If I was building one for myself, this is the size that I would have built.”

Anyone who’s witnessed Manilow perform “Copacabana” at the venue would agree, as set design and a flight of stairs allow Manilow to perform above the audience as he sings of music, passion and fashion. It’s a place where Fanilows the world over can make a pilgrimage to their favorite singer, where songs transport them to happier times and longtime fans dance as if the decades since “Daybreak” never happened. “These people are so happy, and they’re all ages. That’s why I still do it,” said Manilow, who had an epiphany during a mid-’80s concert. The lights hit the audience and it was as if he was seeing them for the first time. Until then, Manilow was somewhat self-centered in his shows. It was about the clothes, the look, singing perfectly. “And then suddenly I looked at them and decided it’s not about me. It’s about them,” said Manilow. “Everything changed because I realized that’s why I’m on that stage. That’s why I’m there. It’s to make them feel great. It’s to make them forget their cancer and their divorces, and if they lost their job.”

The revelation marked the maturing of a special relationship between Fanilows and Manilow. “I’ve been very lucky,” said Manilow. “Those great people were there, not as many, but they were there from the very beginning. I don’t know why, because I was terrible on the stage.” Manilow had never actually planned to be onstage. Before “Mandy,” before the first album, becoming a famous singer was not a goal. “Never even in my mind,” recalled Manilow. “I had no desire to do it. I was going to be a conductor, arranger or songwriter. Keyboard guy, anything in the background. The last thing on my mind was to be standing on that stage entertaining people.”

Prior to teaming up with Bette Midler at her legendary Continental Baths engagements, which ended in 1971, Manilow was an in-demand piano man and jingle writer who aspired to be an arranger, the next Nelson Riddle. “I come from cabaret and Broadway,” he explained. “I used to play piano for everybody in New York. I was the go-to guy as the keyboard guy. I played for every singer that needed a piano player. I was the guy that they all called. Bernadette Peters, just everybody. I was the guy because I was a real good accompanist. I sound like a band when I play.”

Manilow was content, backing Midler as conductor, arranger and piano player. Then he made a demo, and his record company wanted to position him as a singer-songwriter, à la James Taylor and Carole King. He called the Divine Miss M for advice. “I said 'Bette, I think I just got a record deal.' She said, 'Doing what?' I said, 'Singing.' She said, 'But you don’t sing.' I said, 'Yeah, but they think I do.'”

The accompanist became an entertainer. Harmony, a bio-musical about German vocal group Comedian Harmonists created by Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman (“Copacabana,” “I Made It Through the Rain”), brings him full circle to being the wizard behind the curtain. “They were a combination of the Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers, all filled with great, complicated music,” said Manilow. “This happened in the 1920s and 1930s. The kind of music from the 1920s and ’30s, I love to listen to.... They were tremendously successful. They made 13 movies. They sold millions of records when records weren’t even big, and we had never heard of them.”

Previews for Harmony at Ethel Barrymore Theatre begin Oct. 18, shortly after he breaks Presley’s record during a three-day weekend of concerts, Sept. 21-23, that will benefit charities, including the Manilow Music Project. “It was the only way I could pay tribute to Elvis,” said Manilow. “Just to have something to do with Elvis is thrilling for me. I thought doing charity would be a way of saying ‘Thank you’ to Elvis. It was the only way I could say ‘Thank you.’”

September 10, 2023 Broadway World"Album Review: Barry's Boys Bring Back Beautiful Blends To Broadway On HARMONY'S New Cast Album: A Soaring Score From Song Writers Sussman & Manilow" by Bobby Patrick
Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby’s CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This latest album entry in the BobbyFiles is one we were very excited to sit with, as it comes from the legendary keys of 70s hitmaker, Barry Manilow. NYC is all abuzz about his brand new original musical, HARMONY, for so many reasons. Number one, it will be the first full foray on the Great White Way by the Grammy and Emmy Award® winner and special Tony® Award recipient. Oh yes, Barry has had some of his well-known songs on The Broadway a few times but never an entirely original musical for which he has written the score Soup-to-Nuts. The creative arc that has been HARMONY’s Rise, fall, rise a Little, fall again, and finally rise up to the Barrymore stage (beginning this October 18) has encompassed a few regional mountings over 25+ years with performances including 1997 in San Diego, 2013 in Atlanta, 2014 in Los Angeles, and, finally, last year’s Off-Broadway run that did well enough for a light re-cast and transfer.

This brings us to the second reason we are excited about HARMONY... With a respectful nod to those who worked the show downtown in Battery Park, one of the new additions to the cast is Broadway’s Understudy-No-More, Julie Benko. After wowing us all by rescuing a flailing revival of FUNNY GIRL, Ms. B is being given the chance to originate on The Street, and that is as exciting for us as we are sure it is for her. Taking on the role of Ruth, Benko joins original company members Danny Kornfield as Rabbi (Younger Version), Steve Telsey as Lesh, Sean Bell as Bobby, Eric Peters as Erich, Zal Owen as Harry, Blake Roman as Chopin, Sierra Boggess as Mary, and Chip Zien as Older Rabbi, all singing the music of Manilow with the words of Lyricist/Book-Writer Bruce Sussman.

Now to the cast Album of HARMONY... The first praiseworthy rainbow Bobby must bestow is this recording checks our most important Broadway Album Box. One comes away from the first listening (or 2) with a real sense of the show and its story. HARMONY is based on factual events and tells the story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with the rise of the Nazi Party.

At the opening of the record, we get an efficient 80-second OVERTURE with Oomp Pah Pah rhythms and a strong ragtime influence. The full sounds of brass, strings, percussion, and reeds arranged in a traditional overture style with quick looks into songs in the show that lead straight into the first number. HARMONY introduces the voices being played almost as instruments, with just a piano and some drums, in the style of the originals, who mostly sang acapella with a little piano assist now and then, but after the first refrain, the orchestra sneaks in more and more. This is perfect 6-part close harmony, with Chip Zien’s unforgettable voice, as the older Rabbi looking back on the glory that was his days with the Harmonists - “Suddenly a little harmony and the poverty’s not so bad,” they sing. As the song grows, though, it all sounds a bit “loudly” produced, with the orchestra in competition with the singers. But, still, it’s a fine intro to the cast as a choir.

HOW CAN I SERVE YOU MADAM is another terrific 6-part harmony song, but funny… really funny, and beautiful, all at the same time. It’s a novelty song, and part of the group’s stage act, showing off the boys’ humor, as well as talent, as they employ vocaleses (sound combos instead of lyrics) and truly play their voices like instruments. Loads Of Fun! They put this ability to good use with HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY #20 where their awesome 6-part arrangement is done entirely with the voices making instrumental sounds, rather than singing words, all to the HR #20. The choices of which voice will make which sounds in the brilliant arrangement are truly remarkable. These are three wonderful-to-listen-to numbers where the 6 Voices of the Comedian Harmonists create enchantment. Each of the men of the Harmonists also gets moments on their own to sing with great passion and power.

For the ladies, AND WHAT DO YOU SEE gives Sierra Boggess a gorgeous solo in a mournful minor key with diminished chords that create dramatic tension in her beautiful soprano, as she longs for freedom from what she sees - a world being torn apart. WHERE YOU GO is a beautiful love song filled with double meanings, as Benko’s Ruth sings words and emotions from the biblical Book Of Ruth. This haunting love song tells of her devotion to the one she loves - gorgeous and powerful all at the same time. Her ability to belt in legit vocal tones is magical, and her back and forth from powerful to lyrical is perfectly managed and acted. As Ruth is joined in the song by Boggess’s Mary, they mix, beautifully, their very different voices.

Finally, there is THRENODY (means a lament), where the older Rabbi (Zien) re-imagines a moment he thought he had a chance to kill Hitler, but he didn’t. He hates remembering and this becomes a real Magnum Opus of a number for Zien. Bobby predicts, if this show grows legs, Chip will FINALLY get a Tony® nomination off this song alone, as it is SO FAB and challenging.

So there you have a few looky-loo's at this well-made cast recording, my lovely Bobby readers, a happy surprise that may make for a welcome addition to the Broadway season. HARMONY OBR is out now and you can start memorizing the score before you get your tickets (don’t we all do that?) and enjoy an all-new, all-original Broadway musical cast album that is so heavenly Bobby must give it a hearty… 4½ Out Of 5 Rainbows.

September 3, 2023 Broadway World"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman to Open HARMONY Box Office at the Barrymore Theatre This Thursday: The first 100 people in line will have an opportunity to meet Barry and Bruce and receive a personal autograph on their ticket" by Blair Ingenthron
Producers Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief have announced the box office opening for Harmony – the new, original musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle. The box office at Broadway's Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th St.) will officially open Thursday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET, and the first 100 people in line will have an opportunity to meet Barry and Bruce until 11:00 a.m. ET, and receive a personal autograph on their ticket. Harmony previews begin Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Ghostlight Records released the full digital cast recording of the upcoming Broadway production on Thursday, August 31. The album is produced by Barry Manilow, with Lawrence Manchester serving as co-producer. The first single, the show's title track “Harmony,” is available to listen at the link here: https://ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/vX2x0EPR.

Principal cast members include Chip Zien; Sierra Boggess; Julie Benko; the Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey; Allison Semmes and Andrew O'Shanick. The complete cast includes Zak Edwards, Dan Hoy, Bruce Landry, Rhonnirose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kyla Stone, Bronwyn Tarboton, Kate Wesler, Stuart Zagnit, and Lee Zarrett.

The creative team for Harmony includes Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Linda Cho & Ricky Lurie (costume design), Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting design), Dan Moses Schreier (sound design), batwin + robin productions (media design), Tom Watson (wig & hair design), Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (casting), Sara Edwards (associate director/choreographer), John O'Neill (music director), Michael Aarons (music coordinator), Doug Walter (orchestrations) and Scott Taylor Rollison (production stage manager).

Harmony features an original new score by legendary Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history comes to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

Based on an unbelievable true story, Harmony tells the tale of the most successful entertainers you've never heard of. . . until now. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom...

September 7, 2023 Broadway World"The Cast of HARMONY on Broadway Meets the Press at First Rehearsal: Harmony previews begin Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night" by Bruce Glikas
Rehearsals have begun for Harmony – the new, original musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle. Harmony previews begin Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night. The cast recently met the press at their first rehearsal and BroadwayWorld was there.

Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, along with Warren Carlyle, welcomed the cast and creatives and acknowledged the many members of the company who are making their Broadway debuts with Harmony, including 5 of the 6 actors playing the Harmonists. The Harmonists, along with Chip Zien finished out the morning with a performance of the song “Stars in the Night.”

Today, Thursday, September 7th will mark the official opening of the box office at the Barrymore Theatre and fans will get to meet Barry and Bruce at 10 AM. They will be in the box office and the first 100 patrons will receive an autograph on their ticket.

Ghostlight Records released the full digital cast recording of the upcoming Broadway production on Thursday, August 31. The album is produced by Barry Manilow, with Lawrence Manchester serving as co-producer.

September 5, 2023 Playbill"After 3 Decades, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony Is Finally on Broadway: These chart-topping superstars have written a musical that feels alarmingly timely, even though they began writing it decades ago" by Logan Culwell-Block
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony, set to premiere on Broadway beginning October 18 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, has been a long time coming—just about 32 years, in fact. The year was 1991 when Sussman first saw a three-hour German documentary about the mostly forgotten performing group The Comedian Harmonists, a German close harmony singing group that was, before World War II, among the most successful acts in all of Europe. “I went down to the street and called Barry [Manilow] and said, ‘Barry, I think I found it,’” remembers Sussman. “I think this is the story we’ve been wanting to turn into a musical.”

Manilow and Sussman had been writing pop hits together for more than a decade, counting such songs as “Copacabana,” “Bermuda Triangle,” and “Perfect Isn’t Easy” in their catalogue. But this musical would be pretty new territory for the duo.

Sussman was inspired by the group’s surprising diversity. Half of the six-member group was Jewish and the other half wasn’t, and more than one member married outside their faith. That might not sound too terribly shocking today, but consider they were working together and performing in Germany and throughout Europe in the ‘30s and ‘40s under the shadow of Adolf Hitler.

Still, Manilow was not initially enthusiastic about the idea. Then he heard the group’s music. “I’ve never heard anything quite like what they did,” says Manilow. “Yeah, they were old fashioned-sounding, but they were very hip, even in their old-fashioned way of singing. They were the Manhattan Transfer of their time, plus The Marx Brothers in their comedy.” Soon thereafter, Manilow was on a concert tour that took him through Germany. Ever the researcher, he came home with a suitcase full of CDs. “I was soaking in ‘20s and ‘30s German music. I even found Nazi marching bands. As crazy as it was, it was kind of brilliant.”

One would think that getting a musical with a score written by artists with the pedigree of Manilow and Sussman would be simple, but that hasn’t been the case with Harmony. The upcoming Broadway bow follows three pre-Broadway tryout productions dating back to 1997, none of which panned out. Following even more delays due to the pandemic, the stars seemed to have finally aligned, with the Broadway bow following an Off-Broadway run last year at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbeine.

Sussman says the show, which also addresses the rise of Nazism in Germany, is ultimately about “how fragile democracy is, and how the threat of autocracy is always waiting around the corner.” Combined with the show’s surprising story about finding harmony even in a group of both Jewish men and gentiles, and you might be thinking that those delays may have worked in this musical’s favor.

But Manilow says that doesn’t take much to connect those themes with the current state of the world, whenever the show has reappeared. “Every time we put this up, it was always the right time,” he says. “There’s always something like this happening.”

Adds Sussman: “That said, I think it’s worse than ever. It’s a little strange. There are moments in the show where there will be a book scene and we’ll get an audible response from the audience. And I say to myself, ‘My God, they’re going to think I’m writing to the headlines, when in fact those lines have been there for 25 years.”

Even more surprising: Harmony has barely changed at all since its very first iteration. Manilow and Sussman have both remained steadfast over those 25 years of starts and stops because they’ve always believed in their show. Manilow is excited for his fans to finally hear the score, and he says it’s “totally different” than anything else he’s written. “The only thing that you will find is I’m a melody guy," says Manilow. "No matter how I try to write atonal stuff, it always winds up back at my melodies. There’s this moment at the end of the show called 'Threnody,' where out lead character has a nervous breakdown. That was difficult because I didn’t want to write a great melody. It was thrilling to be able to write for situations like that.”

And that, of course, begs the question: With Harmony finally poised to make its long-awaited Broadway debut, can we expect more musicals from Manilow and Sussman—perhaps one of those jukebox musicals audiences are so fond of? “This one took 25 years,” says Manilow with a wry laugh. “We just want to get through this one.”

When Where Articles/Reviews
August 14, 2023 Louisville Courier Journal"'Every song is a song everybody knows.' Five reasons to see Barry Manilow in Louisville" by Kirby Adams
Pop superstar Barry Manilow, the undisputed No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines, is returning to Louisville this summer with his "Manilow Tour." The Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning music icon, whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will bring his high-energy, hit-packed concert to the KFC YUM Center on Monday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. The last time he performed at the arena was in June 2015. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Manilow is one of the world's all-time best-selling recording artists with an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 No. 1 hits and 27 Top 10 hits.

Ahead of his Louisville show, we spoke with the 80-year-old performer about his uber-loyal fan base, what he has planned for the KFC YUM Center show, a passion project soon to open on Broadway and how he keeps thrilling audiences after 50 years in the business.

Who can I expect to see at the 'Manilow Tour' in Louisville? We can expect people of just about every age to show up for Manilow's Louisville concert. "I never take anything for granted but every time we go out on the road, there is always a really big audience," he said. "I can't explain it but after all these years we are still drawing large audiences."

Since 1975 when "Mandy" became Manilow's first No. 1 hit, the singer-songwriter has built one of the music's largest and most enthusiastic fan bases. Unofficially known as Fanilows, Manilow prefers to call them "friends." "I am one of those lucky guys who makes music that appeals to a wide age range," Manilow told the Courier Journal. "Even at the start of my career, it was young, middle age and older fans in the audience and buying my music. That's the goal of every artist and I am very grateful for it."

What is the atmosphere like at a Barry Manilow concert? "I can feel when the audience loves something with their applause and reactions and it's those songs that have been included in the shows I am playing on this tour," Manilow said. "I am one of those lucky guys who has a catalog of songs that can fill up 90 minutes and every song is a song everybody knows."

Whether "Copacabana," "It's A Miracle" or "I Made It Through The Rain," audiences at a Manilow concert cheer, sing, and dance along in an atmosphere of unbridled joy. "It's just great because I am not there for me, I am there for them," the performer said. "If you are having a great time, then I am doing my job."

Manilow will spotlight a Louisville area educator at his show. In each concert venue where he performs, The Manilow Music Project identifies worthy teachers to nominate for a $10,000 prize. The teacher receives a $5, 000 grant and $5,000 for classroom instruments. At the Louisville concert on Aug. 21, Doug Elmore of Floyd Central High School will receive the award. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part to keep music in schools,” Manilow said. "And just wait, when I announce the winners at the shows the audience goes wild. I am so happy about that." The Manilow Music Project has given away over $10 million worth of funds and music instrument donations.

Why you can expect this octogenarian to knock it out of the ballpark: "I am in great shape because I work out five days a week with a trainer and my body and voice have really held up," he told the Courier Journal. "I keep waiting for a potbelly, grey hair and a walker and all that stuff that I thought was going to happen at my age, but thank goodness I am still healthy enough to do these shows."

Manilow is doing eight shows on tour including Louisville and will then return to Las Vegas where he picks back up with his residency at Westgate Resort and Casino. Manilow will be in New York City on Oct. 18 for the Broadway opening of "Harmony," a musical he's worked on for 32 years with Bruce Sussman. "It's the story of 'The Comedian Harmonists' who were extremely popular before World War II," Manilow said. "It's a really compelling story and we're so glad it has made it to Broadway."

How can I buy tickets to Barry Manilow's Louisville show? Tickets start at $19.50 and are available at kfcyumcenter.com.

August 10, 2023 Las Vegas WeeklyReaders’ Choice—Best Headliner: Barry Manilow
The 80-year-old songwriting phenom is on track to surpass Elvis Presley’s mark of 636 performances at the International Showroom (now at Westgate Las Vegas) this fall. Manilow is your favorite headliner because he’s a multigenerational star of the Strip, a rare breed of entertainer. Westgate, westgateresorts.com/manilow.

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July 27, 2023 People"Barry Manilow Comes to Broadway with New Musical 'Harmony' -- Hear a New Song from the Show: 'Harmony,' which features lyrics and book by Manilow's longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, has been in the making for 25 years" by Tommy McArdle
Barry Manilow is bringing his latest show to Broadway! On Thursday, Ghostlight Records exclusively shared the first single from 80-year-old Manilow's upcoming Broadway production Harmony with PEOPLE before it releases everywhere Friday.

The song serves as the title track for the new musical, which Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Manilow wrote an original new score for alongside lyrics and book by his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. "Harmony" is performed by the show's star Chip Zien, who plays Rabbi, as well as the show's Harmonist characters: a young Rabbi (Danny Kornfeld), Harry (Zal Owen), Bobby (Sean Bell), Erich (Eric Peters), Chopin (Blake Roman) and Lesh (Steven Telsey).

"In the 1920s and ‘30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world," reads an official synopsis for the production. "Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom," the synopsis adds. "What happened next is the story of Harmony."

The production's arrival on Broadway is decades in the making; Manilow initially premiered the musical in California all the way back in 1997. Harmony was originally intended to open on Broadway in 2004, but the run was canceled when its funding fell apart, according to The New York Times.

The show has received a number of Off-Broadway awards nominations, including a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination for outstanding musical and the Drama Desk Award for outstanding book of a musical, according to a release. Harmony ran Off-Broadway again in 2022 at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, where it received the Off-Broadway Alliance's best new musical award and eight Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, a release reads.

The production is centered around the real-life story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of German singers who gained fame in the 1920s and '30s. The group ran into trouble as Germany's Nazi regime took power in the '30s because it featured some performers who were Jewish, according to the Times. “They represent everything I love — they’re a combination of The Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers, with complicated harmonies — and funny as hell,” Manilow told the outlet about Harmony in April. “When we dug into it, it just killed me: Why don’t we know about them?”

The production also stars performers Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko among its principal cast; it is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle.

Harmony begins preview performances Wednesday, Oct. 18, with opening night at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13. Tickets can be purchased here.

July 7, 2023 Las Vegas Magazine"Barry Manilow is on track to break Elvis Presley’s performance record in Vegas" by Matt Kelemen
Barry Manilow turned 80 in June to much fanfare from his devoted Fanilows. The love and loyalty shared between the singer-songwriter and his audiences is one of the strongest bonds in show business, and Manilow can’t stay away from the stage for long before it pulls him back with irresistible force. His energy spills over into Carnegie Hall and Broadway, but in a few months he’ll observe a career landmark of a personal kind involving a different kind of irresistible force: Elvis Presley.

By Sept. 23, if nothing interferes with his schedule at Westgate Las Vegas, Manilow’s The Hits Come Home residency will have surpassed Presley’s record of 636 performances inside the iconic International Showroom. When Barbra Streisand opened the venue in 1969, the property it was housed in was the International Hotel. Presley became its star performer shortly afterward and remained its resident headliner, with his own dedicated suite that became a home away from home, as The International became The Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.

Manilow, born in Brooklyn three years after the Copacabana opened in New York City, was in his piano-playing adolescence when Presley began appearing on television in 1956. That same year, Dick Clark became host of American Bandstand and grew the Philadelphia-based dance program into a nationally broadcast show viewable by Brooklyn high school students.

As Presley focused on musical movies throughout the ’60s, Manilow became a theatrical composer, music director for TV and jingle writer. He was signed to his first recording contract in 1969, the year of Presley’s debut at the International. Presley had headlined Vegas previously, but this was the gig that would define him as a Vegas performer in the ’70s.

Manilow defined himself on late-night 1970s music programs such as The Midnight Special and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Songs such as “Could It Be Magic and “It’s a Miracle” received radio airplay boosts from his numerous appearances, accompanied by his Lady Flash trio of backup singers. Before he had that exposure, he was recruited by Bette Midler as a pianist and became her producer in the studio. By the end of 1973, he produced two albums for her and released his self-titled debut album.

As Presley retained a prominent profile in Vegas, Manilow was ever-present on the airwaves and charts with hits such as “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs” and “Can’t Smile without You.” In 1977, he starred in his first television special and wrote lyrics to the American Bandstand theme that wound up being used, bringing his voice into homes every week.

Presley passed away that year, creating a vacancy in the showroom that wasn’t really filled until it became Manilow’s musical home in Vegas. Now, as he celebrates 14 years at Westgate, 50 years as a recording artist and 80 years as a human being, Manilow is set to eclipse Presley as having given the most performances in a space that is sacred to both fans of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and the Prince of ’70s Pop.

When Where Articles/Reviews
May 31, 2023 Fox 5 New York"Legendary singer Barry Manilow awarding 5 NYC music teachers $15,000" by Ashlie Rodriguez
Legendary singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is awarding five music teachers from each borough of New York City $15,000 during his concert series at Radio City Music Hall. "Oh my gosh, it's unbelievable to meet an icon like that," said teacher Melissa Morris of James Madison High who was the first-named winner out of Brooklyn.

Before Manilow became a music icon, he was a Brooklyn boy, attending a school that ranked as one of the most dangerous. But music class became his safe place -- and his destiny-- leading him to create the Manilow Music Project, which provides music scholarships and donates to underfunded schools. "I was a misfit and then I turned into a musician and everything changed," Manilow said.

From May 31 to June 4, Manilow is headlining Radio City Music Hall and each night he's awarding one teacher from every borough $5,000 for themselves, and $10,000 toward music instruments. "Manilow is illuminating teachers," Morris said. "And we're in a time when teachers are criticized at every turn. Because we're in a shortage area, they're lowering the quality of teachers that are in front of your kids. And Mr. Manilow is saying we're not going to do that."

"It's more than just music," Manilow said. "These classes turn into their second family, sometimes it's their first family. They learn how to interact with each other. Some of their grades go up. They become musicians. that's what happened to me."

To date, the Manilow music project has given away more than $10 million in funds and music instrument donations. The Manilow Music Project winners are:

  • BROOKLYN, 31 MAY: Melissa Morris, James Madison High School
  • STATEN ISLAND, 1 JUNE: Robert Rams, Staten Island Technical High School
  • THE BRONX, 2 JUNE: Michael Santoro, Fordham High School for the Arts
  • QUEENS, 3 JUNE: Sara Shikowitz, Stephen A. Halsey 157
  • MANHATTAN, 4 JUNE: Laurel Stinson, High School of the Liberal Arts Manhattan
May 23, 2023 Broadway World"The Comedian Harmonists From HARMONY Will Join Barry Manilow on Stage at Radio City Music Hall: Manilow's concerts will take place May 31 – June 4" by Stephi Wild
The six actors that play the “Comedian Harmonists” in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's musical Harmony will be Manilow's guests at his five highly anticipated concerts at Radio City Music Hall May 31 – June 4. Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey will join Manilow, his band and a 50 piece orchestra performing two songs from the Manilow/Sussman original score. The five concerts make it 39 performances at Radio City for Manilow. It's his first time returning to the legendary venue since 2012. Tickets for all five Radio City Music Hall shows are on sale via www.ticketmaster.com.

It will be Broadway debut's for the six actors, with previews at the Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th St.) beginning Wednesday, October 18, ahead of an official Opening Night on Monday, November 13. Additional news about Harmony will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets are now on sale starting at $59 via www.telecharge.com, or by calling (800) 447 7400 or (212) 239-6200.

Harmony features an original score by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history comes to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

Harmony tells the true story of the most successful entertainers you've never heard of. . . . until now. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom. What happened next is the story of Harmony.

Harmony is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada. A New York Times Critic's Pick, the musical received a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical and an award for Outstanding Best Book of a Musical and the Off-Broadway Alliance's Best New Musical for 2022. It also received eight 2022-2023 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and two 2022-2023 Lucille Lortel Award nominations including Outstanding Musical.

Harmony comes to Broadway following a sold-out award-winning run last spring at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (Artistic Director, Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director, Dominick Balletta). Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief are producers of the show joined by Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D'Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner, and Neil Gooding Productions. Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment. [ Buy Tickets to Harmony ]

May 19, 2023 Las Vegas Magazine"Barry Manilow is making all sorts of news this year" by Matt Kelemen
With all the singers accused of relying on backing tracks as of late, it’s good to know Barry Manilow is not one of them. Five decades after the release of his debut self-titled album, Manilow’s voice is in fine form. He still sings “Could It Be Magic” from Barry Manilow, although he reserves the right to perform it with a disco arrangement, and gives his all during performances that keep faithful Fanilows coming to see him at his long-running Las Vegas residency. (This year, he’s on track to break Elvis Presley’s record for performances in the Westgate’s International Theater.)

If any modern-day entertainer is worthy of the title of “Mr. Showmanship” in 2023, it’s Manilow. He returned to Las Vegas this month after being honored with a May 1 tribute show at Carnegie Hall during the New York Pops’ 40th Birthday Gala, where friends such as Dionne Warwick and Charo were in attendance. He’ll return to the Big Apple later this month for a five-date concert series at Radio City Music Hall.

In even bigger Manilow-in-Manhattan news, his musical Harmony is set to begin previews at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre in October. Co-created with lyricist/librettist Bruce Sussman with Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle on board as director and choreographer, Harmony had a sold-out run last spring at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. The story of six singers who started out in Berlin’s subways of the 1920s and became stars as the Comedian Harmonists won a Drama Desk Award and received nearly a dozen nominations from other organizations.

So it’s a busy year for Manilow, full of highs that will undoubtedly add even more effervescence to his upbeat, high-energy residency shows. Manilow plays career-spanning sets that feature hits co-written by him (“Even Now,” “It’s a Miracle”) as well as covers he made famous (“Mandy,” “I Write the Songs”). The inarguable highlight is “Copacabana,” though, with Manilow pulling out all the stops for a part of the show that is as over-the-top as any Fanilow can imagine.

May 16, 2023 Jewish Telegraphic Agency (NY Jewish Week)Barry Manilow, 79, hitmaker with Broadway-bound show
It’s not as if people haven’t been watching Barry Manilow for over five decades now, starting in the 1970s when he recorded the first of 13 multi-platinum albums and 28 top 10 hits. Raised Jewish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he wrote and sang commercial jingles and accompanied other artists (including a young Bette Midler) before the 1974 single “Mandy” vaulted him to pop stardom.

Manilow, 79, could have coasted on his success, filling up theaters by playing his oldies (as he is expected to do during a run at Radio City Music Hall from May 31-June 4). But in recent years he was, well, ready to take a chance again. This coming fall, “Harmony,” his years-in-the-making musical about a real-life performing troupe of Jews and gentiles who combined close harmonies and stage antics in Germany during the 1920s and ’30s, will open on Broadway.

The musical, for which Manilow wrote the songs and his longtime partner, Bruce Sussman, wrote the lyrics, was first staged in 1997, but it wasn’t until April 2022 that it made its New York debut in a National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The play centers around the German group the Comedian Harmonists, whose tight harmonies and humorous approach made them an international sensation in the 1920s. In 1934, after the Nazis rose to power, the group was prohibited from giving concerts because two members were Jewish, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time.

The Broadway production follows a season which saw two major plays exploring historical antisemitism, “Leopoldstadt” and “Parade.”

But Manilow also wants to celebrate the Comedian Harmonists as entertainers. In an interview with the New York Jewish Week, Manilow said that he drew on his “very musical Yiddish upbringing” in writing “Harmony.” “When I left Williamsburg, I knew that world of Yiddish folk songs. I played them, I sang them, I arranged them, I knew everything about them. Jumping into ‘Harmony’ was just a big familiar musical experience for me.”

May 12, 2023 Syracuse.com"Barry Manilow to perform at Turning Stone in Central NY: How to get tickets" by Geoff Herbert
One of the world’s best-selling artists is coming to Central New York. Barry Manilow will perform at the Turning Stone Event Center in Verona, N.Y., on Saturday, Aug. 19. The show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale to the public today (Friday, May 12) at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster, the Turning Stone Box Office or by calling 1-877-833-SHOW. Prices may vary. Seats are likely to go fast, so fans may want to check resellers like VividSeats, StubHub, Megaseats, TicketNetwork or SeatGeek for tickets.
May 11, 2023 Theatermania"Chip Zien to Lead Barry Manilow’s Harmony on Broadway: The historical musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman will open on Broadway this fall" by Hayley Levitt
Producers Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief announced today that Chip Zien will star as Rabbi in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s upcoming Broadway musical Harmony. Directed and choreographed by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, the production will begin performances at the Barrymore Theatre on October 18 ahead of a November 13 opening.

Zien originated the role off-Broadway at National Yiddish Theatre/Folksbiene last year, earning 2022 Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He is best known for originating the role of the Baker in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, and has over a dozen other Broadway credits, including Falsettos, The Big Knife, and the 2021 revival of Caroline, or Change.

Harmony is the story of a little-known German performance group, the Comedian Harmonists, and their rise to become one of Europe’s most successful bands, and their fall at the hands of the Nazis in the World War II era. Leading the company will be Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey as the sextet of Harmonists, reprising roles they originated off-Broadway. Further casting and additional news about Harmony will be announced in the coming weeks. [Telecharge Tickets]

May 11, 2023 Broadway World"Chip Zien to Star in Barry Manilow & Bruce Sussman's HARMONY on Broadway: Previews begin at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night" by Chloe Rabinowitz
Chip Zien is set to star in the role of "Rabbi" in the new musical Harmony by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. The production will play Broadway's Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th St.) with previews starting Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Mr. Zien originated the role in the award-winning off-Broadway production at National Yiddish Theatre/Folksbiene (Artistic Director, Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director, Dominick Balletta) last year. For his performance, he received 2022 Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

Zien's storied career has spanned over five decades and this will be his 15th Broadway show. Highlights include originating the iconic role of The Baker in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into The Woods, leading roles in all the "Marvin Trilogy" musicals by William Finn: In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland and Falsettos, and most recently the Roundabout Theatre Company's critically acclaimed revival of Caroline, Or Change at Studio 54. In addition to his work on the Broadway stage, Zien has had an extensive career on screen, including prominent roles in major studio films as well as series regular and guest roles that have encompassed over 100 episodes of television.

Previously announced casting included the six Comedian Harmonists who are Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey. Five of them will proudly be making their Broadway debuts. Further casting and additional news about Harmony will be announced in the coming weeks.

Harmony features an original new score by legendary Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history comes to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

Based on an unbelievable true story, Harmony tells the tale of the most successful entertainers you've never heard of. . . until now. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom. What happened next is the story of Harmony.

Harmony is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada. A New York Times Critic's Pick, the musical received a 2002 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical and an award for Outstanding Best Book of a Musical and the Off-Broadway Alliance's Best New Musical for 2022. It also received eight 2022-2023 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and two 2022 Lucille Lortel Award nominations including Outstanding Musical.

Joining the producing team with Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief are Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D'Angora, Susan DuBow, Mark Jacobs, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner, Neil Gooding Productions and Harvey & Sandy Platt. Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment.

May 9, 2023 WKTV - News Channel 2Barry Manilow set to perform at Turning Stone in August
Turning Stone Casino brings acclaimed artist, Barry Manilow, to their events center Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. Best known for his hits ”Can’t Smile Without You," ”Copacabana," and “Mandy," Manilow is the latest performer to be announced as part of “The Next 30,” Turning Stone’s 30th anniversary entertainment lineup. Manilow has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide during his decade-long career. The Grammy, Tony, and Emmy award winning musician has had 50 top 40 singles including 12 No. 1s and 27 top 10 hits. Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 11 for TS Rewards members and to the general public Friday, May 12 both at 10 a.m.
May 9, 2023 CNY Central"Iconic singer/songwriter Barry Manilow brings his tour to Turning Stone August 19" by Emma Misiaszek
Following his previous critically acclaimed arena shows Barry Manilow, the iconic musician is back by popular demand this summer, bringing his "MANILOW Tour" to Turning Stone Resort Casino on Saturday, August 19 at 8 p.m. Manilow is the latest headliner to be announced as part of “The Next 30,” Turning Stone’s 30th anniversary entertainment lineup. Manilow, a Grammy, Tony, and Emmy-Award-winning music icon whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will bring his high-energy, hit-packed concert to cities nationwide once more.

Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best-selling recording artists. Manilow has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 No. 1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines. Tickets for Manilow’s August 19 show in the Turning Stone Event Center go on sale Thursday, May 11 for TS Rewards Members and public on-sale is Friday, May 12 both at 10 a.m. Guests can purchase tickets in person at the Turning Stone Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.

May 2, 2023 Theater Pizzazz"The New York Pops Salute Barry Manilow" by Brian Scott Lipton
It may not literally be true that Barry Manilow has written the songs the whole world sings. Still, I would bet my bank account that most of the more than 2,000 people packed into Carnegie Hall on May 1 for The New York Pops 40th Birthday Gala: This One’s For You: The Music of Barry Manilow could belt out every lyric of the prolific singer-songwriter’s catalogue, much of which was beautifully showcased in this loving, gorgeously performed tribute.

Obviously, not all of the highlights of Manilow’s six-decade career could be included (and I was personally a little disappointed by the absence of “New York City Rhythm”), but the hits kept coming thanks to a stellar cast and the ever-superb New York Pops under the direction of Steven Reineke. (In addition, the show was brilliantly staged and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, who will be repeating those duties on Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s upcoming Broadway musical Harmony.)

For much of the concert, Reineke talked a bit less than usual, graciously handing the co-hosting duties to the adorable Michael Urie, a self-described “Fanilow,” who has seen the performer live 15 times and entertained us with sly commentary, sharp remarks, and a slew of factoids about Manilow’s career.

In addition, Urie almost seemed besides himself in introducing some of the legendary performers assembled for the evening, including Melissa Manchester, who apparently fulfilled a 50-year-old promise by sensitively performing “I Am You Child,” the seemingly ageless Charo, who showed off her still-gorgeous gams and interacted with the audience during a joyous if barely-sung version of “Copacabana,” and especially the incredible Dionne Warwick, whose interpretive skills were brought to the forefront with the ballad “All the Time” (while noting she had no idea why Manilow asked her to do that particular song!)

Naturally, Broadway and cabaret performers were also on hand, proving just how theatrical Manilow’s songs can be – and how well they could do them. Deborah Cox successfully navigated the difficult Donna Summer arrangement of “Could It Be Magic,” the one-and-only Norm Lewis brought his soaring baritone to the heart-wrenching “Ships,” the glorious Megan Hilty made us all cry with her bittersweet “When October Goes,” and the peerless Lillias White raised the roof with “Weekend in New England.”

The versatile Erich Bergen appeared in the show twice: first with Max Von Essen as white-jacketed song-and-dance men performing the feel-good “I Can’t Smile Without You” and “I Don’t Walk Without You” and then returning with the enthusiastic kids of Camp Broadway for the anthemic “One Voice.”

For his part, Von Essen returned as well, teaming up with the delightful Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch for a medley of Manilow’s super-successful commercial jingles for such companies as BandAid, State Farm, Pepsi and McDonalds!

A true highlight of the evening was a preview of Harmony via the performance of that show’s title tune and the stunning ballad “Stars in the Night” by the six extraordinary actors (Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey) who will play the singing group The Comedian Harmonists. Get your tickets now!

Acknowledging how many familiar tunes had been left out by necessity – the show ran a mere 90 minutes – the cast reunited towards the end for a “Manilow MegaMedley” that included parts of “I Write the Songs,” “Mandy,” “Daybreak,” “Even Now,” and “Somewhere Down the Road.”

The medley also smartly served as an introduction to Manilow’s only onstage appearance of the evening. (He appeared to have a cold or allergies). He was unquestionably touched by this gathering of his friends, colleagues and a super-appreciative audience, returning the favor by telling his favorite (and now familiar) story about how his grandfather nurtured his musical talent by taking him weekly from Brooklyn to Times Square to make recordings before launching into “This One’s for You.” Yes, that song may have been originally inspired by his grandfather, but in the end, there was no question it was all for us who came out to honor this inimitable icon.

May 1, 2023 Playbill"Megan Hilty, Lillias White, Michael Urie, Jim Caruso, More Celebrate Barry Manilow May 1 at Carnegie Hall: This One’s for You: The Music of Barry Manilow also features The New York Pops" by Andrew Gans
This One’s for You: The Music of Barry Manilow, honoring Grammy and Emmy winner Barry Manilow, is presented May 1 at 7 PM in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The evening — also the 40th Birthday Gala for The New York Pops, led by music director and conductor Steven Reineke — features performances from Jim Caruso, Megan Hilty, Michael Urie, Lillias White, Erich Bergen, Charo, Deborah Cox, Norm Lewis, Melissa Manchester, Billy Stritch, Max von Essen, and Dionne Warwick as well as cast members from the Off-Broadway cast of Manilow’s Broadway-bound musical Harmony, including Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey. Urie co-hosts with Reineke. The performance also includes Kids on Stage students, led by director Brian Worsdale; and The Camp Broadway Ensemble, led by director-choreographer Theo Lencicki and music director Christine Riley.

Attendees can expect to hear music from Manilow’s wide-ranging catalog. The Tony-honored artist is a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee who has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide. The Gala also celebrates Corporate Honoree Tamara Alesi, CEO at Mediaplus North America, and Legacy Honorees Patty and James Read, honored for their many years of support to The New York Pops. Proceeds from the Gala support the organization’s PopsEd music education programs. An optional black tie dinner and dance will follow at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Visit CarnegieHall.org.

May 1, 2023 Broadway News"Initial casting announced for Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s ‘Harmony’ on Broadway: Five of the six ‘Harmonists’ will make their Main Stem debuts" by Caitlin Hornik
Casting has been announced for the actors playing The Harmonists, the real-life musical group at the center of the musical “Harmony.” Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey will portray the six members of the group. “Harmony” will mark the Main Stem debuts of Bell, Kornfeld, Peters, Roman and Telsey. Owen previously appeared on Broadway in “The Band’s Visit.”

Prior to their Broadway bow, the six actors will join the musical’s composer — Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Barry Manilow — onstage at Radio City Music Hall for an appearance during his five concerts beginning on May 31. As previously announced, “Harmony” is scheduled to begin previews on Oct. 18 and officially open on Nov. 13 at the Barrymore Theatre. Warren Carlyle will direct and choreograph the show, which features music by Manilow with lyrics and a book by Sussman.

“Harmony” tells the story of six entertainers who rose to fame in Berlin during the 1920s and ’30s. The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records and starred in dozens of films — but they’re legacy was erased by the turmoil of Nazi Germany. “Harmony” is being produced on Broadway by Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief.

When Where Articles/Reviews
April 30, 2023 Page Six"Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman on ‘really surreal’ show finally coming to Broadway" by Nicki Gostin
Barry Manilow has to pinch himself. After more than 20 years in the works, his long-awaited musical “Harmony” — co-written with Bruce Sussman – is finally Broadway bound. “Standing in front of the theater is really surreal,” the “Mandy” warbler, 79, exclusively told Page Six at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, where the show will open in October. “It’s really happening!”

The show was first staged in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. There have been productions over the years in Atlanta and Los Angeles. However, it wasn’t until a critically acclaimed run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York – that producers finally managed to put it all in place (funding included) for a highly anticipated Broadway run. “We held on because the piece is so important to us,” Sussman, 74, shared. “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 a massively popular German singing group, the Comedian Harmonists, from the 20s and 30s. The sextet – which was comprised of three Jews and one member who was married to a Jewish woman – was split apart by the rise of Nazism.

The show began because Sussman saw a documentary about the singing sextet and called Manilow about it. Sadly the show is especially timely because of the themes of anti-Semitism. “As these years have gone by there’s always been something about anti-Semitism as we put this show on, the “Copacabana” singer shared. “But this year it’s very loud.”

Sussman added that during the show’s downtown run, there were lines about anti-Semitism that elicited audible responses. “I was actually worried that people thought I was writing to the headlines,” he explained. “Those lines had been there for years so it’s resonating more than ever.”

Despite this, Manilow stresses that it’s “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.”

April 29, 2023 New York Daily News"Barry Manilow to be honored in star-studded Carnegie Hall concert: 'Gonna be sitting there with my Kleenex'" by Muri Assunção
Music and passion are still always in fashion when Barry Manilow is around. On Monday, the Brooklyn-born superstar will be honored at Carnegie Hall in New York City in an evening peppered with stage and screen stars including Charo, Michael Urie, and Manilow’s longtime collaborator Dionne Warwick. “This One’s For You: The Music of Barry Manilow” is a gala concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the New York Pops, the nation’s largest independent pops orchestra and the city’s only professional orchestra that specializes in pop music.

The 79-year-old songsmith, who’s also gearing up for a series of concerts at Radio City Music Hall, collaborated with Pops’ music director Steven Reineke to put together a list of performers who would best represent his music and helped pair each singer with the perfect song from his catalog. Grammy-winning singer Melissa Manchester, for example, will sing “I Am Your Child,” which Manilow wrote for his self-titled debut album, originally released in 1973. Warwick, whose 1979 album “Dionne” was produced and co-written by Manilow, will perform “All the Time.”

One of Manilow’s most beloved songs, the Grammy-winning disco phenomenon “Copacabana,” will be celebrated on the Carnegie Hall stage by “Cuchi Cuchi” legend Charo. “Who would sing “Copa” the best?” Manilow recalls thinking, “I asked Steven, ‘Do you think she would be interested in doing it?’ He called her and she said, ‘absolutely!’”

Incredibly, Monday’s star-studded gala will be the first night dedicated to the music of the Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winning musician, who has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide and has packed concert halls for half a century. “I’ve received some awards [before] but no one has ever done this,” Manilow told the Daily News. “A whole evening of my music done by some of the great Broadway singers, played by 78 musicians in the New York Pops — I mean, I’m going to be sitting there with my Kleenex!”

Reineke, who has been with the orchestra since 2008, said Manilow was chosen as the night’s honoree because he “wanted to go big and I wanted to have something very special” to celebrate the Pops’ 40th anniversary, though he diplomatically added previous galas have also been special.

Monday’s concert will be “a very high-energy Barry Manilow, with all his great songs, but also supplemented by this incredible New York Pops Orchestra.” There will be 83 performers on stage, including 22 student musicians from local schools who will join the orchestra as part of the Pops’ education program, “Kids on Stage.”

The night will feature performances by an impressive list of Broadway superstars — including Jim Caruso, Megan Hilty and Lillias White — as well as R&B diva Deborah Cox, pianist and Liza Minnelli’s longtime collaborator Billy Stritch, among others.

The evening also includes appearances by the cast of the award-winning Off-Broadway production of “Harmony.” Written by Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, the show enjoyed a sold-out run at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene last spring and is Broadway-bound this fall, 25 years after opening at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, Calif.

Manilow, who lives in Palm Springs with his husband of nine years (and partner of 45 years) Garry Kief, will return to his hometown of New York City late next month for a five-concert run at Radio City Music Hall from May 31 to June 4. During that time he’ll award $5,000 cash prizes to five local music teachers, one from each borough, along with $10,000 in “Manilow Bucks” — credit that can be used toward the purchase of instruments for their classrooms.

Teachers are currently being selected via online vote as part of “The Manilow Music Project,” an initiative created by Manilow over 30 years ago that supports music education in schools by offering merit-based scholarships and getting instruments into classrooms across the U.S. “They are running out of instruments in schools all over the country. And even though they still have music classes, the instruments that they do have are in such terrible shape. I don’t know how these kids do it, but they love [playing]. They play these broken-down instruments and they make them sound good,” said Manilow, who’s delighted to help teachers and schools in New York City because they “deserve this small token of my gratitude.”

April 28, 2023 People.com"Barry Manilow on Being Busier Than Ever: 'By Keeping Working, You Stay Young': The music icon will be honored by the New York Pops orchestra with a special Carnegie Hall concert on May 1" by Jeff Nelson
He wrote the songs — now Barry Manilow is getting his flowers! On May 1, the New York Pops orchestra will celebrate its 40th season with a special concert of Manilow's music to honor the pop icon. "It's the first time anything like that has ever happened to me," the "Mandy" singer, 79, tells PEOPLE. "This is the first time an organization has said, 'Let's do an evening of his music.' No one's ever done that. I've won awards periodically, but not this; not a whole evening of the music that's meant so much to me in my life, sung by some wonderful, wonderful singers and a 78-piece orchestra. I know I'm going to be going through a lot of Kleenex."

Along with musical director and conductor Steven Reineke and the New York Pops, a slew of singers — including Dionne Warwick, Megan Hilty and Erich Bergen — will perform Manilow's myriad hits at the tribute show. And concertgoers can expect a show-stopping performance from flamenco icon Charo, who is set to deliver a rendition of Manilow's fan-favorite "Copacabana." "It's a difficult song to sing and to pull off," Manilow says, "but I said, 'You think you could get Charo to do "Copacabana?"' And she said she'd love to. Is that perfect or what?"

Manilow isn't slowing down these days. In addition to his ongoing Las Vegas residency dates, he'll be performing five nights at Radio City Music Hall in his hometown of New York City next month. Plus, it was announced Friday that Manilow and lyricist Bruce Sussman's musical, Harmony, will open on Broadway this fall.

Despite wrapping his "One Last Time" farewell tour in 2016, he's still performing, happily. As for what keeps him going? "Well, I don't like sitting around watching television," says Manilow, who married his longtime manager and partner Garry Kief in 2014. "I mean, I'm just one of the lucky guys that always has something. I've got two albums that I'm working on, then Radio City, and it just goes on and on and on. I think by keeping working, you stay young, or at least you stay vibrant and your brain is always working. And that's me — I've always got something going on."

Indeed, and the Grammy and Emmy winner's catalog keeps him onstage for his fans. "You would think I'd be bored with this stuff, and I'm not, because the audiences just love these songs, and I'm so grateful for it," Manilow says.

The expert arranger considers all of his songs his "children," but there are two that, looking back, he is particularly proud of. "I do love 'Could it Be Magic' because that was on the very first album," Manilow says. "I was so young. When I look back, I say, 'How did you have the guts to do something like that?' A song, based on a Chopin prelude, that's eight minutes long... I didn't know anything about pop music. If you want to get it on the radio, you can't get it any more than two-and-a-half or three minutes. Mine was eight. But some radio stations around the country started playing the eight-minute version of 'Could it be Magic,' and the record company edited it down, ruined it. But they did play it!"

And "Copacabana" also holds a special place in Manilow's heart. "It was such a surprise that it would be a hit. Even Clive Davis said, 'That's a novelty cut. That belongs on the Sonny & Cher variety show,'" he recalls. "So none of us had any ideas that that would be such a beloved song. And so when people mentioned my name and the younger people, they don't know 'I Write the Songs' or 'Mandy' or any of the other ones. But when you say 'Copacabana,' they're like, 'Oh yeah. I've always loved that one.'"

And that, Manilow says, is the legacy he hopes to leave behind: "I would hope that I made you feel something."

April 28, 2023 Broadway Direct"Barry Manilow’s Musical Harmony to Open on Broadway This Fall" by Paul Art Smith
Harmony, the new musical which features a score by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, will open on Broadway this fall at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Performances of Harmony will begin October 18, 2023, with an official opening set for November 13, 2023. Casting will be announced at a later date. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, Harmony comes to Broadway following a sold-out award-winning run last spring at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Collaborators Manilow and Sussman said, “Broadway is where we always dreamed we would be. Dreams really do come true!” Warren Carlyle added, “I’m so thrilled that we are bringing the amazing, true story of Harmony to Broadway. It’s a great honor and privilege to both direct and choreograph such an important story.”

Based on the unbelievable true story, Harmony tells the tale of the most successful entertainers you’ve never heard of…until now. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom. What happened next is the story of Harmony.

April 28, 2023 TheaterMania"Barry Manilow’s Harmony Will Have Long-Awaited Broadway Premiere This Fall: The musical features a Manilow score and book and lyrics by writing partner Bruce Sussman" by David Gordon
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s long-aborning musical Harmony will make its Broadway debut this fall, beginning performances October 18 at the Barrymore Theatre in advance of a November 13 opening. Warren Carlyle will direct and choreograph.

Harmony is the story of a little-known German performance group, the Comedian Harmonists, and their rise to become one of Europe’s most successful bands, and their fall at the hands of the Nazis in the World War II era.

The musical has had a very long life, originally debuting in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse. A 2003 Broadway transfer was scheduled, but bad producing scuttled those plans. It was resurrected in a decade later at the Alliance Theatre in Georgia and the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, before again laying dormant. This production originated at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2022, produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

Leading the company will be Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey as the sextet of Harmonists, reprising roles they originated at the Museum. Complete casting is still to be announced.

April 28, 2023 NY Jewish Week"Barry Manilow’s ‘Harmony,’ musical about troupe with Jewish members in Nazi Germany, is headed to Broadway" by Jacob Henry
Barry Manilow’s “Harmony,” a musical about a real-life performing troupe of Jews and gentiles who combined close harmonies and stage antics in Germany during the 1920s and ’30s, is headed to Broadway. The musical, for which Manilow wrote the songs and his longtime partner, Bruce Sussman, wrote the lyrics, has endured a 25-year journey to the Great White Way. “Harmony” was first staged in 1997, at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse, and in April 2022, it made its New York debut in a National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “We’re doing what we’ve wanted to do forever, which is bring ‘Harmony’ to New York,” Manilow told the New York Jewish Week at the time.

The play centers around the German group the Comedian Harmonists, whose tight harmonies and humorous approach became an international sensation in the 1920s. But trouble started as the Nazis rose to power; in 1934, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time, the group was prohibited from giving concerts because two members of the group were Jewish. In an interview with the New York Jewish Week last year, Brooklyn native Manilow alluded to his hopes for a Broadway run for the show. “Whether we make it uptown or it ends at the Yiddish theater, I will be very happy,” Manilow said. “It would be so wonderful if we could move this uptown.”

The musical comes during a moment of seemingly increased interest in Jewish plays on Broadway. It’s also a time in which antisemitic hate is on the rise nationwide. In February, a group of neo-Nazi agitators harassed theatergoers outside “Parade,” the musical about an infamous antisemitic incident starring Ben Platt. “It is sadly more resonant,” Sussman told The New York Times of the musical, “with the rise of not only antisemitism but of autocrats around the world.”

The production is scheduled to start previews on Oct. 18 and to open on Nov. 13 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Warren Carlyle, the director and choreographer of the Folksbiene production of “Harmony” will return, though the cast has not yet been announced.

April 28, 2023 Deadline"Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman Musical ‘Harmony’ Sets Broadway Fall Opening" by Greg Evans
Harmony, the Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman musical that played a sold-out run at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene last spring, will move to Broadway this fall, producers announced today. The production will begin previews at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

Harmony chronicles the real-life story of The Comedian Harmonists, who sold millions of records in the 1920s and ’30s, made dozens of films, and sold out major venues around the world. The official synopsis “Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom. What happened next is the story of Harmony.”

The musical features an original new score by Manilow with lyrics and book by Sussman. Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello, Dolly!) is the director and choreographer, with Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief producing. “Broadway is where we always dreamed we would be,” said Manilow and Sussman in a joint statement, “Dreams really do come true.” Said Carlyle, “I’m so thrilled that we are bringing the amazing, true story of Harmony to Broadway. It’s a great honor and privilege to both direct and choreograph such an important story.”

Joining the producing team are Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D’Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner, and Neil Gooding Productions. Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment.

April 28, 2023 New York Theatre Guide"Barry Manilow musical 'Harmony' to come to Broadway in the fall: The musical, which premiered off Broadway last spring at the Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, will play the Barrymore Theatre in October" by Gillian Russo
Everything is coming together in harmony! After more than 25 years of development, the Drama Desk Award-winning musical Harmony will debut on Broadway this fall, featuring music by Barry Manilow and a book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman. Performances begin October 18 at the Barrymore Theatre, with opening night on November 13. Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a German singing/comedy group who hit their heyday in the 1920s and '30s — but their inclusion of Jewish members rocked the six men's lives and careers when World War II advanced.

The musical's world premiere was in 1997 in La Jolla, California, and a 2003 Philadelphia run followed. A planned Broadway transfer after that fell through, and Harmony didn't appear again until 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Manilow and Sussman continued to refine the show, and it finally made its New York debut in 2022 at the Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. A four-star New York Theatre Guide review of that production reads, "The humorous moments don't feel inappropriate amid heavy threads of anti-Semitism and loss, and these threads are sufficiently explored without plunging the audience into unrelenting despair. With minor exceptions, Harmony hits all the right notes."

The cast of the Off-Broadway production included Steven Telsey as Lesh, Danny Kornfeld as Rabbi, Eric Peters as Eric, Blake Roman as Chopin, Sean Bell as Bobby, Zal Owen as Harry, Chip Zien as an older Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, and Jessie Davidson as Ruth. Casting for the Broadway production has yet to be announced. Warren Carlyle, the Tony Award-nominated choreographer of last season's The Music Man revival, returns to direct and choreograph.

Manilow is a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter with a decades-long music career. He's previously played multiple concerts on Broadway, earning a special Tony Award for his work, and his music appeared in the Broadway musical Disaster! Bookwriter and lyricist Sussman previously collaborated with Manilow on the musical comedy The Madwoman of Central Park West and multiple of Manilow's Broadway concerts. He won a Drama Desk Award in 2022 for his book for Harmony. Additionally, Harmony also earned eight 2022-2023 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, and two 2022-2023 Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

April 28, 2023 Playbill"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Sets Broadway Bow: Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the musical about the Comedian Harmonists played an Off-Broadway engagement in 2022" by Logan Culwell-Block
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony will make its Broadway bow in the 2023-2024 season, beginning performances October 18 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Opening night is November 13.

Warren Carlyle is back to direct and choreograph, after staging the work's New York premiere Off-Broadway at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in 2022. Casting and creative team are to be announced.

The musical—featuring music by Manilow and lyrics and a book by Sussman—tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. The work is partially based on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada.

Say Manilow and Sussman in a joint statement, “Broadway is where we always dreamed we would be. Dreams really do come true!”

The musical has had a long road to Broadway. A world premiere staging played California's La Jolla Playhouse in 1997, then directed by David Warren. A pre-Broadway tryout was announced for Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre in 2003, only to be canceled due to financial woes. The musical reemerged in a 2013 co-production at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, with Tony Speciale directing. The California run won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. The Broadway bow is a transfer of the musical's 2022 Off-Broadway run at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which Carlyle also directed and choreographed. The Off-Broadway staging was nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards.

An Off-Broadway cast album was recorded but has not yet been released. Manilow recorded songs from the score for his 2004 album Scores: Songs From Copacabana and Harmony.

The Broadway run will be produced by Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief, along with Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D’Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner, and Neil Gooding Productions. Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment.

Visit HarmonyANewMusical.com.

April 28, 2023 New York Daily News"Barry Manilow musical 'Harmony' to hit Broadway in fall" by Muri Assunção and Tim Balk
“Harmony,” Barry Manilow’s musical about a German singing group with Jewish membership crushed by the Nazis, is due to reach Broadway this fall after more than two decades of development, producers said Friday. The musical, which enjoyed a sold-out run at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene last spring, will begin previews at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Oct. 18, the production said. Opening night is scheduled for Nov. 13.

“Harmony” debuted in 1997 at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and has been reworked and tweaked over the years. But Manilow has always wanted to take the show to New York. “We’ve had four productions of ‘Harmony,’ and each one of them was better than the last,” Manilow told the Daily News. “We couldn’t get it to New York. We just kept hitting brick walls.”

But the resistance fell when the musical reached lower Manhattan’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, where it received warm reviews, paving its path to Broadway. “This time there was no brick wall,” Manilow said.

The show tells the story of the Comedian Harmonists. Comprised of six real-life German men, three of them Jewish, the popular group was deemed “degenerate” by the noxious Nazi regime. The Nazis destroyed their records and tried — unsuccessfully — to erase them from history. The musical features songs by Manilow with a book and lyrics by longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. The story follows the Comedian Harmonists as they rise from Berlin’s subways to become stars, only to be unraveled by antisemitism.

The Brooklyn-born Manilow, 79, continues to tour. He popularized songs including “Mandy,” “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “Can’t Smile Without You.”

Manilow and Sussman, a 73-year-old lyricist, are both of Jewish descent. Sussman said last year that the musical tracks the efforts of six men on a “quest for harmony in what turned out to be the most discordant chapter in human history.” “All I know is that these six extraordinary human beings should be remembered,” Sussman said. “And Barry and I are committed to doing whatever we can to make that happen.”

April 27, 2023 Press Release
[SOURCE: The Manilow Music Project]
Barry Manilow Announces Music Teacher Award to Coincide with his New York City Concerts
BARRY MANILOW ANNOUNCES MUSIC TEACHER AWARD TO COINCIDE WITH HIS NEW YORK CITY CONCERTS

'MANILOW' COMING TO RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL MAY 31ST – JUNE 4TH

Winner to Receive VIP Experience to Show Including Tickets and Back Stage Award Presentation with Barry Manilow

Tickets On Sale now at Ticketmaster.com

NEW YORK, April 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Music icon Barry Manilow announced today that his Manilow Music Project would once again award a deserving music teacher, this time in each of the five boroughs in his hometown of New York City City this summer. The Grammy®, Emmy®, and TONY Award® winner previously announced a 5-night concert series at Radio City Music Hall from May 31st to June 4th.

The winning teacher will receive a $5,000 cash award and another $10,000 in "Manilow Bucks" to purchase musical instruments for their school's music program. "It is wonderful to identify schools and music teachers in my hometown of New York City that deserve this small token of my gratitude," said Manilow. "Many school music programs have either been terminated or their funds have been severely depleted. I always wanted to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools, especially in New York City, from which I benefited."

Radio City Music Hall assisted The Manilow Music Project in identifying candidates. During each concert, one top-vote recipient from a school representing their borough will be presented their award by Barry Manilow backstage at Radio City Music Hall. The nominees are as follows:

  • Brooklyn: Jeffrey Ball, East Williamsburg Scholars Academy; Kristy Jung, Brooklyn Arts High School; Kelly Martin, Boys, and Girls High School; Melissa Morris, James Madison High School; Chris Ryan, George Westinghouse High School. The prize will be presented on May 31st.
  • Staten Island: Laurie Damico, Tottenville High School; Robert Rams, Staten Island Technical High School; Mark Nigido, New Dorp High School. The prize will be presented on June 1st.
  • The Bronx: Michael Santoro, Fordham High School for the Arts; Matthew Harrison, Harry S. Truman High School; Maria Taylor, Bronx Health Sciences High School; David West, Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music. The prize will be presented on June 2nd.
  • Queens: Terry Clarkson Farrell, The Baccalaureate School for Global Education; Katherine Stock, P721 - John F. Kennedy, Jr. School; Sara Shikowitz, Stephen A. Halsey 157. The prize will be presented on June 3rd.
  • Manhattan: Paul Sandberg, School of the Future; Laurel Stinson, HSLA Manhattan; Jeremy Rothschild, Pace High School. The prize will be presented on June 4th.

The Manilow Music Project is pleased to open voting on April 26th at 9 AM Eastern to anyone who has ever been moved by the power of music to vote for their favorite music teacher, and voting will close on May 16th at 11:59 PM Eastern. The winners will be announced on May 22nd at 9 AM Eastern. The Manilow Music Project, to date, has given away over ten million dollars worth of funds and music instrument donations.

VOTING LINK: https://on.barrymanilow.com/trk/nyc

MORE: Barry Manilow's unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, and producing. A 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, Manilow has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received a Grammy®, Emmy®, and a TONY Award® and has been nominated for an Academy Award®. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time bestselling recording artists. He's had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits, and is ranked the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

April 2, 2023 NJ.com"Barry Manilow tour 2023: Dates, schedule, ticket info" by Nicole Iuzzolino
Barry Manilow is returning to Radio City Music Hall this summer. Manilow will hit the live stage for five nights in a row from May 31-June 4. The concerts will mark the singer’s 39th lifetime performances at Radio City and first since 2012.

If you want to hear Manilow’s hits, like “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs,” here’s everything you need to know. Tickets to see Barry Manilow in concert are on sale through all major websites, including StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster, MegaSeats, TicketNetwork and TicketCity.

March 29, 2023 New York Post"Barry Manilow is coming to NYC. Here’s how to get tickets today!" by Matt Levy
Forget the Copacabana. From May 31 through June 4, Barry Manilow won't be at the Copa because he’s coming to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for five big shows. The 79-year-old singer has performed at the venue 34 times over the course of his legendary career; this upcoming mini-residency will be his first gigs at Radio City since 2012. And if you need tickets to see the Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner live this spring, you can scoop them up as early as today.

Although inventory isn’t available on Ticketmaster until Friday, March 31 fans who want to ensure they have tickets ahead of time can purchase on sites like Vivid Seats before tickets are officially on sale. Vivid Seats is a secondary market ticketing platform, and prices may be higher or lower than face value, depending on demand. They have a 100% buyer guarantee that states your transaction will be safe and secure and will be delivered before the event.

A complete calendar of Manilow’s five Radio City Music Hall dates including show start times and links to buy tickets can be found below.

Barry Manilow 2023 tour dates:
Wednesday, May 31 at 8 p.m.
Thursday, June 1 at 8 p.m.
Friday, June 2 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 8 p.m.

A complete calendar including all of Manilow’s residency dates at Las Vegas’ Westgate Casino and Resort can be found here.

With so many hits over the course of his seven-decade career (!), fans are probably left wondering which tracks make the final cut for Manilow. Although we can’t confirm what he’ll play when he comes to Radio City, here’s a typical set list from Manilow based on recent shows courtesy of Set List FM: (01) “It’s a Miracle”, (02) “Daybreak”, (03) “Looks Like We Made It”, (04) “Can’t Smile Without You”, (05) “This One’s for You”, (06) “New York City Rhythm”, (07) “Even Now”, (08) “The Old Songs / Ready to Take a Chance Again / Jump Shout Boogie”, (09) “Weekend in New England” (Randy Edelman cover), (10) “Dancin’ in the Aisles / Dancin’ in the Street”, (11) “Let’s Hang On!” (The Four Seasons cover), (12) “All the Time”, (13) “Could It Be Magic”, (14) “I Made It Through the Rain”, (15) “Mandy / Could It Be Magic”, (16) “I Write the Songs” (Bruce Johnston cover), (17) “Copacabana (at the Copa) / It’s a Miracle (Reprise) / I Write the Songs (Reprise)”

March 27, 2023 New Jersey StageBarry Manilow to Perform 5 Shows at Radio City Music Hall
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG Entertainment) and The Bowery Presents announced that Barry Manilow will perform five consecutive nights at Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, May 31; Thursday, June 1; Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, at 8:00pm each night. These shows will mark Barry Manilow's 35th - 39th lifetime performances at Radio City Music Hall, and his first time returning to the legendary venue since 2012.

Tickets for all five shows will go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 31 at 10:00am via Ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available in person beginning on Saturday, April 1 at the Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre box offices.

Barry Manilow - a GRAMMY, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning music icon whose success is a benchmark in popular music will perform an array of his hit songs, including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can't Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. The multi-award-winning musician has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 number one hits and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the number one Adult Contemporary artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 6th Avenue in New York, NY.

March 27, 2023 Pollstar"Barry Manilow Announces Radio City Music Hall Run" by Sarah Pittman
Barry Manilow is set to return to one of his favorite venues in late May. No, we’re not talking about the Copacabana but rather, Radio City Music Hall. The Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-winning singer has announced five consecutive nights at the famed venue, with tickets on sale this week.

The concerts are scheduled May 31 and June 1-4 at 8 p.m. each evening – marking Manilow’s 35th through 39th performances at Radio City Music Hall and his first time playing the venue since 2012. The setlist for the shows will feature an assortment of his hit songs such as “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

Manilow has plenty of tunes to pick from, thanks to an incredible 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 number one hits and 27 Top 10 hits. During his remarkable career Manilow has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide.

Fan club tickets are on sale now, with the general public onsale beginning Friday, March 31 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available in person beginning on Saturday, April 1 at the Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre box offices.

Along with the new Radio City Music Hall shows, Manilow’s schedule is packed with residency dates at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas now through December. Box office reports submitted to Pollstar for Manilow include a Jan. 21 show at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, that sold 8,714 tickets and grossed [$861,490].

When Where Articles/Reviews
January 19, 2023 News Channel 5 Nashville"Nolensville High School band director honored with music teacher award from Barry Manilow" by Brianna Hamblin
Ahead of Barry Manilow's Bridgestone Arena performance this weekend, he is taking time to recognize a local music teacher. Nolensville High School Director of Bands Benjamin Easley won the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award. With it, he will [receive] $5,000 cash and another $5,000 in "Manilow Bucks" to support the school band. Easley said the money will go toward getting some new instruments for his students. "I just think it's really neat that his career has not just been a selfishly motivated, inwardly focused thing. That it's actually going to affect generations because of the way they choose to support music specifically in the public schools," said Easley. Easley said he is so grateful to both Manilow and the support from the Nolensville community.

Manilow has been awarding music teachers across the country in different cities as he goes on tour. Easley won it for the Nashville area. He has been with the school since it opened in 2016 and was able to build the band from scratch, going from only 23 members to about 160 over the last seven years. He said he grew up listening to Manilow with his parents. "I grew up with music educator parents. My dad was my band director and my mom was a concert pianist. I grew up on that whole era of Barry Manilow and the Dewey Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, and James Taylor. There's dusty old VHS's somewhere at 5 years old belting out [his] stuff..." Now he and some of his family are excited to meet Manilow backstage at his show on Friday night.

The Manilow Music Project has given out more than $10 million worth to music programs in schools across the country.

January 19, 2023 WTOC-11"Meeting Manilow: Savannah band teacher talks about big night, big award from music icon: Reginald Mitchell was awarded $10,000 for his band program at Savannah High" by Sam Bauman
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - At Savannah High you don’t have to look far to find people who haven’t been impacted by Reginald Mitchell. “He has done everything for us, outside and inside of school. He’s been a great mentor to all of us,” said senior Keshawn Dickson. “Every time I had a problem, I could always go to him. Talk about problems at home and everything,” added fellow senior Vanessa Gutierrez. “He’s an unsung hero. He doesn’t ask for much. He just does it for the love of Blue Jacket Nation and our scholars,” said Savannah High principal, Gequetta Jenkins.

And there’s no doubt Mr. Mitchell loves his students, which means sometimes utilizing some tough love. “Oh, he gets on my nerves sometimes, but I love Mr. Mitchell,” laughed senior Saniyyah Singleton. “He can be hard and tough sometimes, but I know he’s just pushing us to be better people,” senior Kaliah Orr says. “He’s strict because he knows we can do better. He just wants the best for us,” finished Singleton. Pushing them, like he too, once was pushed. “Savannah High saved me. The band saved me,” said Reginald Mitchell.

While Mr. Mitchell would much prefer his students get the attention, when Dr. Jenkins heard Barry Manilow was coming to town, she didn’t hesitate. “It was an opportunity to spotlight him.” Putting him in the running to win $10,000 for the band program from the Manilow Music Project. “I looked at him and he was all surprised, and I said, ‘why are you surprised? You’re amazing!’” Dr. Jenkins recalled. When he won it wasn’t a surprise to anyone but him. “He said, ‘hey doc I won.’ I said, ‘I know, I knew you were going to win,’ because he’s just that phenomenal and we’re grateful to have him at Savannah High,” said Dr. Jenkins.

When Reginald went to pick up the check he was in for yet another surprise. “When he walked in the room, I’m like, ‘that’s Barry Manilow. Am I really meeting Barry Manilow.’” A man he respects for more than just his musical talent. “You have a lot of musicians, a lot of artists who say, ‘support arts, support arts.’ And I can say he actually put it into work to support the arts.”

While the fanfare, including a shoutout during the concert was unbelievable, what this award really means for Mr. Mitchell is a chance to get more instruments which means a chance make a difference in more kids’ lives. “A lot of kids their parents just don’t have it. So, my thing is if I can help take that kid off the street and put him in this band room and do something positive, graduate, go into the military, workforce or college, then I’m doing my job.” So, sure the attention is nice, but for Mr. Mitchell, even award with his name on it isn’t about him. “This award is just not my award, this is an award for Savannah High School, Blue Jacket Nation.”

For more information about the Manilow Music Project, click here.

January 18, 2023 Fox 35 Orlando"Central Florida music teacher receives Manilow Music Project award from iconic singer" by Valerie Boey
ORLANDO, Fla. - The legendary Barry Manilow was in Orlando on Tuesday night, performing at the Amway Center and giving an award to a local teacher. The music icon sings about a miracle on stage, and off-stage he has created one right here in Central Florida. Lake Howell High music teacher Jose Eslava was the winner of the Manilow Music Project, receiving $5,000 for himself and $5,000 for a school instrument. We caught up with him before the concert during his music class. "We are in need of a tuba. I have six tuba players, but only five functional tubas."

"All around the country, they’re running out of instruments in music and art classes because of budget cuts," Manilow told FOX 35. "These kids are playing musical instruments that are old and broken down. So when I heard that 15 years ago I thought, I gotta do something."

That’s why this famous singer created The Manilow Music Project, a non-profit organization that provides instruments to students. Now he’s doing something for Central Florida music students. Eslava plans to buy a new tuba for his classroom. "Jose is one of the people that continue to teach music to children," Manilow said, "and it’s so important because music will change a young person’s life."

"Overwhelming, wonderful, a magical experience," was how Eslava described Tuesday's night show. He said musical performances can change a student’s life forever, and that’s why this award is so important. "You get all these students who come from different talent levels, different backgrounds, different lifestyles, and you come together to do this one magical thing."

Manilow said within a month of class, he has seen a student turn into a musician. For more information, visit The Manilow Music Project website.

January 18, 2023 WJCL 22 ABC"Musician Barry Manilow presents a special surprise to Savannah educator: Music legend presents local band director award and $10K prize" by Olivia Wile
Grammy award-winning music legend Barry Manilow brought his winter tour to Savannah, and with it, The Manilow Music Project — an award that goes to an exemplary local music teacher with a generous prize attached to it: $5,000 cash for the winner, and $5,000 "Manilow Bucks,” to be used to purchase musical instruments for their school. Plus, VIP tickets to the show and a backstage meet-and-greet with the music icon himself. Barry Manilow tells us, "All the schools are running out of instruments because they are running out of money. The government doesn’t give them money for music and arts. That’s the first thing to go. And when I heard that, I thought I got to do something."

When a Savannah High principal heard about the award, she was quick to nominate the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High, Reggie Mitchell. After receiving the most votes from around the area, Mitchell was shocked to have learned he had won. Reggie Mitchell described it to us, "I was just like, Wow. So, I’m very humbled to receive this award."

Mitchell, a Savannah native, has been sharing his love of music at his alma mater for almost 23 years. Growing the band from 7 students when he started to over 80 who are now in the program. Reggie Mitchell goes on to say, "Help the kids stay off the street and also do something positive in their lives." And he already knows what he’ll use his portion of the generous prize for. Reggie Mitchell explains, "The kids' portion, of course, I have to give them instruments. Now with my portions, I’m going to take a trip out of the country. I need a trip, I need a vacation." And with amazing and encouraging teachers like you, Mr. Mitchell, we’ll be able to ensure the merriment of music beats on.

January 18, 2023 Orlando Sentinel"In Orlando, Barry Manilow marks 50 years of hits: Review" by Matthew J. Palm
He writes the songs that make the whole world sing, and Tuesday night in Orlando’s Amway Center, Barry Manilow showed that’s still the case. “Disney World is down the block but tonight, this is the happiest place on earth,” he greeted the crowd during a stop in his “Hits 2023″ mini-tour of just seven cities. With a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step, Manilow celebrated 50 years of hitmaking — his first record was released in 1973 — during a 90-minute concert that never flagged.

Nearly 80 — his birthday is in June — Manilow could be expected to come across as some pontificating elder statesman of pop (Barry Manilow is known for "I Write the Songs," "Mandy," "Copacabana" and many other pop classics). But he doesn’t. That’s just not his style. Instead, he appears to be just as he is: Happy to share his music, grateful for his success and in slight disbelief that the youngsters today are making up TikTok dances to his songs. He’s often accused of being schmaltzy — the “sultan of schmaltz” proclaims a Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald headline, while London’s The Guardian goes for “titan of schmaltz” — but is it really schmaltz if it’s sincere?

Manilow’s tale of his grandfather’s encouragement, culminating in a moving performance of “This One’s for You,” touched the heart. And he’s well aware of his rep. “I must have a ballad somewhere,” he cracked at one point. “Weekend in New England” was delivered simply and effectively, emphasizing what makes Manilow’s songs both of their time and yet strangely timeless. He creates a sense of drama in the lyrics and orchestrations so that each song feels like an emotional journey.

Of course, the most obviously dramatic is “Copacabana,” which was given a fun finale with the requisite gaudy costumes. Other up-tempo numbers also offered enjoyment: a swirling mix of “Could It Be Magic” evoked the disco age while “Jump Shout Boogie” offered kicky 1940s flair. He turned “Can’t Smile Without You” and “I Write the Songs” into singalongs. The sound mix improved as the show went on, with the 10-piece band and three backing singers adding to the show’s vitality. Of course, Manilow couldn’t help but show his age occasionally. “Have you noticed the lack of melody on the radio today?” he asked the appreciative audience, though to be fair, he praised today’s “good music” for its use of rhythm.

And he knows his audience; in fact, his rapport with the crowd is part of what makes him such an enduring showman. He still has an ongoing residency at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, owned by Central Floridians David and Jackie Siegel. “Ever hear of TikTok?” he queried Tuesday night before performing the upbeat “Dancing in the Aisles,” a newer song that has inspired youngsters to create their own choreography seen in videos they post on the social-media platform. He featured those videos on his own big screen, which also occasionally flashed album covers from days gone by — including an image of him with the quintessential 1970s feathered hair. “Really? Really?” he exclaimed. “Take that down!” The walk down memory lane culminated neatly in a video of an early performance of “Mandy,” segueing sweetly into his crowd-pleasing live rendition.

Lake Howell High School director of bands José Eslava was recognized as the winner of a contest run by Manilow Music Foundation to promote music education. Eslava won $5,000, and an additional $5,000 was donated to the school for instrument purchases.

Opener Gordie Brown had a tough row to hoe, with an audience eager for the main event. The Las Vegas impressionist-comedian pulled out a lot of voices — he imitates everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Willie Nelson to Louis Armstrong to country singer Josh Turner in rapid succession — but his goofy, scattershot set was a mere distraction until Manilow took the stage.

It has been 30 years since the last time I saw Manilow in concert; I was a college student and took a date to his show. I remember a romantic walk back to campus in the rain, and I remember being impressed with how well Manilow connected with the audience and how well his smartly crafted pop held up. Times change, but some things do not. Manilow’s still got it.

January 18, 2023 The New York Pops40th Birthday Gala on Monday, May 1
Exciting announcement! Our 40th Birthday Gala on Monday, May 1 will honor Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter Barry Manilow! New York Pops donors of $100 or more receive early access to our 40th Birthday Gala. Make a contribution to be eligible for this exclusive offer: https://bit.ly/SupportTNYP. Tickets go on sale to the general public on February 1, 2023 at 11:00 AM. Questions? Email development@nypops.org or call (212) 765-7677 for more information.
January 17, 2023 GPB/PBS"North Atlanta HS band teacher wins Manilow Music Award" by Logan Ritchie
North Atlanta High School music programs director Adam Brooks will be honored with the Manilow Music Project Award by the Grammy-award-winning legend Barry Manilow at the Jan. 19 concert as his wife, kids, friends and colleagues look on.  The prize is $5,000 in cash and $5,000 “Manilow bucks” for the NAHS music program. The Manilow Music Project has given away over $10 million worth of funds and music instrument donations.

Brooks, 42, said he plans to buy a new speaker system for the band room and a keyboard for the jazz band, which performs seven to 10 times a year. “I’m very fortunate to have such a great community to serve. From the kids, parents and administration and colleagues, this amazing place to work,” said Brooks. NAHS is the largest high school in Atlanta Public Schools with 2,400 students.

In his 18th year with APS, Brooks spends his days teaching 120 music students. The program boasts a marching band, three levels of concert band (beginner, intermediate and advanced), two jazz bands, ensembles, percussion and music technology. Fall semester was busy with travel. NAHS band visited Western Carolina University, spending the day with a world renowned band and learning a pre-game show, and a traditional marching band competition in Raleigh, N.C.  “We came home with the title of grand champion with first place in every category, so that was a very cool trip,” Brooks said.

Travel continues when NAHS jazz band is hitting the road to attend Essentially Ellington in Nashville, Tenn., spearheaded by Wynton Marsalis, a nine-time Grammy award winning trumpeter, composer and educator. NAHS band members will be playing in the pit orchestra for the spring musical, Legally Blonde. In prior years, the band accompanied the drama department in Footloose, Chicago and West Side Story. “We have a dynamic arts department here, so getting ready for the musical is always a big to-do,” said Brooks.

A horn and percussion player, Brooks grew up in Virginia Beach, Va. Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree from Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and a masters degree from Reinhardt College in Atlanta. As a college student, Brooks’ marching band traveled to Atlanta to appear in the movie Drumline. He connected with Atlanta-area band directors who gave him an opportunity at APS. It’s all been a wonderful journey, he said.

Manilow is partnering with concert venues across the country to identify schools and music teachers who deserve a token of gratitude, Manilow said about his tour. The concert is at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19 at State Farm Arena.

January 17, 2023 WSAV-TV"Barry Manilow presents local Savannah teacher with $10K award" by Hollie Lewis
SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow, who is recognized for his hit recordings like Mandy (1974) and Copacabana (1978), made Savannah the hottest spot, more than Havana, this week during his Manilow Hits 2023 concert. During the concert, Manilow recognized Reggie Mitchell, the Savannah High School fine arts department chair and director of bands with the Manilow Music Teacher Award.

The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes an outstanding music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. Award recipients receive a total of $10,000 with $5,000 of it being a cash prize and the other $5,000 in Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for their classroom. In addition, Mitchell received 10 complimentary tickets for Manilow’s performance with a backstage meet and greet.

This year, SCCPSS had four teachers nominated for the award: Emily Graham of Islands High School; Chloe Washington of Windsor Forest High School; Lashon Leggett of Herschel V. Jenkins High School; and Mitchell. After all the votes were tallied, Reginald Mitchell was selected for special recognition by legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow.

January 16, 2023 Creative Loafing Tampa Bay"An ageless Barry Manilow plays Tampa's Amalie Arena" by Ray Roa
History says Barry Manilow is 79 years old. Don't tell that to ageless iconic American songwriter though. Mr. "Copacabana" was in Tampa last Saturday night for a hit filled show that was preceded by the pop star naming local teacher Christopher Allen as a "The Manilow Music Project" winner. The win brings $5,000, plus another $5,000 in "Manilow bucks" to help Allen purchase instruments for Newsome High School. (PHOTOS)
January 16, 2023 Click on Orlando"Seminole County music teacher surprised with Barry Manilow award: Band director José Eslava will receive award at Barry Manilow’s upcoming concert in Orlando" by Carolina Cardona
José Eslava was 10 years old when he discovered a passion for the flute. “My family is from Colombia, and they would always play traditional Colombian music and the three instruments that really stuck out to me growing up were flute, trumpet, guitar,” Eslava said. Eslava recalled when he first tried out for the trumpet, he didn’t quite get it to play. “When I did the trials for beginning band, I could not get the sound of the trumpet,” he said. On the other hand, the flute came naturally to him.

Twenty-six years later, Eslava is the band director for his alma mater, Lake Howell High School in Seminole County. Eslava said, “I just want to make sure that I give back what he gave me, an opportunity to perform and do what I love,” speaking about his high school music teacher and mentor who influenced his career path. “Mr. Todd Leighton. He was always very supportive and anytime I had a goal or a vision, he helped make sure that I succeeded with that goal or vision.”

Eslava’s dedication and leadership is being recognized in the music industry. The 36-year-old was recently named winner of the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award, a recognition he’ll receive from the music icon himself at Barry Manilow’s upcoming concert in Orlando. “I’ve been envisioning this big surreal adrenaline rush,” he said, “This award is not just about me as a teacher, it’s about the community, it’s about the students. It’s more than just one person, it’s about the whole team.”

Since being named band director in 2014, the high school has brought home numerous awards with ensembles that include marching band, color guard, brass choir, and wind ensemble. “The program has been very successful recently. In marching band, five of the seven shows that I’ve put together have been state finalists,” he said. Most importantly, it’s the personal reward he says he cherishes the most. “Band is so much more than just performing and playing notes on an instrument. It’s life lessons, its dedication, it’s teamwork, leadership, friendships,” he said.

Eslava said he hopes his music students will see the bigger picture and remember him for his encouragement. “I want them to think that I’m the person they can always count on. That I’m the person that pushed them to their limits to make them more successful in the future,” he said. “No matter what career you’re in, I want you to be the best in that field. I want you take all the hard work you learned here and place it in whatever career you wrote go in.”

As for what the future holds, Eslava proudly said, he isn’t going anywhere else. “I want to retire here. I want to make this my forever career, my end goal,” he said. “This is home to me, and I would never trade it for the world.” Eslava will receive a $5,000 cash reward and another 5,000 “Manilow bucks” to purchase musical instruments, which Lake Howell High School said they’re in need of.

January 15, 2023 Patch.com"The Manilow Music Teacher Award" by Danielle Fallon-O'Leary
Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Bands at Savannah High School Reggie Mitchell received a big award on Sunday. Mitchell was recognized with The Manilow Music Teacher Award – recognition for the hard work and dedication he has to bringing music to his students' lives. Mitchell said, "Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day."
January 15, 2023 Savannah Now"Barry Manilow to award Savannah High band director with $5,000 scholarship for music program" by Laura Nwogu
Iconic singer-songwriter Barry Manilow is rocking into Savannah on Sunday, but not before awarding Reggie Mitchell, the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High School, with The Manilow Music Teacher Award. The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes a deserving local music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. When Mitchell first heard he’d been nominated by Savannah High principal Gequetta Jenkins, he was shocked. “She was saying that with the work that you put in, the time that you put in, you are more than a worthy recipient for this prestigious award,” Mitchell recalled when Jenkins announced his nomination at the school’s winter recital. “She’s been in my corner since day one in helping me build this program.”

From being inspired to join the band by a Savannah middle school director to studying music education at Savannah State University by the urging of his high school and college director, Mitchell is now going on 23 years of bringing the same joy to his students. “I’m humbled to be nominated as one of the top educators, but even more so, winning this award is humbling. Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day.” The teacher with the most public votes in each city of Manilow’s tour will receive $10,000 — a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for their classroom.

When Mitchell was first hired as the band director at Savannah High, he started with seven kids. That number has now increased to 91 students in the program, and he said the money is a need that will greatly help further the music education of his students. “Us being an inner city school, we have kids who cannot afford instruments and things of that nature. By having extra instruments on hand, I will be able to put an instrument in a scholar's hand versus turning a scholar away because I don’t have an instrument for them. This will make a big difference.”

As the winner, Mitchell was invited to the upcoming Barry Manilow concert and will be presented with the award in a special backstage meet and greet. “I'm thankful for my principal for the nomination … my support system as far as my mother, my aunts, my uncles and my mentors here in Savannah as well as in Jacksonville, Florida, who have supported me along my journey and pushed me to do the things that I do to become the educator that I am. It takes a village to become successful educators.”

January 15, 2023 Fox 13 Memphis"Barry Manilow awarding Georgia high school band director $5K for music program" by Bob D'Angelo
For a Georgia high school band director, this one’s for you. Grammy Award-winning singer Barry Manilow will award Reggie Mitchell, the fine arts department chair and director of bands at Savannah High School, with The Manilow Music Teacher Award on Sunday, the Savannah Morning News reported. Manilow, 79, who was nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and won in 1978 for “Copacabana (At the Copa),” awards a music teacher at every stop of his arena tour. The veteran singer appears Sunday night in Savannah.

According to Manilow’s website, The Manilow Music Teacher Award recognizes a deserving local music teacher who helps to bring music to life for his or her students. Mitchell will receive the award from Manilow during a meet-and-greet session at Sunday’s concert at Enmark Arena, the Morning News reported. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, Manilow said in a statement. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”

Mitchell, whose nomination was announced by Savannah High School Principal Gequetta Jenkins during the school’s winter recital, said he was shocked to learn he was in contention. “She was saying that with the work that you put in, the time that you put in, you are more than a worthy recipient for this prestigious award,” Mitchell told the Morning News. “I’m humbled to be nominated as one of the top educators, but even more so, winning this award is humbling. Like I told my students, this award is nothing without the hard work and dedication of my staff, as well as the kids because the kids are the ones who actually put the work in and make my job easy each and every day.” Mitchell will receive $10,000 -- a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit that can be used to purchase instruments for his classroom, according to the newspaper.

With 91 students in his music program, Mitchell said the award and cash prize are appreciated. “Us being an inner city school, we have kids who cannot afford instruments and things of that nature,” Mitchell told the Morning News. “By having extra instruments on hand, I will be able to put an instrument in a scholar’s hand versus turning a scholar away because I don’t have an instrument for them. This will make a big difference.”

January 14, 2023 UPIBarry Manilow Performs at the FLA Live Arena In Sunrise, Florida
Barry Manilow performed on stage during a one night only concert " Manilow: Hits 2023" at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Friday, January 13, 2023. Barry Manilow presented music teacher award and check to Michael Gabriel of Charles Flanagan High School at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Friday, January 13, 2023. Gabriel won the Manilow Music project award in Sunrise.
January 11, 2023 Creative Loafing Tampa Bay"Barry Manilow brings the 'Copacabana' back to Tampa this weekend: It's been 50 years since the release of his eponymous debut album" by Josh Bradley
Next July, the 79-year-old “Mandy” singer celebrates 50 years since the release of his eponymous debut album, and despite having already conducted a year-long farewell tour, which rolled into Tampa in 2016, Barry Manilow remains relatively active. He released a sequel to his 2014 album of Great American Songbook pieces right before COVID-19 lockdowns commenced, and still holds down hit-drenched residencies in Las Vegas. Tell your mom, because gigantic, full-scale tours are no longer in the cards for Mr. “Copacabana.” Tickets to see Barry Manilow play Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday, Jan. 14 are still available and start at $15.75.
January 10, 2023 The Charlotte Observer"Barry Manilow talks touring, turning 80, and making first original pop album in years" by Théoden Janes
“Retirement” almost seems like a dirty word to the man behind ’70s pop standards like “Copacabana (At the Copa)” and “I Write the Songs” (who also this year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his self-titled debut album). On one hand, a reminder of the fact that Barry Manilow is celebrating his 80th year on the planet this June will probably make longtime fans of the legendary crooner a.) shake their heads in disbelief, and/or b.) feel pretty old themselves.

On the other? Well, imagine how he feels about the impending milestone. “I must say, this birthday is really crazy. It’s crazy! I never intended to be this old. But I don’t feel it!” Manilow says, laughing. The singer is on the phone from his home in Palm Springs, California, calling to promote the seven-show run through the Southeast this month that will include a stop at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center on Saturday, Jan. 21.

And, FWIW, those exclamation points — and the one below — aren’t exaggerations on our part; he really is exclaiming. “It’s just crazy,” he says again. “I think of people who are 80 ... they look older than I do. They’re retired. You know, that ain’t me! So I don’t know. Call me next year. I’ll tell you what it feels like.” On tap for this year alone: a new album of his own; his fingerprints on two more albums; this January’s “Manilow: Hits 2023” arena mini-tour; and 57 scheduled performances as part of his ongoing residency at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas in Nevada.

Manilow talked about all of this and more — including his on-again, off-again relationship with the accordion as well as what’s missing from pop radio these days — in his recent chat with The Charlotte Observer. (The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)

The Charlotte Observer (TCO): You spoke recently with my colleague Evan Moore about The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award (which, over the years, has given away more than $10 million to school music teachers and programs). Is there a music teacher that stands out to you as someone who — when you were young — helped point you in a direction that you might not have taken otherwise?
Barry Manilow (BM): No. I did that on my own. I come from the slums of Brooklyn, New York. And the last thing anybody cared about in the slums in Brooklyn, New York, was music. My family always knew I was musical, and the only thing they could afford was an accordion and an accordion teacher. And in Brooklyn during those years, every Jewish and Italian kid had to play the accordion. It was like the law. You couldn’t get out of Brooklyn if you didn’t play “Lady of Spain.” There was a guard at the Brooklyn Bridge. So you heard a bevy of accordions all over town. And I was one of those kids that played the accordion, and I liked it. The best part of it is that I learned how to read music. When my stepfather arrived, he threw out the accordion and got me a spinet piano. And I could actually play songs, ’cause I could read music. That was the big turning point. As soon as I hit the keys of that little spinet piano, even though I was 13 years old, I just knew that that was where I was gonna wind up. I didn’t know how that could possibly happen — because where I came from, that was a big dream — but I just knew I was going to wind up doing something in music. I just didn’t care about anything else.

TCO: Do you still have a soft spot for the accordion?
BM: I used to do a comedy sketch with my accordion. I used to play “Like a Virgin.” Today’s songs, on the accordion. It was really funny. But because I was doing that, I had to re-learn how to play the accordion. It’s a very complicated instrument. If you look on YouTube and you type in “accordion players,” you will see — these guys really are wizards at this instrument. It’s a much more complicated instrument than the piano, because of all those buttons on your left hand, and the keyboard on the right hand. And if you know how to play the accordion, you get some really nice sounds from it. So I don’t make fun of it anymore. I used to make fun of it. But if you can play the accordion well, then you’ve got my admiration.

TCO: So, tell me a little bit about this tour. What was the thinking behind stepping away from your Vegas residency for this short run of shows?
BM: Well, my band and my crew, we love each other. And we had the whole month of January off. I said, “Book us some dates, Gare (that being Garry Kief, Manilow’s manager and husband). Nobody wants to take off for a whole month.” So he booked us on this tour. We all love doing these shows. They’re so uplifting. These audiences are still so great to me. They love these songs. I’m one of the lucky guys that can fill up a whole evening of pop songs that people know. I don’t have to go into the album cuts. I don’t have to go to songs that no one’s ever heard of. Every song is something that — either you love it or you hate it, but you know it! It’s a really enjoyable evening for these audiences.

TCO: Is there a different kind of feeling you get from a tour like this, where you’re going into a different arena every night?
BM: Is it a different kind of energy for you? Yeah, it is. It’s even more exciting than the evenings in Vegas. The evenings in Vegas — I’ve started to take it for granted, because they’re so exciting. These audiences, you would really think that they’d be a little jaded, and would much rather go back out into the casino or something. But they’ve been great. But when we do these tours, they are there to see me and hear this music. It’s not like they happened to walk by the billboard where they see me in Vegas. Here, they saved their bucks and put away a Saturday night. So the whole vibe is different. They’re there because they want to be there. Because they’ve been waiting for this show. And I’m very, very lucky and very grateful that they’re still out there for me.

TCO: Tell me about your opening act, Gordie Brown (who is a musician and a singer but also a comedian and impressionist), and the idea of getting the audience warmed up by making it laugh.
BM: Yeah, years ago he opened for us and he killed every night. He killed. I don’t know how that could happen. It’s one thing to have a music act to open for me, but to have a comic and impressionist — and for it to work — they loved him. He’s got billboards all over Vegas these days. He’s headlining all over the place. So, I was so lucky to have him be available for these shows.

TCO: Would you say that the audiences at the shows that you’re doing this month in the Southeast are going to basically kind of get a Vegas-style show?
BM: No. I do my concert show when we go out. It’s still beautiful. Beautiful lights and very, very beautiful effects and all — but no. And even in the Vegas show, I don’t do a big production. With me, it’s really just me, the audience, and a lot of great songs and my great band. I think people walk away feeling really good after these shows. It’s really a very emotional evening. And I’ve never really been into the big production.

TCO: On the age thing one more time: Do you feel at all like at some point you’re gonna have to slow down?
BM: I’m just gettin’ started. I’ve always got “the next one.” There’s always “the next one” with me. I’m starting to produce an album for my friend (saxophonist) Dave Koz. I’ve never done anything like that. Then I’ve got the original cast album for my musical, “Harmony” (which is set to open on Broadway this year). We’ve finished doing that. “Harmony” is about to go up in New York, and when that opens up, that album will come out. I never really think about this age thing. I don’t feel it. Nothing seems to have changed. I look pretty much the same as I always do. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. But so far, so good.

TCO: And the album that you’re doing on your own, is that something that’ll come out this year?
BM: Yeah. It’s gonna either be this summer or for next Christmas. It’s my first original pop album in a long time. Usually I either have a concept — like “15 Minutes,” or “Paradise Café,” or “Singin’ With the Big Bands” — but in the beginning I used to just do pop songs. Albums of just pop songs that had nothing to do with each other. I’ve been working on this one for a couple of years. I wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to do something like this, because the music that I make is totally different than the music that’s on the radio these days. But I like this stuff that I wrote. I think the audiences that like what I do will love this — depending on how many people are still out there. So we’ll see. It’s a gamble. I’ve never really been good at predicting hit singles. Even when I was having them, I was never very good at it. All I know is to make the best record I can make, and I listen back to it, and I say, “Well, that stinks,” or, “I really loved it.” So that’s where I’m at with this. It’s 12 new pop songs with something in it that we are missing. And that something is a melody! Really, we seem to have lost the melody on the radio. I mean, they’re still making great records. They’re all full of rhythm and loops and stuff. But I miss the melodies. If you go to country stations, you have a chance of getting some nice-sounding melodies, but on pop radio, you gotta search for it. So I’ve put together a pop album with beautiful melodies and great lyrics. Isn’t that something? What an interesting concept!

TCO: Would you say that it’s an evolution of your sound, or would you say it’s kind of a throwback, for people who are fans of the music you made in the ’70s and ’80s?
BM: I played a few of the cuts for a friend of mine, and I said, “Does this sound old-fashioned?” She said, “No! It’s you!” Well, that’s what it is. If you like what I did — what I do — I got 12 new ones for ya.

Barry Manilow in Charlotte. When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St. Tickets: $19.50 and up. Details: www.ticketmaster.com; barrymanilow.com.

January 12, 2023 Click Orlando"Barry Manilow to present music award to Seminole County high school band director: The singer will give Lake Howell High School’s Director of Bands José Eslava a $10K award" by Samantha Dunne
In the Seminole County school district, “Manilow bucks” go far. Grammy award-winning performer Barry Manilow is set to award Lake Howell High School’s Director of Bands José Eslava $10,000 at a one-night-only concert on Tuesday, Jan. 17. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude,” Manilow said of the program in a statement. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”

Eslava was selected by Central Florida school boards and the Amway Center to receive a $5,000 cash award and another $5,000 in “Manilow bucks,” money presented by the singer so the recipient can purchase instruments for his school’s music program. In addition to the cash award, the band director received VIP tickets to Manilow’s concert at the Amway Center on Tuesday, where he will meet the performer. The Manilow Music Project, which distributes funding to local music teachers and programs across the U.S., has contributed over $10 million in funding and music instrument donations to date.

January 9, 2023 Williamson Source"Nolenville High Band Director Wins Manilow Music Award" by Michael Carpenter
Nolensville High band director Benjamin Easley is the winner of the Manilow Music Teacher Award for the Nashville area. Presented by the Manilow Music Project created by Barry Manilow, the award recognizes an outstanding music teacher who helps bring music to life for their students. As the winner in the Nashville area, Easley will receive a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 Manilow Bucks credits that may be used to purchase instruments for his classroom. “I am honored to receive this award,” Easley said. “My music educator parents raised me with Manilow’s music, so I am especially grateful for the opportunity to both meet the artist and receive his support for Nolensville Band. As a newer band program, this generous award will facilitate new instrument purchases to positively impact our students’ music education experiences. Thanks to the community of Nolensville and all who voted to support us.”

Easley was one of 10 finalists in Nashville along with Centennial High’s Johnathan Vest and Franklin High’s Michael Holland. The winner was decided through community voting. In addition to the monetary prizes, Easley will also be invited to an upcoming Barry Manilow concert and be presented the award in a backstage meet-and-greet.

January 8, 2023 Tampa BeaconPop superstar Barry Manilow to play Amalie Arena
Music legend Barry Manilow is heading out on the road for a special seven-show arena tour. The “Manilow: Hits 2023 Tour” will kick off in South Florida before arriving in the Tampa Bay area for a performance Saturday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m., at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets start at $15.75. Visit www.ticketmaster.com. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” said Manilow.

In 2023, Manilow will mark his 50th anniversary as a recording artist. The tour will highlight the superstar’s greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award winner, and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. He has had 50 Top 40 singles including 12 No. 1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

January 5, 2023 Broadway World"Gordie Brown Joins Barry Manilow on Limited Engagement Arena Tour Dates: The tour dates are set to begin this month" by Michael Major
Music icon Barry Manilow welcomes Las Vegas headliner Gordie Brown this winter for his special seven show arena tour presented by World of Westgate - MANILOW: HITS 2023 - set to begin this month. The exclusive run kicks off on January 13th at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL stopping at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Amway Center in Orlando, State Farm Arena in Atlanta and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, before before wrapping in Charlotte at the Spectrum Center on January 21st.

Gordie Brown always delivers an exhilarating show of music and laughs, making him one of the most sought-after impressionist comedians of our time. He began his career as a political cartoonist before he caught the entertainment bug after winning a local talent contest. Aside from Manilow, he has opened for renowned artists such as Jay Leno, Louie Anderson, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, and Celine Dion.

The Barry Manilow concerts will highlight the superstar's greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." "I am truly honored to be working with the legendary Barry Manilow" said Brown. "He is one of the greatest performers of all time and I can't wait to share my musical impressions with his incredible fans."

"Gordie is one of the most talented impressionist comedians I have ever seen," said Manilow. "I'm delighted he's going to be joining us for these shows."

MANILOW: HITS 2023 TOUR DATES:

  • Jan. 13, 2023 Sunrise, FL FLA Live Arena
  • Jan. 14, 2023 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
  • Jan. 15, 2023 Savannah, GA Enmarket Arena
  • Jan. 17, 2023 Orlando, FL Amway Center
  • Jan. 19, 2023 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
  • Jan. 20, 2023 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
  • Jan. 21, 2023 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center

ABOUT BARRY MANILOW: Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning musician has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

ABOUT GORDIE BROWN: Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Gordie Brown began his career as a political cartoonist before he caught the entertainment bug after winning a local talent contest. He was soon opening in Los Angeles for renowned artists such as Jay Leno, Louie Anderson, Randy Travis, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, and even joined Celine Dion on her North American tour "Taking Chances." He had his national television debut on A&E's Evening at the Improv and continued on to co-host NBC's Friday Night Videos, along with appearances on Hollywood Squares, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Gordie starred in the lead role as 'Mr. Jones' in the dramatic TV series, "Twice in a Lifetime." He now is a Las Vegas headliner that delivers an exhilarating show of music and laughs, making him one of the most sought-after impressionist comedians of our time.

January 5, 2023 WCNC Charlotte"CMS band director to be presented with Barry Manilow music teacher award: Suggs was nominated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Spectrum Center for the award" by Anders J. Hare
A Charlotte band director is set to receive a music teacher award from award-winning singer Barry Manilow during a show in Charlotte later this month. On Wednesday, it was announced that Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology's Walter Suggs the Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award. The award is given to one teacher in each city that Manilow performs in, and it consists of $5,000 in cash as well as $5,000 in 'Manilow bucks' to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. Suggs was nominated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Spectrum Center for the award. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.” Since its inception, the Manilow Music Project has given away over $10 million worth of funds and music instrument donations. Suggs will meet the Grammy Award winner at the one-night-only set, happening Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Spectrum Center. Find more information about the performance here.
January 4, 2023 South Florida Theater"Manilow at Age 79 Stars in FLA Live Arena Concert in Sunrise" by Marvin Glassman
At age 79, singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is possibly the oldest performer to headline a concert at FLA Live Arena when he performs “Manilow Hits 2023” in Sunrise on January 13, along with six other venues in the American Southeast through January 21. Promoters normally would hesitate to book a singer at age 79 in a 20,000 seat plus arena, but that is not the case for Manilow, whose concerts have filled major arenas for over 45 years.

Barry Manilow is currently ranked by Billboard Magazine as the number one adult contemporary artist of all time, spanning a 50 year recording career selling 85 million albums, with 50 top 40 singles, such as “Copacabana”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, “I Write The Songs”, “Even Now” and “Weekend In New England”, all expected to be performed at his Sunrise concert. “I consider myself very lucky and fortunate to have so many fans coming to my shows for so many years,” said Manilow, who first became known for his first hit song “Mandy” recorded in 1974. “My only complaint was the constant touring that I had to do. I love performing for my fans, but I hated catching planes and staying in hotels far from my home (in Palm Springs, California), so I was able to do a permanent residency in Las Vegas”.

Manilow has performed in concerts mostly in Las Vegas since 2000. He has earned the Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards for his numerous concerts and television specials.

Less well-known is Manilow’s contributions as a composer in the musical theater. Teaming with lyricist Bruce Sussman, the duo wrote both “Copacabana The Musical”, which was performed in regional theaters for over 25 years, and “Harmony”, performed off-Broadway in 2002.

Manilow is especially proud about writing “Harmony”, which won the Theatre Fans Choice Award as Best Off- Broadway musical in 2022. Harmony is a musical biography of the German based Comedian Harmonists group, who were popular in Europe in the 1920s and ‘30s. Three of the group members were Jewish, one being a Rabbi. “Writing ‘Harmony’ is the most important achievement I had in my career. The story is about how the group came together and later disbanded in Germany when the Nazis came to power. Although none of the members perished in The Holocaust, the group broke up following World War Two and the enthusiasm they once had for singing together was lost,” said Manilow. “The story is uplifting and means a lot to Bruce (Sussman) and me because we are Jewish. We wrote the songs in ‘Harmony’ after studying much of the music of the era, including Cantorial and Klezmer music.”

A local Ft. Lauderdale music teacher (to be named at the January 13 concert) will receive a $5,000 award, another $5,000 to purchase musical instruments for the teacher’s school district as well as VIP tickets to the concert through Manilow’s Foundation titled Manilow Music Project. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers that deserve this small token of my gratitude. I had my love of music nurtured by taking music classes when I was a teen. Many music school programs today have been either terminated or their funds have been severely depleted. I always wanted to do my part in keeping music alive in school through The Manilow Music Project”.

Manilow was raised by his mother Edna and his grandparents, (Jewish immigrants from Russia), in a small Brooklyn apartment. Although born as Barry Pincus, he changed his surname to Manilow out of love for his mother, who took her maiden name when she divorced his father. Manilow honed his music first on the accordion and then on the piano, which he received as a bar mitzvah gift at age 13. After studying music at Juilliard School, Manilow became adept at arranging and writing commercial jingles that eventually led to him becoming musical director for Bette Midler in 1972 prior to starting his solo career.

Unlike most songwriters, Manilow did not think of himself as a professional singer and was surprised when he was asked to sing and record in 1973. “To this day, I think of myself as a musician first, rather than as a singer. I was happy working with Bette (Midler), but when the opportunity came to record my first album, I became a singer.”

Manilow wrote an autobiography of his early days in the music business “Sweet Life: Adventures On The Way To Paradise” in 1987. Manilow has been married to his longtime manager Garry Kief since 2014.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Barry Manilow will be performing “Manilow Hits 2023” on January 13 at 7 pm at FLA Live Arena, 1 Panther Parkway in Sunrise. Tickets range from $14.75-335. To buy tickets, go to either ticketmaster.com or flalivearena.com or call 954-835-7000. To learn more about Barry Manilow, go to barrymanilow.com.

January 4, 2023 Patch.com"Barry Manilow To Present $10,000 Award To Newsome Orchestra Teacher: As part of his Manilow Music Project, music icon Barry Manilow will honor music teacher Christopher Allen at his Jan. 14 Tampa concert" by D'Ann Law
After winning the popular vote in The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award, Newsome High School director of orchestras Christopher Allen will be honored by music legend Barry Manilow on Saturday, Jan. 14, when Manilow performs in concert at Amalie Arena. The Grammy Award-winning musician and 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee will meet backstage with Allen to present him with a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 in "Manilow" bucks to purchase musical instruments for Newsome's music program.

To determine which music teacher would receive the honor, in December the Hillsborough and Pinellas County school boards in conjunction with the Amalie Arena nominated 10 school music teachers and then invited the public to vote for their favorite nominee. "I couldn't believe I'd even been nominated," Allen said. "I know every one of the other teachers and they're all phenomenal." Other teachers in the running for the honor were John Parris of Howard W. Blake High School; Revae Douglas of Sumner High School; Christopher Revett of Robinson High School; Cheri Sleeper of Strawberry Crest High School; Gerard Madrinan of Seminole High School; Katie Aucremann of St. Petersburg High School; Kamyl Alicea-Cordero of Dunedin High School; Rebekah Chambers of Tarpon Springs High School; and Nicholas Stefanic of Hollins High School.

On Wednesday, Manilow announced that the votes had been tallied and Allen, the orchestra director at Newsome High for 14 years, was the winner. "It's been a whirlwind since it was announced," Allen said. "People have been calling me and posting on my Facebook page all day, congratulating me. Anyone of those other teachers could have won. It made me feel so supported just to know people really hold me in regard." A product of the Pinellas County School District, Allen, 48, holds a bachelor of arts degree in French horn performance from the University of South Florida and, in his spare time, has performs with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Fort Myers, the Walt Disney World Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra. He also directs the Sarasota Youth Orchestra.

Prior to joining the staff at Newsome, Allen taught in low-income Title 1 elementary schools for six years where he said kids were starving for a chance to learn to play an instrument or see a live musical performance. However, their parents couldn't afford a $5 band T-shirt much less the cost of a ticket to a concert. So Allen said he became adept at applying for grants to purchase musical instruments and fund field trips to satisfy his grade-school students' love of music. "It was challenging but also very rewarding," Allen said.

When he was appointed orchestra director at Newsome High School in Lithia, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, who also teaches music, funding continued to be a challenge. The performing and fine arts are the first programs to be cut when money is tight. "The school district only supplies so much funding. We have a double bass at the school that was purchased when the school opened 20 years ago," Allen said. "And with instruments being shared by hundreds of kids, you can imagine the wear and tear. I only have enough funding to repair one instrument a year."

He said the funding from the Manilow Music Project is desperately needed. "We're constantly trying to find more money for the music programs," he said. "To me, this really goes to show that the people in the Manilow camp understand the need to keep these music programs afloat. I wish more successful musicians would start these kinds of programs."

Manilow said it's been rewarding to help struggling music programs. "It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude," said Manilow. "Many school music programs have either been terminated or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools."

Since his nomination was announced in early December, Allen said he's enjoyed introducing his students to Manilow's music. Every school day he would play a different Manilow hit. Some, he said, they'd heard before like "Copacabana (At the Copa)," "Could It Be Magic" and "I Write the Songs." Others were new to them including "Mandy," Somewhere Down the Road" and "Can't Smile Without You." Allen has plenty of hits from which to choose. Manilow is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in America. He has sold more than 85 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists. He has recorded and released 51 Top 40 singles including 13 No. 1 hits, 28 hits in the Top 10 and 36 in the Top 20.

Additionally, Manilow, now 79, has written and performed songs for musicals, films and commercials, for which he's received a Tony Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. He's also a Grammy Award-winning producer, producing albums for such stars as Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick. "And to think he began his career writing jingles for commercials," Allen said.

In 1971, Manilow was paid $500 for writing State Farm's jingle, "Like a Good Neighbor," according to the singer-songwriter's biography. He went on to write "Stuck on Band-Aid," for which he won a CLIO award in 1976, and McDonald's' "You Deserve a Break Today." He will present Allen with 20 times the amount of money he earned for his first jingle. "This is just great," Allen said. "I love that my program and my love of teaching music is getting recognition. And the money will be put to good use.

For tickets to Manilow's concert, click here.

January 4, 2023 ABC Action News"Hillsborough County music teacher honored by Barry Manilow" by Erik Waxler
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Chris Allen said some of the double basses at Newsome High School have been around for 20 years. “I can’t even count how many hundreds of students have used this one instrument,” said Allen. But the school will soon be able to buy new instruments thanks to a music legend. In each city where Barry Manilow performs, he picks his Music Project Music Teacher Award winner. It includes $5,000 for Allen and $5000 in Manilow bucks to go toward his school’s music program. When Allen got the nomination, he made sure his students knew just who Barry Manilow is. “As soon as I put the song on the stereo system in the classroom, everybody just sang “Copa, Copacabana.” Even if they don’t know who he is, they know that song and they sing along with it. It was really great," said Allen.

Through the years, the Manilow Music Project has given away more than ten million dollars to keep music alive in schools. Allen is a professional musician who’s played with the likes of Diana Ross, Peabo Bryson and Olivia Newton-John. He’s also been teaching for twenty years. His award-winning orchestra at Newsome even played at Carnegie Hall. “I always stress to my students it’s not really about the trophies. It’s really about the journey you took to get there. The practicing we’ve had to do. A lot of hours go into it. Really if we have a really amazing performance, it’s all we are looking for. And the trophies and ratings will all take care of themselves," said Allen.

Manilow performs at Amalie Arena on Jan. 14. Allen gets several tickets to the show and will get to meet Manilow backstage.

January 4, 2023 Osprey Observer"Newsome High School’s Christopher Allen Wins Barry Manilow Music Project Award" by Jennifer Hurst
Music icon Barry Manilow announced today Christopher Allen of Newsome High School has won The Manilow Music Project Music Teacher Award in Tampa. The Grammy award winner previously announced a one-night-only concert set for Saturday, January 14, at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. The Tampa School Board and Amalie Arena participated in the contest by suggesting schools and teachers in their area that they want to be considered for this award. In each city, the winning teacher will receive 5K cash award and another 5K in “Manilow bucks” presented by Barry Manilow to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. The winner will also receive VIP tickets to the concert. Christopher Allen of Newsome High School will meet Manilow at the show on January 14th for the award presentation. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.” The Manilow Music Project has given away over ten million dollars’ worth of funds and music instrument donations.

Barry Manilow’s unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, and producing. A 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, Manilow has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received a Grammy®, Emmy®, and a TONY Award® and has been nominated for an Academy Award®. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s all-time bestselling recording artists. He’s had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits, and is ranked the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

January 4, 2023 3 WBTV On Your SideCMS band director to be presented with singer Barry Manilow’s music teacher award: Phillip O. Berry’s Walter Suggs earned $5,000 each for both himself, and for the school to buy instruments
A local band teacher is set to be presented with an award from music icon Barry Manilow when he performs in Charlotte later this month. On Wednesday, it was announced that Phillip O. Berry’s Walter Suggs will receive ‘The Manilow Music Project’ music teacher award. The award, which is given to one teacher in each city that Manilow performs, consists of a $5,000 cash reward for the winning recipient, as well as an additional $5,000 for the winner’s school to purchase instruments. Suggs will be presented with the award backstage prior to Manilow’s show at the Spectrum Center on Jan. 21. He will also be given VIP tickets to the performance. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through ‘The Manilow Music Project’ to keep music in schools.” Suggs was nominated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board and the Spectrum Center as a deserving teacher from the area. According to Phillip O. Berry’s music program website, Suggs graduated from NCCU with a degree in music education in 1993, and then earned his master’s from Winthrop University in 2009. Since the award was created, ‘The Manilow Music Project’ has given away more than $10 million worth of funds and musical instrument donations.

When Where Articles/Reviews
December 28, 2022 Orlando Sentinel"Orlando-bound Barry Manilow asks public to help him honor local music teachers" by Matthew J. Palm
Hitmaker Barry Manilow feels passionately about music education — and the students who find a home in their school’s bands. “These classes are so important to them,” said the “I Write the Songs” singer in a phone call from Palm Springs, California. “They turn into their second family.” Manilow will perform Jan. 17 at the Amway Center in Orlando.

In the run-up to his concert, the singer’s Manilow Music Project will honor a music teacher with $10,000 — $5,000 to the teacher and $5,000 to the teacher’s school for instrument purchases — and the public will vote for the winner. The often sorry state of scholastic instruments weighs on Manilow’s mind.

Barry Manilow performs at the Amway Center in Orlando on Jan. 20, 2011. “Timpanis with wads of tape holding them together,” he said of what some students face. “The instruments they do have are from the 1940s or 1950s.” That’s if the schools have instruments at all. He was appalled when the daughter of a friend needed a saxophone because her high school didn’t have any on which to teach her. “We keep looking for things to make the public aware that music classes in high schools are on the verge of going down,” he said. “These teachers are heroes. They buy the kids instruments on their own, and they aren’t making that much money.”

To date, the Manilow Music Project has given away more than $10 million in funding and instrument donations to schools. On previous Central Florida visits over the years, the initiative has staged a used-instrument drive and donated pianos to area high schools. In 2018, the Manilow Music Project provided instruments to Orlando's Jones High School, where students had been using sousaphones that were more than 50 years old. This year, another school will benefit from the project's donations. For this year’s Orlando concert stop, the Amway Center worked with local school boards to identify teachers and schools who could benefit from the project. The nominees are: Monica Leimer, DeLand High; Bruce Green, Jones High in Orlando; Bradley Wharton, Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs; Bill Cunningham, Lake Buena Vista High; José Eslava, Lake Howell High in Winter Park; Jennifer Browne-Rolle, Ocoee High; William Molineaux, Osceola County School for the Arts; Lauren Martin, Spruce Creek High in Port Orange; Rhett Cox, Timber Creek High in Orlando; and Jon Brown, University High School in Orlando. Vote at on.barrymanilow.com/trk/voteMMP.

The winning teacher also receives VIP tickets to the concert — one of just seven stops on a January mini-tour, a change from Manilow’s more aggressive schedules of the past. “I would go on the road for months at a time,” said Manilow, 79. “Now it’s weeks at a time.”

Not that he’s slowing down. He has announced new 2023 dates for his Las Vegas residency at the Westgate Resort and Casino in the space that Elvis Presley famously made his Vegas performing spot. This year, he’ll break Presley’s record for number of concerts there. Barry Manilow's latest tour emphasizes the singer's hits, but also will help local music-education efforts in one lucky school. “I’m waiting for the shoe to drop, to wake up and look in the mirror and feel older and retire,” Manilow said with a laugh. “But so far, so good.”

Like many of today’s students, as a child in Brooklyn, New York, Manilow found a home in the arts: “There was no other place for me to go,” he said. He was lucky enough to have supportive — if confused - parents. “No one in my family had ever had a career in music,” he said. “They didn’t know what to do with me.” So his parents rented their musical child an accordion. “I was pretty good at it,” he remembers. More important: “I learned to read music.”

Eventually the family acquired “a little spinet piano” and “I became the piano player of the school.” Not looking for the limelight, he set his sights on becoming a conductor and music arranger. “I never sang, I never wanted to,” said the man who has sold 85 million albums worldwide and racked up 50 Top 40 singles including 12 chart-toppers and 27 Top 10 hits. “It’s still a surprise to me. It’s a surprise to me I’m still doing it. So many people I started out with are either retired or dead.”

It was only when he sang on his own demo records to promote the songs he was writing -- “I couldn’t afford to hire a real singer” -- that a record label offered him a contract. “That was the silliest thing I had ever heard in my life,” recalled Manilow, who is now the world’s No. 1 adult-contemporary recording artist, according to Billboard and Radio & Records magazines.

Barry Manilow's first record, a self-titled album, was released 50 years ago. With songs such as “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It” and “Copacabana” in his repertoire, Manilow’s concert will be stocked with hits - and that’s by design. “The audiences always loved to hear new material. Then it flipped about five years ago,” he said. “And suddenly they wanted to hear the songs they grew up with. I’m happy to do it.”

December 20, 2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"INTERVIEW: Barry Manilow wants to work with Lady Gaga, doesn’t see himself as a singer" by Rodney Ho
About 15 years ago, Barry Manilow was concerned about school systems scrimping on music programs. So he started The Manilow Music Project to raise money to get more instruments in schools and spread the gospel of music education.

As part of his stop at State Farm Arena Jan. 19 (tickets still available), he will be rewarding a local teacher $5,000 plus another $5,000 credit to buy instruments for the school. To nominate a teacher through Dec. 28, you can go to barrymanilow.com. The winner also gets VIP tickets to the concert.

“Schools are always running out of instruments,” said Manilow, 79, in a recent phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Las Vegas, where he has a long-time residency at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. “It breaks my heart. So when we go on the road, I want to do something to show how important music is for children. When schools cut music classes, many kids stop coming to school.”

Manilow will perform his big hits on a brief six-city tour next month and his visit to Atlanta will be his first performance here in more than five years. He said he still hits the road every so often to help out his crew and musicians when he isn’t performing in Vegas. “They’ve got mortgages and kids,” he said. “My band and my crew are so important to me.”

Here are some other topics we broached over a 20-minute conversation:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC): How he keeps his voice in good order:
Barry Manilow (BM): “I don’t know. Every night, I cross my fingers. I don’t consider myself a singer. I never have. I’m a musician. I’m an orchestrator. I’m an arranger. I’m a songwriter. Those are the things I love doing. Performing was a big surprise. I had to learn how do it. I really enjoy doing it. The audiences are just wild. They’ve been on my side from the very beginning. But I pay no attention to the singing part of it. I’ve never had a singing lesson. I just go out and start singing. I cross my fingers and hope something decent comes out of my throat. I don’t warm up. Somehow my voice is there night after night.”

AJC: What he feels he can do well:
BM: “I can interpret a lyric. I come from that world where lyrics were very important to singers. They were storytellers. I love doing that ― even if it’s a dumb lyric. I can find the story in it. I do that real well. I really like doing that on the stage. Pop stuff it’s difficult to do that. Pop stuff isn’t very poetic. You’re stuck with I love you or miss you. That’s it! But the situations are always different.”

AJC: The misinterpretation of his 1977 No. 1 hit “Looks Like We Made It”:
BM: “I always wondered why schools use it as their theme song. What are they going to do on that second line [of the chorus]? It’s we ‘left each other on the way to another love.’ That’s always fun to sing. As I interpret the lyric I think the audience understands that this is not a love song. It’s a break up song!”

AJC: The surprise success of “Weekend in New England” in 1976:
BM: “It’s a waltz. It’s in three-quarter time. It never mentions the title in the song. It sounds like something that comes out of an operator. [Record executive] Clive [Davis], Arista and me were all shocked when that record hit the top 10 because, like I said, nothing in it would tell you radio would be comfortable with it.”

AJC: The song fans bring up to him the most:
BM: “‘Copacabana.’ That’s odd, too, because Clive didn’t like that song. And when we finished writing it and putting it on the album, Arista didn’t promote it at all. He thought it was just a novelty song that would fit more on the Sonny and Cher show or something. The public and radio stations loved it. They made it a hit, a big hit, a Grammy hit. I think I’ll be remembered for ‘Copa’ among all the other ones. That is the one people bring up all around the world. I’m very proud of it.”

AJC: The vagaries of 1976 No. 1 hit “I Write the Songs,” which was actually written by the Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston:
BM: “That’s a rough one. I didn’t think the listeners would understand that the song was about the spirit of music. It wasn’t about how I write all songs in the world. I think listeners would understand that but it wasn’t made very clear in the song. That was a problem. But people just liked the song. That was great.”

AJC: Jingles he wrote still stick:
BM: “They still play Band-Aids [’I’m stuck on Band-Aid’]. In those days I was glad to get it. I was just a struggling musician. It’s so rare for a jingle to last this long!”

AJC: The current state of jingles is bleak:
BM: “I got a Clio award a few years ago. I sat through the entire awards ceremony. They played the most popular commercials that year. Not one commercial had a jingle. All the music was background music.”

AJC: His song “When the Good Times Come,” which charted on the adult contemporary chart in 2020:
BM: “That was right in the middle of lockdown. That came from an old album. [His husband and long-time manager] Garry [Kief] found it. We released it. Clive loved the idea. He’s still a part of my life. He called radio stations and said you have to play this record. And they did!”

AJC: His 2022 upbeat chart hit “Dancing in the Aisles”:
BM: “The young people discovered that on TikTok. They are dancing in the aisles of pharmacies, in the aisles of grocery stores. It’s the silliest, most adorable thing. It’s sensational. They’re giving me a hit record without me even putting a hit record out. I’m putting it on my next album. They discovered this song!

AJC: The future of Manilow’s musical “Harmony” which was tested at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in 2013:
BM: “It’s the love of my life. Bruce Sussman, my collaborator, wrote the book and the lyrics. We’ve worked on it many years. It opened downtown in New York last April and got the most gorgeous reviews. Sold out audiences. We’re just waiting for a theater to open up uptown. ‘Harmony’ will finally make it to Broadway.”

AJC: Elton John has worked with Dua Lipa and Britney Spears. Who would Manilow like to collaborate with?
BM: “The only one I really love is Gaga. She is so talented. We all spotted that at the beginning with the first couple of songs. Those interviews were so beautiful. She seemed like a kind person, very smart. If the opportunity came along, I’d love to do that.”

IF YOU GO: Barry Manilow; 7 p.m. Jan. 19. $19.50-$249.50. State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta. statefarmarena.com.

December 21, 2022 The Charlotte Observer"A CMS music teacher will get to meet Barry Manilow — and receive $5,000, too" by Evan Moore
Legendary singer Barry Manilow is returning to Charlotte for the first time in seven years to perform and provide support for CMS music students. The Manilow Music Project is giving away a $10,000 prize to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools high school music teacher. The prize will include $5,000 for the teacher, and another $5,000 grant to be used for classroom instruments. One of 10 CMS teacher nominees, if selected as the winner, will also receive VIP tickets to Manilow’s show on Jan. 21 at the Spectrum Center, where he will present the award at a special backstage meet and greet.

Manilow, a Grammy, Tony and Emmy award-winning artist who has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, said he started The Manilow Music Project 15 years ago when one of his neighbors was raising money for a saxophone for his daughter. “She wanted to learn how to play the saxophone, but her school didn’t have one,” Manilow said, adding that many schools reduce funding for music programs when they make budget cuts. “When I looked it up, I saw that schools around the country are running out of instruments because the music department is the first to go.”

Since then, Manilow has made it his mission to promote and raise money for music education, he said. To date, The Manilow Music project has donated more than $10 million in instruments and scholarships for students, according to the charity’s website. But music classes are more than just learning how to play an instrument, Manilow said. “It’s a second family for them,” he added. “These kids rely on music classes for more than just music. What I’ve heard is that if schools cut their music departments, these kids stop going to school. That’s how important it is.”

Manilow credits his high school orchestra class, where he went from being “a geek to musician,” for his half-century-long music career. But Manilow said he struggled to find a calling before getting into music. “I was a musical kid, and my family knew I was a musical kid,” Manilow said. “Coming from nowhere Brooklyn, New York, nobody knew what to do with me. Nobody in my neighborhood ever had a career in music. But my career chose me.” After receiving an accordion -- a rite of passage for all Jewish Italian kids in his neighborhood -- Manilow knew he was destined to become a musician, he joked. “I started to write songs, then I formed a band, then it just kept going,” said Manilow. “One thing followed another with demos and commercials, and it just took off.” During his interactions with aspiring young musicians, Manilow’s advice to them is to learn to read music because it can open the door to many career opportunities outside of performing on stage. He also called music a “difficult profession,” but said that shouldn’t stop kids from pursuing their dreams. “I think if a young person really believes in themselves and thinks they have talent, they should try it,” Manilow said. “You just have to keep going at it and don’t give up.”

The public can cast its vote for The Manilow Music Teacher Award at TradableBits.com for these CMS nominees: Chris Moreau, East Mecklenburg High School; Kathryn Heinen, East Mecklenburg High School; Cole Freeman, Myers Park High School; Stephanie Madsen, Northwest School of the Arts; Kristin Stonnell, Northwest School of the Arts; Erica Hefner, Northwest School of the Arts; Walter Suggs, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology; Quinten Wrenn, William Amos Hough High School; Kevin Herriman, North Mecklenburg High School; Whit Blount, Myers Park High. School Participants must be 13 years of age or older to vote. Voting ends on Dec. 28.

December 20, 2022 Tampa Bay Times"Barry Manilow will award a Tampa music teacher at his upcoming concert: Manilow plays Amalie Arena on Jan. 14, but you can vote until Dec. 28" by Maggie Duffy
When iconic singer-songwriter Barry Manilow brings his tour to Tampa’s Amalie Arena in January, he won’t just be playing the songs the whole world sings. He’ll also give one Tampa music teacher The Manilow Music Teacher Award. Presented by The Manilow Music Project, select music teachers in every city on the winter arena tour receive the award. In Tampa, the school board and staff from Amalie Arena suggested several teachers. Now, anyone can vote for their choice online at tradablebits.com/tb_app/480329. Voting ends Dec. 28.

The selected teachers receive a $5,000 cash award for personal use and $5,000 in “Manilow Bucks” to spend on instruments for their school’s music program. The winner also gets free VIP tickets to the concert and Manilow will award the recipient at a meet-and-greet backstage.

The Manilow Music Project has donated more than $10 million in instruments and scholarships over the past 34 years. Manilow was inspired to start the charity after an acquaintance came to him looking for a saxophone for his daughter, because the schools were running out of instruments and music programs were losing funding or had it cut altogether.“I can’t tell you how important for these young kids,” Manilow said during a recent phone interview. “These music classes ... become their second family. Music changes their lives, I see it happening over and over.”

Of the seven dates on the Manilow: Hits 2023 tour, three are in Florida, including in Sunrise and Orlando. This means that three music teachers in the state will have the opportunity to expand their school’s programs and expose children to the life-changing experience of music.

Tickets for the Jan. 14 concert are on sale now at ticketmaster.com and manilow.com. The limited engagement tour celebrates Manilow’s 50th anniversary as a performer.

While he doesn’t like to tour that often, Manilow has a residency at the International Theater at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. It’s beneficial for keeping Manilow and his band to keep working without the stress of going out on the road. When his residency resumes after his winter tour, he’s set to break Elvis Presley’s record for most shows at the venue, although Manilow humbly shrugs that off as an accolade. He said he’s a little embarrassed to break the King’s record because “nobody can come close” to his quality. But it’s safe to say Manilow is also an icon: As one of the world’s bestselling recording artists, he has 12 No. 1 hits and Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards.

At 79, Manilow joked that he “never intended to be this old,” but said he still has all the energy he’s ever had to perform.“I think if you slow down that is dangerous because ... you’ll eventually stop,” he said. “I think you’ve got to keep working. Keep your mind going, keep your body going. I think it’s working for me.”He’s looking forward to connecting with fans on the tour. “It’s going to be an evening of wonderful music,” he said. “You know what I have that no one has anymore? Melody ... And that’s what you’ll get when you come to my show.”

December 19, 2022 Tampa Beacon"Manilow Music Project to award $10K to a Tampa Bay area teacher" by Brittany O'Ruachainn
In January, celebrated American singer-songwriter Barry Manilow will take over Amalie Arena and one lucky Tampa Bay music teacher will get the VIP treatment. Nominations have been made for 10 Tampa Bay music teachers to win $10,000 from the Manilow Music Project, a VIP concert experience and a backstage award presentation with Barry Manilow on Jan. 14. Residents can help choose a winner by voting at https://on.barrymanilow.com/tb_app/480331. Voting will come to an end Dec. 28. Half of the prize money, $5,000, will go toward purchasing musical instruments for the school’s music program and the other $5,000 goes toward the teacher’s personal use. According to the Manilow Music Project website, the cost of instruments ranges from a tuba at $7,309, a French horn at $3,629, and a violin at $1,065.

Nominated Tampa Bay teachers are John Parris, Howard W. Blake High School; Revae Douglas, Sumner High School; Christopher Revett, Robinson High School; Christopher Allen, Newsome High School; Cheri Sleeper, Strawberry Crest High School; Gerard Madrinan, Seminole High School; Katie Aucremann, St. Petersburg High School; Kamyl Alicea-Cordero, Dunedin High School; Rebekah Chambers, Tarpon Springs High School; Nicholas Stefanic, Hollins High School.

In 2014, Kevin Fuller from Mann Middle School won $10,000 for his school from funds put together by the Manilow Music Project and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Howard Blake High School’s music teacher, John Parris, is one of the hopefuls in the running, and for him, the nomination came out of the blue. Parris has taught classical guitar and music theory at Howard Blake High School for 25 years. “It’s an honor to be recognized among your peers as worthy of the nomination and it’s a really exciting opportunity for my school and my students,” Parris said. He added, “$5,000 goes a long way to buying new instruments, so that would be amazing.”

Howard Blake High School is the Fine Arts Magnet School for Hillsborough County, so the music students who attend have a passion and motivation to be there. Most students audition to come into the music program and are from all around the county, Parris noted. Some of the faculty are working artists themselves, and Parris has had multiple students go on to win national awards, including this year. Students have entered the All-State Guitar Ensemble and have gone on to winning local competitions. “I’m fortunate enough to watch the development of my students over a four-year period,” Parris said. “I’ve seen kids come into the program who just started playing, and to see a student like that go from ground zero to in their senior year playing concert-level music, it’s the growth of the students that’s special.”

Parris developed an appreciation for music early on, as both his parents were amateur musicians. He said he started studying music at 6 years old, and now at 60 music is just part of who he is. During his teenage years when Manilow’s music was playing everywhere, it was hard not to like some of his songs. “He’s an amazing well-rounded talent because he’s a great song-writer, a great arranger, a great producer, a great performer,” Parris said. “I think it’s phenomenal he is now using his fame, his fortune and his influence to make the world a better place.”

To learn more about the Manilow Music Project, visit www.manilowmusicproject.org.

December 16, 2022 WSOC-TV 9How you can help a Charlotte music teacher win $10,000 from singer Barry Manilow
Legendary entertainer Barry Manilow is bringing his winter tour to Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in January, and to coincide with the show, the singer-songwriter will award a deserving music teacher with $10,000. The Manilow Music Project, a program of the Manilow Fund, will recognize a music teacher in each city where the tour makes a stop. Each winner will receive $5,000 plus another $5,000 in “Manilow bucks,” which can be used to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. The winner will also receive VIP tickets to the concert.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board and Spectrum Center suggested schools and teachers in the Charlotte area to be considered for the award. These are the teachers who were selected: Chris Moreau — East Mecklenburg High School; Kathryn Heinen — East Mecklenburg High School; Cole Freeman — Myers Park High School; Whit Blount — Myers Park High School; Kevin Herriman — North Mecklenburg High School; Stephanie Madsen — Northwest School of the Arts High School; Kristin Stonnell — Northwest School of the Arts High School; Erica Hefner — Northwest School of the Arts High School; Walter Suggs — Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology High School; Quinten Wrenn — William Amos Hough High School

“It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude,” Manilow said in a news release. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”

Online voting is open here through Dec. 28. Manilow will perform at Spectrum Center on Jan. 21. He will present the winner with their award backstage the night of the concert.

December 14, 2022 Savannah Business JournalBarry Manilow announces Music Teacher Award to coincide with Enmarket Arena appearance
Music icon Barry Manilow announced that his Manilow Music Project will once again award a deserving music teacher in each city of his winter arena tour, including Savannah. The Grammy award winner previously announced a one-night-only concert set for Saturday, Jan. 15, at Savannah’s Enmarket Arena.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System Board and Enmarket Arena participated in the contest by suggesting schools and teachers in their area that they want to be considered for this award. In each city, the winning teacher will receive a $5,000 cash award and another $5,000 in “Manilow bucks” presented by Barry Manilow to purchase musical instruments for their school’s music program. The winner will also receive VIP tickets to the concert. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”

The Manilow Music Project has opened voting to anyone who has ever been moved by the power of music to vote for their favorite music teacher. It has given away over ten million dollars’ worth of funds and music instrument donations. Nominated teachers in Savannah are Emily Graham, Islands High School; Chloe Washington, Windsor Forest High School; Lashon Leggett, Herschel V Jenkins High School; and Reginald Mitchell, Savannah High School. Visit on.barrymanilow.com/trk/voteMMP to vote.

December 14, 2022 Williamson SourceWCS Educators Nominated for Manilow Music Award
Three WCS educators are in the running for the Manilow Music Teacher Award, which comes from the Manilow Music Project created by singer-songwriter Barry Manilow. The award recognizes one outstanding music teacher in each city who helps bring music to life for their students. Centennial High’s Johnathan Vest, Franklin High’s Michael Holland and Nolensville High’s Benjamin Easley are among the top 10 finalists in Nashville. “I am honored to be nominated for the Manilow Music Teacher Award among such esteemed colleagues,” said Vest. “I remember listening to my parents’ Manilow records when I was a kid, and it’s really special to be recognized by his foundation.”

The top finalist will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 Manilow Bucks credit to purchase instruments for the classroom. They will also get the opportunity to attend the Manilow Hits 2023 show at Bridgestone Arena on January 20. “l am honored to be nominated for this award,” said Easley. “I grew up with music educator parents who were total 'Fanilows.' Since our small beginnings as a new band program, we have experienced 450 percent growth. Our student musicians have represented WCS and the NHS community with performances at Nissan Stadium, Good Morning America Dove Awards, ABC World News Tonight and more. We are grateful to be considered for this unique opportunity for financial support and recognition.”

December 9, 2022 Williamson Home Page: The News10 Middle Tennessee High School music teachers nominated for Manilow Music Teacher Award
10 Middle Tennessee music teachers are in the running to win a cash prize, musical instruments and concert tickets from legendary Grammy Award-winning musician Barry Manilow, who will perform in Nashville on January 20, 2023. According to a news release, those 10 teachers are:

  • Nashville School of the Arts' Trey Jacobs
  • McGavock High School's John Hazlett
  • Antioch High School's Frank Zimmerer
  • Hillwood High School's Tyler Merideth
  • Franklin High School's Michael Holland
  • Hume-Fogg Academic High School's Anna Maria Miller
  • John Overton High School's Eleni Miller
  • Centennial High School's Johnathan Vest
  • Nolensville High School's Benjamin Easley
  • Mt. Juliet High School's Sandy Elliott

The Manilow Music Teacher Award is presented by The Manilow Music Project, a program of the Manilow Fund, and will see one music teacher from seven cities be recognized.

The winning teacher in each city will win a $5,000 cash prize and $5,000 in "Manilow Bucks" which can be used to purchase instruments for their classroom. The Manilow Music Teacher Award honoree will also be invited to an upcoming Barry Manilow concert and presented their award in a special backstage meet-and-greet.

Voting is open online until Dec. 28 to anyone 13-years-old or older. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude," Manilow said in a news release. Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.”

December 8, 2022 WCNC CharlotteVote now: Barry Manilow to honor music teacher at Charlotte concert
The legendary Barry Manilow is stopping here in Charlotte next month and wants to honor a local educator while he's here. Manilow announced that he would award a deserving music teacher with a VIP backstage experience during his Jan. 21 show at the Spectrum Center. “It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude," Manilow said. “Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools.” The teacher will also receive $5,000 and funding towards instruments for their school's music program. You can vote on a list of nominees suggested by the CMS school board on Manilow's website.
December 2, 2022 Las Vegas Review-Journal"Manilow returns for Christmas show after heart episode" by John Katsilometes
The Kats! Bureau is at International Theater at the Westgate, where the holiday showman just strode onstage, sang a chipper tune, then said, “Well, last night sucked!” Yep, Barry Manilow is back. The superstar had spent some of Thursday hospitalized, relating “There I was, having a baby, and ... But I’m fine! I’m fine! You can tell I’m fine! Don’t worry about me! I was worried about you guys!” There was a cheer. Then Manilow turned it on for, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” stirred with, “I Can’t Smile Without You,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” and “Singing To The World.”

This is “A Very Barry Christmas,” where Manilow delivers his hits alongside holiday classics. The set was set by a warm, video-projected fireplace; five Christmas trees; just enough poinsettias and snow that looks like piles of cotton. Oh, and more fake snow, falling gently from the balcony, a typical holiday experience in VegasVille. The 79-year-old superstar had missed Thursday’s holiday opener after suffering a case of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is an abnormal heartbeat. Manilow actually made his own heart race. He was zapped with a defibrillator, and was back in his sequined red jacked by Friday’s 4 p.m. start.

Manilow was spot-on musically, even if not on always on his spot onstage. Early he grabbed a stool and moved toward the crowd, then stopped and said, “Wait. I’m on the wrong spot.” He moved and asked the crowd, “Is this the middle?” The crowd shouted, “Yes!” To the assembled Fanilows, he was in the right place.

Manilow returned to some hospital shtick later in the show. It’s an anecdote he recites every show, about the bookings he took when working his way through The Julliard School. “I played a gig in a hospital once, and I went over to an older guy in a wheelchair, and I said, ‘I hope you get better,’” Manilow recalled. “And he said, ‘I hope you get better, too.’”

December 1, 2022 Las Vegas Review-Journal"Manilow postpones Christmas show opener due to heart problem" by John Katsilometes
Barry Manilow has cancelled his Thursday night show at Westgate’s International Theater to treat atrial fibrillation (or, AFib), which is an abnormal heartbeat. The 79-year-old superstar’s condition is not considered serious. He is to be treated and released at a Las Vegas hospital on Thursday night.

Manilow was to open his annual “A Very Barry Christmas” holiday production, which runs through Dec. 10. Manilow has shifted Thursday’s performance to a 4 p.m. matinee, followed by his usual 7 p.m. show time. The 4 p.m. start is a first for Manilow at the International.

Manilow was to be treated at a Las Vegas hospital on Thursday night to re-set his regular heartrate. The hotel issued a statement: “Barry sends his most sincere regrets for any inconvenience and looks forward to seeing everyone at (Friday’s) shows.”

December 1, 2022 8-News Now"Barry Manilow’s ‘A Very Barry Christmas’ show canceled for medical reasons" by Linsey Lewis
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Barry Manilow’s “A Very Barry Christmas” show at the Westgate Las Vegas was canceled on Thursday due to medical reasons. The Thursday night show was canceled due to Manilow’s atrial fibrillation (Afib). Manilow is currently being treated and will be fine, according to Westgate. The Westgate said that Manilow was looking forward to tonight’s performance and to make it up to fans who were planning to attend the show, he will be doing a rare second show on Friday at 4 p.m. in addition to the 7 p.m. show, the Westgate said.

When Where Articles/Reviews
November 16, 2022 Yahoo! NewsWorld of Westgate Presents Manilow: Hits 2023
POP SUPERSTAR BARRY MANILOW ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE LIMITED ENGAGEMENT ARENA TOUR

NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Music icon Barry Manilow today has announced dates for a special seven show arena tour presented by World of Westgate – MANILOW: HITS 2023 – set to begin this upcoming January. The exclusive run kicks off on January 13th at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL stopping at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Amway Center in Orlando, State Farm Arena in Atlanta and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, before before wrapping in Charlotte at the Spectrum Center on January 21st.

The tour will highlight the superstar's greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)."

BM QUOTE: "We are going to kick off 2023 having fun. I can't wait to see everyone!" said Manilow.

TICKETS: Tickets open with a presale November 17th, 2022 (code: SMILE)/ All tickets go on sale Friday, November 18th, 2022 at 10 AM local time on Ticketmaster.

MANILOW: HITS 2023 TOUR DATES:

Jan. 13, 2023 Sunrise, FL FLA Live Arena
Jan. 14, 2023 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
Jan. 15, 2023 Savannah, GA Enmarket Arena
Jan. 17, 2023 Orlando, FL Amway Center
Jan. 19, 2023 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
Jan. 20, 2023 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Jan. 21, 2023 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center

ABOUT BARRY MANILOW: Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning musician has had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

ABOUT WORLD OF WESTGATE: In 2022, Westgate Resorts launched the cutting-edge World of Westgate (WOW) Loyalty Program, a complimentary loyalty program that rewards Westgate Guests with prestigious perks and privileges at all Westgate locations nationwide. All guests can enroll for free in the program and gain benefits and experiences based on their tier level. Westgate Owners are eligible for the highest tiers of the World of Westgate Loyalty Program. Benefits vary by tier and include exciting items like annual resort credits, discounts on Spa Services and dining, and unmatched savings available locally and internationally on everyday household items, attractions, movies, sporting events and more! Other exciting benefits include discounted and complimentary resort & destination fees and resort waterpark admission, discounts on additional travel with Westgate of up to 40% off when booking direct and more. World of Westgate Loyalty Program Members who 'Vacation More, Get More.' All Loyalty members can enroll through WorldofWestgate.com, Westgate's Online Account Management portal or the Westgate Resorts Mobile App.

ABOUT OUTBACK PRESENTS: Outback Presents is the leading independent, full-service promoter of live entertainment. Based in Nashville, Outback Presents produces thousands of music and comedy shows, tours, and festivals annually across North America, connecting its diverse roster of artists with their fans.

November 17, 2022 Barry Manilow announces short 2023 arena tour
Barry Manilow is heading out on a short tour next year. The 79-year-old singer has announced a new tour, Manilow: Hits 2023, presented by World of Westgate. The seven-night, limited engagement arena tour will have Manilow performing some of his biggest tunes, including tracks like "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You" and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." The tour is set to kick off January 13 in Sunrise, Florida, hitting Tampa, Savannah, Orlando, Atlanta and Nashville, before wrapping in Charlotte, North Carolina, on January 21. "We are going to kick off 2023 having fun,” Manilow shares. “I can't wait to see everyone!" Tickets for all shows go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. local time.
November 17, 2022 "Barry Manilow Kicks-Off 2023 Tour at the FLA Live Arena" by Sharon Aron Baron
Music icon Barry Manilow has announced dates for a special seven-show arena tour Manilow Hits 2023 starting on Friday, January 13, at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s all-time best-selling recording artists. “We are going to kick off 2023 having fun. I can’t wait to see everyone!” said Manilow.

2023 also marks Manilow’s 50th Anniversary as a recording artist. The tour will highlight the superstar’s greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy, TONY, and EMMY Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

Tickets open with a presale today (code: SMILE). All tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com.

November 16, 2022 "Barry Manilow performing at Tampa’s Amalie Arena in January: It’s a miracle" by Josh Bradley
One of your mom's favorite showmen just announced a string of 2023 tour dates, including one in Tampa. Tickets to see Barry Manilow at Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Saturday, Jan. 14 are on sale now and start at a whopping $15.75.

The 79-year-old “Mandy” singer celebrates 50 years since the release of his eponymous debut album next July, and despite having already conducted a year-long farewell tour, which rolled into town in 2016, Manilow remains relatively active. He released a sequel to his 2014 album of Great American Songbook pieces right before COVID-19 lockdowns commenced, and still holds down hit-drenched residencies in Las Vegas.

Event Details -- Barry Manilow: Hits 2023; Sat., Jan. 14, 7 p.m.; Amalie Arena 401 Channelside Dr, Tampa

November 16, 2022 "Barry Manilow announces 2023 arena tour" by Buddy Iahn
Music icon Barry Manilow has announced dates for a special seven show arena tour called Manilow: Hits 2023. Presented by World of Westgate, the exclusive run kicks off on January 13th in Sunrise, FL stopping in Tampa, Savannah, Orlando, Atlanta and Nashville before before wrapping January 21st in Charlotte. The tour will highlight the superstar’s greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).” “We are going to kick off 2023 having fun. I can’t wait to see everyone!” states Manilow.

Presales are underway now with the general on sale set for Friday, November 18th at 10 am local time via Ticketmaster. Manilow continues his Westgate Las Vegas residency with dates scheduled through December 2023. Manilow turns the show into A Very Barry Christmas between December 1st and December 10th. Manilow: Las Vegas – The Hits Come Home! launched in 2018 at the International Theater stage at Westgate Las Vegas. The spectacular show is unlike anything Manilow has ever done with massive video walls, sets, and special effects – a non-stop evening of Manilow’s impressive catalog of Top 40 Hits. He has been named a “Best of Las Vegas” Best Resident Performer/Headliner by the Las Vegas Review Journal and was among the first inductees in the inaugural Las Vegas Magazine Hall of Fame. With the addition of 105 show dates into 2023, Barry Manilow firmly establishes his place as one of the greatest entertainers of all time, surpassing the record number of performances on the International Theater stage previously held by the one and only Elvis Presley.

November 16, 2022 Orlando Sentinel"Barry Manilow marks golden anniversary with tour including Orlando stop" by Patrick Connolly
Barry Manilow marks his golden anniversary as a performing artist with a limited engagement seven-city tour, which includes a stop in Orlando. Some marriages and careers stand the test of time and cross the 50-year mark. Next year, music icon Barry Manilow is marking his golden anniversary by going on tour. The singer-songwriter’s limited engagement “Manilow: Hits 2023″ tour will hit arenas in seven cities, including Anway Center in Orlando on Jan. 17. Manilow will also perform two other Florida shows in Sunrise and Tampa. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” said Manilow in a news release.

Barry Manilow is marking his 50th anniversary as a performing artist next year with a limited engagement tour. In Manilow’s 50-year career, he’s garnered accolades from the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards and the Emmy Awards. On his tour, the superstar will perform hits such as “Mandy,” “Can’t Smile Without You” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).” Tickets, which start at $18.50, go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Nov. 18. The Barry Manilow Fan Club presale begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 16 and other presales begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 17. For more information and tickets, visit amwaycenter.com or barrymanilow.com.

November 16, 2022 WSAV-TV"Barry Manilow to perform at Enmarket Arena in January" by Joseph Leonard
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Another big-name singer and songwriter is coming to the Hostess City next year. Barry Manilow will perform at the Enmarket [Arena] on Jan. 15, 2023. Tickets go on sale Friday Nov. 18. The concert is a part of the 79-year-old pop legend’s “MANILOW HITS 2023” tour. The Enmarket Arena opened it’s doors on Feb. 6 and has been booking high-caliber celebrity performers ever since. Some of those notable performers include the Eagles, Bon Jovi, Pitbull, Adam Sandler, Jason Aldean, DaBaby and more.
November 15, 2022 "Barry Manilow Coming To North Carolina In 2023" by Phil Harris
If the words “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl” mean anything to you, then you’re about to buy some concert tickets. WBTV reports Barry Manilow is launching a limited-engagement tour called “Manilow: Hits 2023” to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a performing artist and Charlotte is on his list. Manilow will be wrapping up the seven-date tour at Spectrum Center on January 21, 2023. Fans can look forward to hearing some of Manilow’s most famous songs including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” Weekend in New England,” “Looks Like We Made It” and, of course, “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

The ticket presale begins Thursday, November 17 with code SMILE. General public tickets go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 18 at ticketmaster.com or spectrumcentercharlotte.com. Here’s a complete list of his tour dates in January:

  • Jan. 13, 2023 – Sunrise, FL @ FLA Live Arena
  • Jan. 14, 2023 – Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
  • Jan. 15, 2023 – Savannah, GA @ Enmarket Arena
  • Jan. 17, 2023 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
  • Jan. 19, 2023 – Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena
  • Jan. 20, 2023 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
  • Jan. 21, 2023 – Charlotte, NC @ Spectrum Center
November 15, 2022 Atlanta Journal-Constitution"Barry Manilow coming to Atlanta for first time since 2017" by Rodney Ho
The Copa is open again as Barry Manilow hits the road in early 2023, including a stop at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Jan. 19. This will be his first visit to Atlanta since a stop at the Fox Theatre in 2017. Tickets will be available first in a presale Thursday, Nov. 17 (code: SMILE). All tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketmaster.com.

The 79-year-old crooner had a long run of huge pop hits in the 1970s and early 1980s including “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Copacabana,” all of which will be played at the concert. He has hinted in the past at doing a “final” tour but hasn’t indicated this tour will be his last. In 2015, he named his tour “One Last Time!” and stopped at what is now Gas South Arena. But he keeps on chugging along. He is currently doing a residency at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Here are the dates he announced Tuesday - MANILOW: HITS 2023 TOUR DATES:

Jan. 13, 2023 Sunrise, Florida, FLA Live Arena
Jan. 14, 2023 Tampa, Florida, Amalie Arena
Jan. 15, 2023 Savannah, Georgia, Enmarket Arena
Jan. 17, 2023 Orlando, Florida, Amway Center
Jan. 19, 2023 Atlanta, State Farm Arena
Jan. 20, 2023 Nashville, Tennesee, Bridgestone Arena
Jan. 21, 2023 Charlotte, North Carolina, Spectrum Center

November 15, 2022 Get ready! Barry Manilow coming to Charlotte for quick early 2023 tour: The tour will mark his 50th year as a recording artist
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Music icon Barry Manilow is hosting a seven-show tour that will end in Charlotte. The tour starts on January 13, 2023, in Florida and ends on January 21, 2023, at the Spectrum Center. It will mark his 50th anniversary as a recording artist. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” said Manilow in a press statement. He is behind hits like “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s all-time best-selling recording artists. The Grammy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning musician has had 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits. Tickets go on presale on Nov. 17 with code SMILE. General public tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Nov. 18 spectrumcentercharlotte.com or ticketmaster.com.

November 15, 2022 "Barry Manilow is playing Tampa in January: Tickets for the Jan. 14 show at Amalie Arena go on sale Friday" by Maggie Duffy
He writes the songs, and in January, Tampa Bay Fanilows will have the chance to hear Barry Manilow sing them. The Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy Award-winning musician comes to Amalie Arena on Jan. 14. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” Manilow said in a news release.

Known for hits including “Mandy,” “Looks Like We Made It” and the infectious “Copacabana (At the Copa),” Manilow is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a performer with a limited engagement arena tour. With just seven dates, the Manilow: Hits 2023 tour makes three stops in Florida in Tampa, Sunrise and Orlando.

Manilow is one of the world’s bestselling recording artists and is ranked number one Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard magazine. Tickets range from $15.75-$345.75 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com.

November 15, 2022 "'Manilow Hits 2023!' tour coming to Savannah's Enmarket Arena in 2023: The Grammy, Tony and Emmy-award winning Barry Manilow is coming to Savannah in 2023" by Graham Cawthon
With 50 Top 40 credits to his resume, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time best selling recording artists. And he'll bring all his hits with him when the Grammy, Tony and Emmy-award winning musician comes to Savannah in 2023. The 'Manilow Hits 2023!' tour stops by the Enmarket Arena on Jan. 15. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, November 18 at 10 a.m. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Manilow is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.
November 15, 2022 "Barry Manilow's bringing 50th-anniversary tour to Amalie Arena: Fans can look forward to performances of some of Manilow's most famous songs in January 2023" by Claire Farrow
TAMPA, Fla. — Calling all Barry Manilow fans — you know "music and passion" are "always in fashion," so "why not ask for more" of the pop superstar's performances? And if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you're in luck — Manilow is launching a limited-engagement tour "Manilow: Hits 2023" to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a performing artist and Amalie Arena in Tampa is on his list.

Fans can look forward to performances of some of Manilow's most famous songs including "Mandy," "I Write Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You" and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." He'll be in Tampa on Jan. 14 at Amalie Arena. If you can't catch him in Tampa, he will also have performances on Jan. 13 in Sunrise and Jan. 17 in Orlando.

To make sure you don't get "sent away," you can get your tickets starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 18. Tickets start as low as $16 and go up to $346. You can find more information and ticket prices by clicking here.

Here's a complete list of his tour dates in January -- MANILOW: HITS 2023 TOUR DATES:

Jan. 13, 2023  Sunrise, FL -- FLA Live Arena
Jan. 14, 2023 -- Tampa, FL  Amalie Arena
Jan. 15, 2023 -- Savannah, GA -- Enmarket Arena
Jan. 17, 2023 -- Orlando, FL -- Amway Center
Jan. 19, 2023 -- Atlanta, GA -- State Farm Arena
Jan. 20, 2023 -- Nashville, TN -- Bridgestone Arena
Jan. 21, 2023 -- Charlotte, NC -- Spectrum Center

November 15, 2022 "Barry Manilow’s 50th anniversary tour coming to Tampa’s Amalie Arena" by Athina Morris
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Barry Manilow is marking his 50th anniversary as a recording artist with a new tour that will come to Tampa in January. The soft-pop king has announced the dates for his seven-show “Manilow: Hits 2023” tour, which includes a stop at Tampa’s AMALIE Arena on Jan. 14. With hits like “Copacabana,” “Mandy,” and “Dancing in the Aisles,” the Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-winning artist has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, making him one of the world’s top-selling artists.

Tickets to his Tampa show will go on sale Nov. 18 on Ticketmaster.com, and cost between $15.75 and $345.75. Parking passes are available at ParkWhiz.com. For more information about the show, visit amaliearena.com or call 813-301-2500.

November 15, 2022 "Barry Manilow to perform at Bridgestone Arena next year" by Brittney Baird
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hitmaker Barry Manilow will perform in Nashville next year as part of his limited-engagement arena tour to mark his 50th anniversary as a performing artist. Manilow will play Bridgestone Arena on Jan. 20, 2023. His tour includes only seven performances with three shows in Florida, two in Georgia and one in North Carolina. “I look forward to this upcoming amazing year celebrating my personal milestone with my fans that have been with me throughout these many wonderful years,” said Manilow.

Manilow is one of the world’s all-time best selling recording artists, having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide. He has 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits. He is ranked as the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines. Tickets open with a presale Nov. 17 (code: SMILE) and all tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. local time on Ticketmaster.

When Where Articles/Reviews
November 4, 2022 Las Vegas Magazine"Barry Manilow is the new king of Las Vegas" by Ken Miller
I was never able to see Elvis Presley when he performed at the International, and so I can’t begin to imagine the energy level from the crowd at just one of his shows. But I have seen Barry Manilow, who performs in the same space as the King did those many decades ago. And I’m here to tell ya: I’ve seen a lot of concerts in a lot of venues, and nothing in my experience matches the electricity generated by a Manilow crowd.

I’d go so far as to say it’s what keeps Manilow going. The man is 79 years old! He has nothing left to prove; he’s earned the right to retire and rest on his many laurels. But yeah, if I was in his shoes and got the reaction he does every time he steps onto a stage, I’d probably be performing into my golden years, too!

Ask any Manilow fan who’s been to countless Manilow performances, and they’ll all say the same thing: Barry is the ultimate showman, a consummate entertainer who leaves everything on the field every single time. He may be pushing 80, but this dude’s stamina is legendary. And his fans are with him every step of the way, waiting for hours sometimes after a show to pose with him for photographs and autographs. We’ve all seen those concerts where entertainers point into the audience as if they spotted someone they know; at a Manilow concert, it’s a pretty good bet Manilow actually does!

And good news: Manilow is guaranteed to still be hard at it into next year, announcing 2023 dates, which, for those Elvis fans out there, will break his Las Vegas concert record! Manilow, in a statement, said, “I am honored and humbled to be performing on the same stage that the King once graced. Setting a new record for concerts at the Westgate Las Vegas International Theatre is a true privilege.”

That means at least one more year of favorites such as “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Copacabana”... more than I can realistically list in one writeup. Time to update the Las Vegas history books.

Westgate Las Vegas, Nov. 10-12, 17-19, ticketmaster.com

October 18, 2022 KTNV-13 ABCBarry Manilow extends Las Vegas residency
Barry Manilow is staying in Las Vegas for at least one more year. "Manilow: Las Vegas — The Hits Come Home!" will run through 2023. The upcoming year will mark Manilow's 14th year at the Westgate Resort & Casino and will set a new record for the number of concert performances in Las Vegas. 2023 will also mark his 50th anniversary as a recording artist. Pre-sales begin Wednesday at 10 a.m. with general sales starting Friday at 10 a.m.
October 15, 2022 Las Vegas Review-Journal"Barry Manilow closing in on Elvis’ Las Vegas show record" by John Katsilometes
Barry Manilow never met Elvis Presley. But the two are forever linked by the theater Elvis made famous and where Manilow is on schedule to break the King’s record for total performances.

International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas is the place, 636 is the number. Manilow has just released a new spate of dates in 2023, a total of 57 dates over 19 weekends starting Feb. 16 and carrying through to Dec. 9 (tickets range from $54.75 to $354.99, not including fees, on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com, barrymanilow.com or westgatelasvegas.com).

The record-breaking show should come in late September, after the Sept. 14-16 run but not yet booked. The superstar who made “Could It Be Magic” a classic will be feeling it that night. “It’s a very big moment for me, such an honor to have been working on a stage that he was on,” Manilow says during a phone chat. “Elvis was so before my time, you know. I was in high school, but of course you couldn’t get away from Elvis.”

Not then, and not now.

“Being in this room that he sat down in for a residency, just like I have, and to see my name in the same sentence is so amazing to me,” says Manilow, who turns 80 in June. “It’s a privilege. He invented a style of music, which is still popular today. How many people can say that?”

Manilow says he brings up Elvis to other artists and remains astonished at how deep his influence is. “You know, Billy Joel, one of the great songwriters, who doesn’t sound anything like Elvis, you mention Elvis to him and he just goes off,” Manilow says. “Elvis was one of his idols. It just goes on and on, with people you never would have expected to have connected with Elvis’ music and style.”

Manilow has studied the Presley career, even weathering his film career, movies that Manilow describes as, “Terrible. He was so much better than those movies.” But Manilow says of the Baz Lurhmann “Elvis” movie, “I loved it. Austin Butler played him beautifully; it was beautiful work.”

Manilow actually showed Lurhmann around the International Theater in pre-production (a replica for the film was rebuilt in Australia). “It looked just like it must have looked, with the banquettes back in the room and returned to the whole Elvis era.”

Manilow is considering a shuffle of the set list to include an Elvis classic, or a two-song medley. “I covered 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' on my 'Greatest Songs of the '50s' album, which I like a lot,” Manilow says. “I did my own arrangement on it. I could do that. I also do a pretty interesting arrangement of 'If I Can Dream,' another great one. I used to do it here when the hotel was the Hilton, and it went over great. I might do one or both of them.”

Apart from the new dates at Westgate, Manilow continues to navigate his passion project, “Harmony,” toward a Broadway run. The musical ran from April to May at “Harmony” at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in New York. “We’re in limbo, just waiting for a theater to open up,” Manilow says. “The Shuberts are going to give us a theater. It looks pretty good for us this spring, in April-May. But we had such a successful run, we got great reviews, and we’re hoping it can happen again for us.”

Manilow’s Christmas show is also being re-set at Westgate. “A Very Barry Christmas” is exactly that, a gush of holiday cheer running Dec. 1-10. “Oh, we have a Christmas show,” Manilow says with a laugh. “I love doing it. It’s a whole different show than we do year-round. I’ve got, I think it’s three Christmas albums. It’s great fun, and I have a whole bunch of Christmas songs ready to go.”

Manilow recalls his road schedule from years past. It was common for him to spend months on tour. Those memories make the Westgate series even more fulfilling. “We were on flights, not private planes, but commercial flights, for months at a time,” Manilow says. “We were very successful, but you know, it just finally got to me. I didn’t want to tour like that anymore. I’ll do 6-7 shows at a time, but I don’t want to do 16. Now me and the band get to play music and be with each other, and then go home and play with the dogs and actually have a life.”

As any Fanilow can recite, this is Manilow’s second run at the International Theater, dating to his original series that ran from 2005-2010, when the hotel was branded Las Vegas Hilton. He moved to Paris Theater for two years, closing in December [2011]. He returned to Westgate in May 2017.

His is the latest superstar residency where Barbra Streisand, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin, among many other legends, join Elvis as legendary headliners. “There has been so much entertainment history made on this property in the International Theater and we are so excited about the history Barry Manilow will be making in the coming year,” Westgate President and General Manager Cami Christensen says. “What is really special is watching and feeling the magic he brings to his audience and Westgate Las Vegas.”

Manilow is happy to bust out the 3D glasses, glow sticks and “Copacabana” boas through next year. Having spent 14 years total at the Hilton/Westgate resort, Manilow says he’s found his comfort zone. “I’ll tell you, when I was at the Paris, I had the most beautiful and expensive thing I’ve ever had anything to do with,” he says. “But I didn’t have as much fun as I’m having at Westgate. This is the right room for me. I like the size of it. I love doing shows in an intimate room, where I am connecting with people.”

When Where Articles/Reviews
September 2, 2022 Las Vegas Magazine"Barry Manilow returns to his hit Las Vegas residency" by Matt Kelemen
Everyone had their own way of dealing with lockdown lethargy. Barry Manilow, of course, expressed himself through song. “When Good Times Come Again” was released July 31 of last year, at the height of pandemic fatigue, with Manilow effectively making a lyrical vow to his loyal Fanilows, who faithfully attend his headlining residency at Westgate Las Vegas, which began in 2018.

“In this high and mighty world we live in/ Sometimes we have to break/ Sometimes we have to bend/ Until the good times come again,” he sings in the 2021 single, delivering another uplifting composition with lyrics that get imprinted in memory. He was back onstage within two months. The Fanilows rejoiced.

Manilow, who returns to Vegas to perform Sept. 15-17, has delivered many uplifting messages, some of which he didn’t write, but made memorable through his impassioned delivery. Baby boomers who read the lines, “I remember all my life/ Raining down as cold as ice” are likely to hear Manilow singing the chorus to “Mandy” in their heads in a voice that was ubiquitous on AM radio in the ’70s.

As far as his own songwriting, Manilow learned how to create melodic hooks when he was a jingle writer, before he began a life-altering gig as Bette Midler’s pianist. It’s impossible to think of “I am stuck on Band-Aid/ ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” or “Like a good neighbor/ State Farm is there” without thinking of the melodies.

Manilow recorded solo before producing Midler’s first two albums, but he was far more bankable afterward. He re-recorded “Could It Be Magic,” a song he had co-written with Tony Orlando that was based on a Chopin prelude for his self-titled debut album. It would become the beginning of a long-running relationship with producer Ron Dante, and the song would become a hit upon re-release several years later, but in January 1975 “Mandy” from Manilow II became his first No. 1 song. Arista Records executive Clive Davis had convinced a reluctant Manilow to record it.

Manilow found himself in possession of another No. 1 single in 1975 after releasing “I Write the Songs” by Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys. Manilow’s 1978 album Even Now generated more hits, including “Can’t Smile Without You” and co-written “Even Now” and “Copacabana (at the Copa).” The latter would turn out to be his most iconic hit and is a celebratory high point of his live shows. (For his Westgate show, this song includes a stage that descends from the ceiling, allowing Manilow to dance into the audience.) Manilow plays all his hits, with special segments devoted to his jingles and the very first recording he ever made as a child.

That’s a story for Manilow to tell himself at his shows. He comes back after a summer touring the Northeast and England, so he’s all warmed up for the Fanilows who would make it through any rain to catch their favorite star who promised he’d see them then, when the good times came again.

August 15, 2022 The Rhode Show"The Manilow Music Project" by Will Gilbert
We’ve all heard the stories of music programs in schools being cut. That is where The Manilow Music Project steps in. One local teacher received a check for $10,000 five of which will go to him and the other to the classroom.

When legendary singer and songwriter Barry Manilow was a high school student in Brooklyn, his school was ranked the most dangerous in all of America. Barry found a home in his high school orchestra class, which he credits for changing his life and molding him into the icon he is today.

The Manilow Music Project supports music education in a variety of ways, having donated thousands of instruments including hundreds of brand-new Yamaha pianos to hundreds of schools nationwide. In addition to instrument grants The Manilow Music Project also supports young musicians by offering merit and need-based scholarships to universities all over the US. To date, The Manilow Music Project has distributed more than $10 million in instruments and funds.

August 13, 2022 The Morning Call"Parkland High School's band director won a local contest to meet Barry Manilow at his Allentown tour stop" by Jenny Roberts
Born the son of a trumpeter and a former majorette, Jason Lerew’s career as a high school band director was predestined. Lerew recalls growing up in a “band family” in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, and watching his older brother, eight years his senior, play as a percussionist in the high school marching band. His parents regularly chaperoned band trips, he said, and as a young boy, he could hardly wait his turn to choose an instrument and join the band one day, too.

Now, decades later, Lerew, 54, is an avid clarinetist and saxophonist who has been Parkland High School’s band director for more than 30 years. The school community recently showed its appreciation for Lerew’s many years of service by helping him win the Barry Manilow Music Teacher Award. Lerew competed against eight other Lehigh Valley teachers from districts such as Allentown and East Penn. He came away with the most community votes, and as part of his prize, Lerew attended Barry Manilow’s concert at PPL Center Friday to watch the show and meet the man himself. “He is just such a classy guy,” Lerew said after meeting Manilow. “For as big of a superstar as he is, he was just really down to earth, and it’s refreshing to see that, and just so generous for him to do this.”

Manilow has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide and is best known for songs, like “Copacabana,” “Mandy” and “Could It Be Magic.” Lerew said he remembers growing up in the ‘70s listening to Manilow’s greatest hits and hearing classic jingles Manilow wrote, like “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonald’s.

Lerew said Manilow’s stage presence encouraged the crowd to sing along Friday night, and he enjoyed hearing the backstories to some of Manilow’s popular songs. “When he sang, ‘I Write the Songs,’ he really explained where that came from,” Lerew said. “He got his start by his grandfather taking him to this booth in Times Square, where you could record yourself singing ... and they actually showed a video of him as a young child with his grandfather ... so that was really cool to get that background.”

The PPL concert was one stop on Manilow’s special six-show arena tour, “Manilow: Hits 2022.” A local music teacher, like Lerew, was chosen as a winner at each tour stop based on local voting. Lerew and the other winners will each receive $5,000 in “Manilow bucks” to buy instruments for their school’s programs, and an additional $5,000 cash prize. He was up against some real stiff competition,” Greg MacGill, the former Liberty High School band director and a friend of Lerew’s, said about the Lehigh Valley teachers who participated in the contest. “All those folks are quality individuals that he was competing against, so I think it’s a real feather in his cap.”

The tour contests were run through The Manilow Music Project, which Manilow created in order to donate instruments to high schools and to give university scholarships to students throughout the country. “I really see this as an award for our band program, more than anything else,” Lerew said, noting some instruments he purchases for the school can cost up to $8,000. He added that some of the marching band instruments, such as the sousaphone, which is a member of the tuba family, and the mellophone, the marching band version of a French horn, can suffer wear and tear more quickly from being played outside regularly.

Since Lerew started at Parkland, he has seen the number of students in the band more than double from 70 students when he first started to 180 today. Lucy Schilling, a 2022 Parkland graduate, had Lerew for band class and said her mother Sue Schilling also had him as a teacher when she went to Parkland in the 1990s. Lucy Schilling, her mother and younger sister, who is also in the Parkland band, all voted for Lerew in the Manilow competition, she said. “The best decision I’ve made was to stick with band, and Mr. Lerew was a big part of that,” said Lucy Schilling, who will attend Penn State University in the fall. She is currently in the process of auditioning to play the trumpet in the Penn State Blue Band. “He was a great teacher, and if the teacher isn’t right, it’s hard to stay in something, even if you enjoy it,” she said.

“It’s really the teacher that makes it what it is.” Meredith Schmoyer, a rising senior at Parkland, plays clarinet in the band, and said Lerew’s guidance helped her earn first chair in the district competition last year for bass clarinet. He taught her what finger positions to use on the instrument and the importance of posture to breathing properly, she said. “Mr. Lerew is great,” Schmoyer said. “He is very welcoming to everyone new and really wants everyone to have fun and do band and be passionate about band.”

Carole Lutte, the former band director at Easton Area High School, plays with Lerew in the Allentown Band, along with MacGill. Lutte and MacGill both said they’ve seen Lerew’s success in growing Parkland’s band program throughout the years, as former band directors themselves, and added he’s a talented musician in his own right with the ability to sight read and fill in wherever the band needs him. Lutte, who plays the clarinet, said she and Lerew often talk about their instruments, such as which mouthpiece they’re currently using. Lutte also said she appreciates how Lerew regularly asks for feedback. “What keeps him in it, is that he knows that he’s got to keep learning as well,” Lutte said. “Jason has stayed in the pocket, because he’s constantly learning as well. Kids feel that, and they respect that.”

Lerew said his favorite part about his work is encouraging his students to keep music in their lives whether they pursue a professional music career like Manilow or not, he said. “Music is a part of life and living,” he said. “If you really pay attention, it’s all around us, and if you would take that away, take that music out of our lives, I think it would be a very dull and dry life.”

August 5, 2022 News 12 Long IslandBarry Manilow performs in Newark; donates $10K to East Side HS music program: A musical icon brought his hits to New Jersey, as well as a donation for a local high school
A musical icon brought his hits to New Jersey, as well as a donation for a local high school. Barry Manilow performed at the Prudential Center in Newark on Friday. He also donated $10,000 to the music department at Newark’s East Side High School. Half of the funds will go to music teacher Thaddeus Expose as part of a prize, while the rest will be used to purchase musical instruments. “I knew I was going to be in music as soon as I hit the keyboard on somebody's piano when I was a kid. I knew it. The music was going to get me out of the slums of Brooklyn, and it gave me a whole life,” Manilow says.

Manilow made Newark the second stop on his summer arena tour and at each of the cities he's visiting, he will present a local music educator with a donation. Manilow says music opened countless doors for him, and now it can do the same for the students. “Fans, strangers who love what I do, they gave me what I have. And I'll always be grateful to them for that. But music started the whole thing,” he says.

The donation came from the Manilow Music Project. The Prudential Center also matched the amount, bringing the total donation for East Side High School to $20,000. "It's obviously to give back to the students in the arts, to give them the opportunity to purchase instruments and that's much needed," says Sean Saadeh, executive vice president of entertainment at Prudential Center." Expose was among several nominated New Jersey teachers and was selected through an online vote.

When Where Articles/Reviews
August 3, 2022 The Morning Call"Barry Manilow, set to play Allentown, reveals secrets behind the songs and personal triumphs" by James Wood
Ranked by Billboard as the No. 1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all time, Barry Manilow’s unparalleled career involves performing, recording, arranging, and producing virtually every style of music. With more than 85 million albums sold, he is ranked as one of the world’s all-time best-selling artists, with timeless classics including “Mandy,” “I Write The Songs,” “Could it Be Magic,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Weekend In New England,” and “Copacabana (At The Copa).”

On August 12, Manilow will bring his musical legacy and arsenal of hits to Allentown’s PPL Center as part of his “Hits 2022 Tour.” On every stop on the hitmaker’s East Coast jaunt, he will recognize an outstanding educator with the Manilow Music Project’s Music Teacher Award. Each honoree will receive a $5,000 award plus another $5,000 in “Manilow Bucks” to purchase instruments for their school’s music program. The winning teacher for the Lehigh Valley performance is Parkland High School’s Jason Lewrew. I spoke with Manilow about his new tour, music, and some of the most memorable moments of his career.

James Wood for The Morning Call (TMC): What can fans expect from your performance at PPL Center in Allentown?
Barry Manilow (BM): There were years that I was out doing shows with medleys of big band songs and show tunes and album cuts. These days, I know what people want. They want to hear the songs they know and I’m happy to give it to them. I’m very lucky that I’ve got 90 minutes of hit records that I can go to. Every song is familiar to audiences. They sometimes sing even louder than I do at these shows and we all have a great time together. With the world the way that it is being an entertainer is a big responsibility. So, the lights will go down, the doors will close, and I’ll get to take them into a place that feels safe, joyful, and full of music. That’s my job and I love doing it.

TMC: After so many years of touring, how do you approach the songs and lyrics in order to keep them fresh, both to you and to the audience?
BM: I’ve always been able to interpret a lyric instinctively, but when I went to acting classes I found rules on how to keep a lyric fresh every night by using a different person in the audience and singing to them. So I might sing “This One’s For You” to Grandpa and I’ll imagine his face in front of me. I do that with all the songs. Every night is different and every night is fresh because I never know who’s going to come up in my mind. If I just had to sing the lyric every night I do think they’d eventually become tiresome, but because I do it this way they never become stale.

TMC: Next year marks the 50th anniversary of your debut album. When you look back at it now with so much perspective, what thoughts come to mind?
BM: It was exciting and thrilling. During those years singer-songwriters were the big deal and every record label was looking for their own James Taylor or Carole King. Bell records heard my demo and me singing my songs and offered me a record deal as a singer-songwriter and not just as a songwriter, which is what I thought they would want. They wanted me to sing so I said, “Sure” because I’d be able to get my music out there, but I never thought in a million years that I’d wind up being on a stage performing. It was exciting to make that first record because it had “Could It Be Magic” and other songs I really believed in. I thought I’d make the album and that would be the end of it, but it wasn’t.

TMC: What can you tell me about the Music Teacher Awards you’re giving out via the Manilow Music Project?
BM: Whenever cuts are made in schools, the music department is always the first thing to go. I started the Manilow Music Project when I found out that schools were running out of instruments. A few years ago we did a contest for the best band where we had videos of high school bands. It was exciting but also horrifying to see the shape these instruments were in that these kids have to play. This year we’re looking for the best music teacher in every city we’re performing in. We’ve been getting a lot of suggestions. Whoever gets the most votes will get five thousand dollars for themselves and another five thousand to purchase instruments. I hope it inspires people to send instruments to their schools because they’re running out of them.

TMC: This fall you’ll be returning to Las Vegas for residency engagements. How did it all come about?
BM: I stopped touring regularly a few years ago because I was away from home more than I was at home and it eventually caught up to me. We were going out for months at a time and I sometimes didn’t even know where I was [laughs]. It’s a young person’s gig now. I stopped touring but I didn’t want to retire, and by luck we got an offer to do a residency at The Westgate, which allowed me to keep my band and crew and to continue to write and perform. Now and again, we put together a small tour like this one and I do go out and it’s a lot of fun.

TMC: Are there any new projects you’re working on?
BM: We’ve got a new album coming out in the next few months. I’ve been making albums lately that have concepts to them, like big bands, showstoppers, and decades. This one is an all-original album of material like the Even Now or This One’s For You album. I haven’t done one like this in years. They’re pop songs that my collaborators and I have written and they have something in them that’s missing on the records on the radio today, and that something is a melody [laughs]. It’s a Barry Manilow album from the old days, and I loved making it.

TMC: Of all the highlights of your career is there anything that stands out to you as most memorable?
BM: Meeting Princess Diana when she had just gotten married was a big one. I remember we did a benefit for one of their charities. The two of them [Charles and Diana] were there and she was so young and was such a fan. It was like meeting one of the 18-year-old fans. She couldn’t look at me or say anything and kept looking at the ground. She was so shy and he [Charles] was so surprised that she’d be so gob-smacked for an American singer like me. They were both young, beautiful and in love. I can still remember exactly where we were and what they looked like. I’ll never forget that meeting. It’s one of my top five memories.

When Where Articles/Reviews
July 27, 2022 Broadway World"Grammy-Nominated Saxophonist Dave Koz to Join Barry Manilow's Summer Arena Tour MANILOW: HITS 2022 - Manilow and Koz last performed together in 2014 on Manilow's ONE LAST TIME tour" by Chloe Rabinowitz
Music icon Barry Manilow will welcome chart-topping, GRAMMY nominated saxophonist Dave Koz this summer for MANILOW: HITS 2022. The exclusive run kicks off on August 4th at TD Garden in Boston, MA stopping at Prudential Center in Newark, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, PPL Center in Allentown, PA and Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, before wrapping in Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center on August 14th. Manilow and Koz last performed together in 2014 on Manilow's ONE LAST TIME tour.

Koz met Manilow over 20 years ago when Manilow asked him to play on one of his albums, "Here at the Mayflower" (2001). Koz later invited Manilow to sing on his album "At the Movies" (2007) on the song "Moon River," and when Koz received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Manilow was there.

"Dave Koz is one of the most gifted musicians and entertainers in the music business," said Manilow. "Everyone who knows him will agree, he is also one of the most beautiful human beings. No doubt we are going to have a great time this summer."

"I am so thrilled Barry asked me to join him on his arena tour this summer," said Koz. "When we tour together, we always have such a blast, and there is nothing like Barry Manilow fans; they always come to have a great time, and no doubt it's going to be a party!"

The tour will highlight the superstar's greatest hits. Manilow, a Grammy, TONY, and EMMY Award-winning music icon and whose success is a benchmark in popular music, will perform an array of his hit songs, including "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Copacabana (At the Copa)."

MANILOW: HITS 2022 TOUR DATES:

  • Thu August 4th - Boston, MA - TD Garden
  • Fri August 5th - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
  • Sat Aug 6th - Belmont Park, NY - UBS Arena
  • Fri August 12th - Allentown, PA - PPL Center
  • Sat August 13th - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center
  • Sun August 14th - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center

About Barry Manilow: Barry Manilow's unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, and producing. A 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, Manilow has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received Grammy, Emmy, and TONY Award and has been nominated for an Academy Award. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time bestselling recording artists. He's had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits, and is ranked the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

About Dave Koz: In a recording career that spans three decades, saxophonist Dave Koz has racked up an astoundingly impressive array of honors and achievements: nine GRAMMY nominations, 12 No. 1 albums on Billboard's Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, performances for multiple U.S. presidents, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. A Platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.

For more information on Barry Manilow please visit: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tik Tok

July 14, 2022 Yahoo! FinanceBARRY MANILOW ANNOUNCES MUSIC TEACHER AWARD TO COINCIDE WITH HIS SUMMER ARENA TOUR 'MANILOW: HITS 2022': Each Tour City Nominating Their Favorite Music Teacher for VIP Experience to Show Including Tickets and Back Stage Award Presentation with Barry Manilow
NEW YORK, July 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Music icon Barry Manilow announced today his Manilow Music Project will once again award a deserving music teacher in each city of his summer arena tour.

The Grammy award winner previously announced a special six-show arena tour run that kicks off on August 4th at TD Garden in Boston, MA stopping at Prudential Center in Newark, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, PPL Center in Allentown, PA, and Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, before wrapping in Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center on August 14th.

Every venue on Manilow's tour has participated by suggesting schools and teachers in their area that they wish to be considered for this award. In each city, the winning teacher will receive a 5K cash award and another 5K in "Manilow bucks" to purchase music instruments for their school's music program.

"It is wonderful to partner with our concert venues to identify schools and music teachers in their neighborhoods that deserve this small token of my gratitude, said Manilow. "Many school music programs have either been terminated, or their funds have been severely depleted. I always want to do my part through The Manilow Music Project to keep music in schools."

The Manilow Music Project is pleased to open voting to anyone who has ever been moved by the power of music to vote for their favorite music teacher. It has given away over ten million dollars' worth of funds and music instrument donations.

MANILOW: HITS 2022 TOUR DATES, TEACHERS, AND VOTING LINK -- https://on.barrymanilow.com/tb_app/476124

Thu August 4th – Boston, MA – TD Garden: Hilary Bridgen of Littleton High School, David Carkner of The English High School, Mary Costello of Winchester High School, Mariana Green-Hill of Boston Arts Academy, Adam Grossman of Newton North High School, Teresa Herfindahl of Josiah Quincy Upper School, Krystal Morin of Boston Green Academy, Guillermo Nojechowicz of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Dr. Sonya White-Hope of Boston Latin Academy.

Fri August 5th – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center: Mario Banks of Science Park High School, Latasha Casterlow-Lalla of Passaic Prep, Joseph Dolahan of New Jersey Regional Day, Ishwann Dixon of University High School, Thaddeus Expose of East Side High School, Ariel Fiekowsky of Eagle Academy, Veronica Lawrence of Barringer High School, Lawrence Liggins of Arts High School, Andre Robinson of West Side High School.

Sat Aug 6th – Belmont Park, NY – UBS Arena: Aisha Ali of Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (Queens), Anissa Arnold of Herricks High School (Long Island), Marino Bragino of Long Beach High School, Chris Doherty of Sewanhaka High School (Long Island), Karl Himmelmann of Southold Junior-Senior High School (Long Island), Clare Jackson of Harborfields High School, Christopher Mandato of East Hampton High School (Long Island), Thérèse Mannino of Farmingdale High School, Michael Schwartz of Great Neck High School (Long Island), Barry Wyner of Lynbrook High School.

Fri August 12th – Allentown, PA – PPL Center: Lawrence Flynn of Louis E. Dieruff, Allen Frank of Liberty, Edward Hong of Whitehall, Jason Lerew of Parkland, Mike Moran of Freedom, Eric Moser of William Allen High School, Julia Wallace of Emmaus High School, Rachel Reinecke of Salisbury, John Shilanskas of Easton Area High School.

Sat August 13th – Providence, RI – Dunkin' Donuts Center: Morgan Bott of Kizirian Elementary School, Emerson Brown of Classical High School, Andrew Mangini of Lima Elementary School, Suzanne Doiron of Gilbert Stuart Middle School, Michael Fitzgerald of Hope High School, Emily Holleman of Broad Street Elementary School, Virginia Jacobs of Fogarty Elementary School, Wayne Kilcline of Sackett Elementary School, Danielle Lucini of Mount Pleasant High School, Chad Mazzarella of George W. West Elementary School, Steve Toro of Moses Brown School.

Sun August 14th – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center: Ted Blohm of Archbishop Ryan, Michael Borton of Waldron Mercy Academy, Brian Cox of Central Bucks High School South, Charlie DiCarne-William, of William Tennet High School, Krisnoel Jennings of Spring-Ford Area Schools, Jeff McCoach of Methacton High School, Kim Phillips of Carl Sandburg Middle School, Rachel Sandhaus of Foundations Charter School, Jon Timmons of Souderton Area High School, Kimberly Yocum of Grover Washington Jr. Middle School.

Barry Manilow's unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, and producing. A 2002 Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee, Manilow has triumphed in every medium of entertainment. He has received a Grammy®, Emmy®, and a TONY Award® and has been nominated for an Academy Award®. Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world's all-time bestselling recording artists. He's had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles, including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits, and is ranked the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

When Where Articles/Reviews
June 11, 2022 3News (Las Vegas)Barry Manilow receives key to the city on 'Barry Manilow Day'
June 10 will now be known as 'Barry Manilow Day' in Las Vegas. Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman announced on Saturday that singer Barry Manilow had recently received a key to the city.
27 June 2022 Ilkley Gazette"Barry Manilow: A feel-good event of the year | Review: Barry Manilow at first direct arena, Leeds, June 25, 2022" by Sara Jane Perovic
As fast as rain clouds gathered over a bustling Leeds city centre, so too did faithful fans, off to spend the evening with their favourite global superstar at undoubtedly one of the best feel-good events in years. Barry Manilow made a show-stopping appearance at Leeds City Centre Arena on Saturday 25 June and the 79-year-old superstar wowed an adoring audience of fans young, old and in-between with a joyful journey through his most memorable music proving the old songs really can bring back the old times.

It is a surreal experience to be in the presence of such a prolific performer and for many his songs have been the soundtrack of their lifetimes with more than 85 million records sold world-wide. Manilow is one of the biggest-selling artists of all time and hyping the crowd was a mega-mix of his most celebrated music. Fans danced, cheered and applauded the much-loved star with befitting standing ovations and he most certainly wrote the songs that made the whole crowd sing.

Manilow’s music has stood the test of time and hearing these marvellous melodies made for an emotional evening. An exhilarating shot of pure unbridled entertainment that proved to be the perfect antidote to the troubled times of today.

With a career spanning seven decades and Manilow classic crowd-pleasers such as Mandy, Could it Be Magic and Copacabana, the soon-to-be octogenarian belted out the best of his ballads from Even Now to Weekend in New England. This was a polished performance delivered in an affable style with a set-list that showcased his inimitable and unparalleled talent.

Flanked by three foxy backing singers and a world-class ten-piece band, this consummate professional bedazzled the star-struck concert-goers as the stage was set ablaze with a coruscating kaleidoscope of colour. Manilow’s presence radiated from the stage and his personality sparkled almost as much as the stunning jewels that adorned his multiple jacket changes.

Highlights included technical wizardry that enabled Manilow to duet with his 1970’s self and an endearing tale of how his grandfather was instrumental in his future musical career. Technical issues took out the sound at one point but the star carried on like a true trouper and his seven decades of experience shone through.

American jazz singer Curtis Stigers supported Manilow and his gravelly distinctive voice cut through the crowd with a set list that included I Wonder Why and All That Matters to Me.

Manilow most definitely succeeded in brightening everyone’s day but now it already seems light years away as the greatest showman heads home to the USA for his up-coming Las Vegas residency.

27 June 2022 LeedsLive"Barry Manilow 'smitten with Britain' on emotional final night of tour which turned Leeds into Las Vegas: The superstar pulled out all the stops, and all his extravagant jackets, to delight buzzing Leeds fans" by Lucy Marshall
When you're looking for a night of powerful iconic music performed by the greatest showman, look no further than Mr. Barry Manilow. For the last show of his 2022 tour, the 79-year-old lugged his hundreds of sparkly suit jackets, and band to Leeds. Fans were eager to get inside First Direct Arena on Saturday (June 25) to see the superstar after Covid left them waiting months and months for the show.

Barry himself was struck down by Covid not so long ago but showed no signs of any lingering illness as he was up on his feet all night and sung his heart out to an animated audience smiling from ear to ear last night.

The crowds of fans, waving their glow sticks high in the air, were singing from the start to the end of the show along with him. He kicked off with It's A Miracle, boasting a bright red sequin jacket, and accompanied by an incredible band who put on a grand show that transported the audience to the likes of a Las Vegas show. "He is having the time of his life up there", one fan pegged. Barry had a glint in his eye as his sang with passion which amplified into the audience.

He played old clips of his first rise to fame but now, despite his age, his singing is more powerful and smooth than ever before, as the years have made his voice stronger and stronger. He referenced when he first began performing and came to the UK. "I'm smitten with Britain", he said as he spoke about his love for Brits and nights on stage in London during the '80s.

The audience offered a standing ovation after every song, and towards the end of the show fans were seen stood up for the rest of the show dancing and waving their arms in the air. Could It Be Magic delighted fans, and their eyes lit up as the set changed into an exotic paradise for Bermuda Triangle.

But of course everyone waited with bated breath for Copacabana. The singers came on stage with beautifully colour costumes with bright yellow feathers attached. And of course Barry changed his jacket - this time to a bright orange one dazzled with sparkles. Fans chuckled as the charismatic showman turned around and the words 'COPA' were written in crystals on the back of his jacket.

The show was full of surprises and the atmosphere was exhilarating from the very start to the end of the show. Barry's fans were taking through a whole host of emotions, and transported into Las Vegas and Bermuda.

The singer became emotional as he spoke about it being the final night of the much-anticipated show. He left the stage with a beaming smile, and his generosity beamed through.

24 June 2022 The Scotsman"Music review: Barry Manilow, Hydro, Glasgow" by Fiona Shepherd
Barry Manilow likes to shake his stuff with the best of them. For some years now, his intro music has been a curveball megamix of Underworld and Fatboy Slim rave faves. But essentially a Manilow extravaganza is a trip back to the Seventies, a time when melody was king. Presumably this is what he hears in the music of his special guest Curtis Stigers, though Stigers’ wide-ranging set encompassed works by Gershwin, Nick Lowe, gospel blues standard John the Revelator and his own Nineties power ballads given a jazz quartet treatment.

Stigers might have the blues but Manilow in his late 70s has now acquired a gruffer vocal tone of his own which agrees with his old school material, from the Vegas pzazz of the opening It’s A Miracle to the lovely weathered nostalgia of Stay.

There was not an ounce of excess fat on Manilow or his utterly pro show, a slick non-stop cavalcade of hits which featured the fastest costume changes in showbiz yet felt unhurried, which allowed for regional variations (telling a delighted audience that "you put a tilt in my kilt”) and some nostalgic indulgence with a lovely story about his grandfather's glowing support, which squeezed in some deeper cuts, including the Ian Hunter song Ships, and some time-honoured impish audience banter during Weekend in New England.

Along with his impeccable band, Manilow was as committed to the ultimate cheese of Bermuda Triangle and a suitably feathered Copacabana as to the overwrought dramatic balladry of I Made It Through the Rain and I Write the Songs, the peerless Mandy and the Chopin-inspired classic Could It Be Magic. Mindful of his Russian Jewish heritage, he gave Let Freedom Ring a Ukrainian spin and, at the last gasp, was joined by a gospel choir for a reprise of It's a Miracle.

23 June 2022 ChronicleLive"Barry Manilow pauses Newcastle concert after 'rude' reaction to lyric: Music legend Barry Manilow pulled in a very enthusiastic crowd at Newcastle's Utilita Arena on Wednesday night" by Simon Duke
Barry Manilow was briefly thrown off his stride at his Newcastle show on Wednesday night after some very vocal fans reacted enthusiastically to a particular song lyric. Barry was last in Newcastle in 2016 on his One Last Time tour, but, thankfully for his fans, that tour's title didn't prove to be correct as, after his latest string of UK dates were significantly postponed due to the Covid pandemic, he is finally back in Britain performing all his many hits.

With a career spanning over five decades, the now 79-year-old has built up a huge following and there was a lot of love for him in Tyneside, from the moment he walked onto the stage, through to the moment he waved goodbye. Early crowd pleasers included show opener It's A Miracle, I Can't Smile Without You, which came complete with sing-a-long lyrics on screen and soaring and inspiring ballad Looks Like We Make It.

While he's very much at ease when he's front and centre of the stage in his more up-tempo numbers Barry is also very inch the showman when he's sat at his grand piano and it was when he was tinkling the ivories to another one of his classics, Weekend In New England, that things took a rather suggestive turn. The chorus of the hit song begins: 'When will; our eyes meet? When can I touch you?' and it was the second line that instantly sparked wild screams from some of the Geordie crowd. Looking slightly flustered, Barry was momentarily speechless, before letting out a little chuckle and commenting: "My hands are busy now!"

Ever the consummate professional, Barry continued on with the song, with an impressive key change as it reached its crescendo. Other highlights of a hits filled set, included recent single Dancing in the Aisles, Could It Be Magic and the anthemic I Write The Songs. As the clock ticked down to the end of proceedings, Barry cheekily asked 'does anyone want to hear Copacabana?' Of course they did and that one went down a storm, before Let [Freedom] Ring and a reprise of It's A Miracle rounded things off.

22 June 2022 ChronicleLive"Barry Manilow brings Las Vegas to Newcastle and proves why he's still the greatest showman: Barry Manilow was on top form as he performed all the hits at Newcastle's Utilita Arena on Wednesday night" by Simon Duke
When you try and think of someone who is a consummate and charismatic showman you truly need to look no further than Barry Manilow. Six years after he last graced the stage at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena, the man who had given us so many classic songs over the years, was finally back on Geordie soil, albeit significantly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Barry himself was struck down by Covid not so long ago but showed no signs of any lingering illness as he delighted his captive audience from the get-go on Wednesday night.

Starting with fan favourite It’s A Miracle, Barry was quickly into his stride, pulling out one of his calling cards early doors in the shape of Can’t Smile Without You, which sparked a mass sing-along. While Barry is now 79-years-old, he still has a magical glint in his eye and a youthful vigour that comes through in his performance with real exuberance. And, as well as being commanding all the attention with his performance, Barry warmed hearts with a story about how his grandad got him into singing from a young age, before poignantly dedicating Song for You in his memory. Another note perfect number from the opening part of the show came courtesy of Even Now, which saw Barry go through the octaves with effortless ease.

One of the highlights of his set, preceded by a stylish and sax-drenched support set from Curtis Stigers, was a medley of his more recent single and unlikely TikTok smash Dancing in the Aisles, delivered alongside fool-proof crowd pleasers Dancing in the Streets and Let’s [Hang] On. From then on in it was anthem after anthem after anthem. Could it be Magic proved its pop pedigree yet again, with one of Barry’s finest ballads I Made It Through the Rain following it as the man of the hour showcased the versatility and talent that has led to him having such a long lasting and illustrious career.

The hairs on the back of your neck can’t fail to stand up at the way Barry delivers I Write The Songs; as far as anthemic ballads go, it’s up there with the best. In complete contrast to that track, but just as emphatic in the reaction it ALWAYS receives, Copacabana was a feather laden fabulous affair, which saw the already well hyped crowd, dancing like they were at a Rio carnival. The security at the arena definitely earned their wages as some of the over zealous ‘Fanilows’ kept trying to get closer to their idol the whole way through the gig.

Many fans might have assumed that Copacabana would be the last song of the night, but instead that honour went to Let Freedom Ring, which saw Barry flanked by a local gospel choir, the American flag and, in a heartfelt gesture, and an apt one given the political inspiration behind the lyrics, the Ukrainian colours as well.

He might be close to being an Octogenarian but Barry’s vocals are as impressive as ever and his stage presence and passion for his craft are still totally top notch. Wednesday was the night Las Vegas came to Newcastle and, in Barry, his fans hit the jackpot with the main attraction.

20 June 2022 The Telegraph"Barry Manilow: Britain’s love affair with easy listening’s greatest showman blazes on: The 79-year-old pop icon is as cheesy as they come, but the mutual affection between him and the O2 Arena crowd was something to behold" by James Hall
Harry Styles wasn’t the only sequinned pop icon wowing his generation in London on Sunday night. Across town from his Wembley Stadium show, Barry Manilow served up a series of evergreen hits in a concert that resembled a karaoke party in a retirement home. The New Yorker may be 79 and cheesier than a slice of pizza pie, but his sweet-toned songs demonstrated music’s alchemic ability to form seams in people’s memories, spread joy and bond a crowd, whatever their age.

There wasn’t a word left unhollered by his 20,000 fans at the O2. When they changed the line in 1985’s Sweet Heaven (I’m In Love Again) from “I’ll sing it on the radio” to “We love you Barry Manilow”, the roof nearly came off the place. The chunky neon glow sticks that attendees were given on arrival were waved aloft throughout, the rave-up vibe helped by the fact that Manilow’s entrance music was – bizarrely – Underworld’s Born Slippy.

Manilow walked to the centre of the stage and struck a “ta-da” arms-out pose, at which point the lights burst on and we were off. Wearing a brown satin sparkly jacket (the first of many throughout the show), he played upbeat mid-Seventies easy listening track It’s A Miracle. This was precisely the kind of song from which disco emerged – just add a funkier rhythm guitar and heavier four-on-the-floor drum beat, and you’d be there. And it was when disco was at its zenith in 1978 that Manilow broke through in the UK with Even Now, the album which contained his infectious, Latin-infused track Copacabana. “We met in 1978. I fell in love with you guys,” Manilow told the audience, addressing them like a long-lost partner. “And from then on I was smitten with Britain.”

Manilow grew up in post-war Brooklyn (“rough... kind of like Slough, but without the charm”). On Saturdays, his grandfather would walk him to a 25-cent record-your-own-song booth in Manhattan’s Times Square; in a poignant moment, we got a snippet of one of these recordings. He attended the New York College of Music, wrote jingles and became pianist – then producer – for Bette Midler. He achieved fame with his cover of Scott English and Richard Kerr’s song Brandy, changing the title to Mandy.

In 2017, Manilow came out as gay and said he’d been in a relationship with his manager (now his husband) since 1978. He’d kept his sexuality secret for fear of disappointing his fans. He really needn’t have worried. Can’t Smile Without You sounded like a mutual manifesto. Looks Like We Made It, This One’s For You and I Write The Songs were big, brassy ballads for which Manilow sat at a grand piano. Unlike other touring musicians his age, his voice is still strong.

Mandy and Could It Be Magic – slower than Take That’s 1992 cover version – saw the glow sticks raised even higher. For Copacabana, Manilow donned a bright orange jacket while his backing singers wore yellow feather carnival outfits. It was manna from heaven for the ecstatic crowd. He ended with the stirring Let Freedom Ring, backed by a choir and in front of a vast Ukrainian flag. “America and Britain have a lot in common,” Manilow said at the start of the song. “We both love democracy. We both love freedom. And we both love me.” The roar from the crowd suggested that easy listening’s greatest showman wasn’t wrong.

17 June 2022 Manchester Evening News"Could it be Magic? Barry Manilow puts on a show at the AO Arena: Barry Manilow belied his years with a singing, dancing bonanza - as well as making a show of solidarity with Ukraine" by Louisa Gregson
As a self confessed indie girl my idea of musical heaven would probably be watching an as yet undiscovered band in a Camden pub. So never did I think I would find myself queuing up at the AO Arena to watch Barry Manilow. But as it was one of only two acts on my mum's 'bucket list', there was no way I was passing by an opportunity to go with her and make it happen, even if it meant reviewing by proxy. As Manilow made his entrance, in a red sparkly jacket and black pants with sparkles down the side I was impressed with a 78-year-old man being so trim and so uber energetic.

It became clear why Manilow has been labelled as 'the showman of our generation' as his charm, charisma and comedic quality was as abundant as his sequined blazers. The atmosphere at the AO Arena was as warm as the beautiful summer night and Manilow may have been on to something when he said: "England has so much in common with America. They both love freedom, they both love democracy... and they both love me." There was certainly a whole lot of love in the arena and Manilow cranked up the nostalgia and the sentimentality as on the screen behind him appeared images of past album covers and pictures of him in his younger days.

Barry Manilow's career encompasses performing, composing, arranging and producing. With worldwide record sales exceeding 85 million, he is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time with over 50 Top 40 hits including 12 no 1s and 27 Top 10 Hits.

The audience listened, gripped, to his sweet story of his grandfather taking him as a small child to a booth where for 25 cents you could make your own record - and trying to get him to sing. A reluctant Manilow was captured on record being coerced by his grandfather who later led Manilow's first standing ovation at the Carnegie Hall - just feet away from the booth, and played out to the audience before he launched in to a song in his memory: This One's For You.

The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning musician’s career skyrocketed to superstardom when his mega hit song, Mandy, topped the charts in 1975 and the audience watched footage of a young Manilow in a pale blue shirt singing the hit at the piano, before Manilow took to the piano on stage, wearing a jacket of the same colour, to perform it live all these years later. The nostalgia and emotion had my mum in floods of tears.

Other highlights included Could It Be Magic, Can't Smile Without You and Dancin' In The Aisles and Manilow continued to engage with the audience, cracking jokes, telling stories - including the time he met The Queen - and declaring himself "Smitten with Britain." He also thanked the audience for being there not just following his career since the 70s but for returning to see him after Covid had delayed his planned performances. As the show drew to a close three flags dropped down - the American flag, a Union Jack and the Ukrainian flag - to cheers from the crowd.

Everyone was up on their feet dancing for the finale song of Copa Cocabana, complete with backing singers wearing yellow feather boas and Manilow in a glittering orange jacket with Copa emblazoned on the back. My mum, singing away, said she had loved every minute and never thought she would ever have been watching Barry Manilow. Neither did I....but I am glad I did.

June 16, 2022 Press Release
(SOURCE: STILETTO Entertainment)
STILETTO Entertainment Presents Barry Manilow Tonight at Manchester's Sold Out AO Arena
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Barry Manilow is currently on tour in the U.K. For tour dates in the U.K. and the U.S., please visit www.barrymanilow.com. "The US and UK have something in common. We love democracy. We love freedom. We love Ukraine. Let Freedom Ring!" – Barry Manilow.

When Where Articles/Reviews
June 11, 2022 3News (Las Vegas)Barry Manilow receives key to the city on 'Barry Manilow Day'
June 10 will now be known as 'Barry Manilow Day' in Las Vegas. Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman announced on Saturday that singer Barry Manilow had recently received a key to the city.

When Where Articles/Reviews
May 16, 2022 Broadway WorldBarry Manilow, Bruce Sussman & Warren Carlyle at Curtain Call for the Final Performance of HARMONY: Mentions were made of the show transferring to a larger Broadway stage
Last night, Off-Broadway saw the closing night of the new musical Harmony at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Joining the cast on stage at the curtain call were the creators, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, along with the director/choreographer Warren Carlyle. The evening also celebrated the announcement of the original cast recording, which was recorded this past weekend. Surprising the audience, Manilow appeared on stage with his co-creators and said, "I'm Barry Manilow...the Composer," and the house went wild. Cheers also erupted when mentions were made of the show transferring to a larger Broadway stage by a team of commercial producers led by Ken Davenport, with Sussman saying, "I'd like to think of today as only the end of the beginning!"

The musical today received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical as well as eight Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Score of a Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Director and Choreographer of a Musical, among others.

Starring Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess, the cast included Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, Steven Telsey, Jessie Davidson, Ana Hoffman. The ensemble included Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Kolby Kindle, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O'Shanick, Dan Teixeira, Nancy Ticotin and Kate Wexler.

The NYTF off-Broadway production of Harmony was co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D'Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Mapleseed Productions, Harold Matzner, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment.

May 15, 2022 Playbill.com"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Ends Off-Broadway Run May 15: Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the musical about the Comedian Harmonists" by Andrew Gans
The Off-Broadway production of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony, which officially opened April 13, ends its limited engagement May 15. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents the musical, which began previews March 23 in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Tony winner Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the production. Read the reviews here.

The Manilow and Sussman musical, recently nominated for eight Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, will get an original cast recording produced by Manilow and Lawrence Manchester. The cast headed into the recording studio this weekend with a release date to be announced. Jill Dell’Abate is the production manager for the recording.

The cast features Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Little Mermaid) as Mary with Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as the elder Rabbi. Playing the six Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies), and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson is Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) as Josephine Baker. Kenny Morris (Hairspray) is the standby for Zien’s Rabbi. The ensemble includes Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Kolby Kindle, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Dan Teixeira, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

The musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

The production has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc., casting by Jamibeth Margolis, associate direction and choreography by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, and music direction and additional vocal and music arrangement by John O’Neill.

Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Visit NYTF.org.

May 12, 2022 Broadway World"HARMONY: A NEW MUSICAL Original Cast Album Set To Be Recorded: The original cast album will be produced by Barry Manilow and co-produced by Lawrence Manchester" by A.A. Cristi
Harmony: A New Musical, starring musical theatre icons Chip Zien (Into the Woods, Caroline, Or Change) and Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera), has announced the recording of their original cast album, to be produced by Barry Manilow and co-produced by Lawrence Manchester. Jill Dell'Abate is the Production Manager.

The Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman hit has also been nominated for eight Outer Critics Circle Awards, tied with Kimberly Akimbo for most musical nominations. Nominations:

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Chip Zien
Outstanding Director of a Musical - Warren Carlyle
Outstanding Choreography - Warren Carlyle
Outstanding Book of a Musical - Bruce Sussman
Outstanding Score - Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman
Outstanding Orchestrations - Doug Walter
Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical) - Dan Moses Schreier

The sold-out production runs through May 15th.

Elisabeth Vincentelli of The New York Times said, "In case you were wondering what it feels like to cry under a mask, there is a good chance you will find out."

A.D. Amorosi of Variety said, "Every element of "Harmony" clicks in place like a gorgeous puzzle," and "'Harmony' feels like a mega-watt Broadway musical, but in Battery Park."

David Finkle of New York Stage Review called the musical "crackling-good."

And Chris Jones of the New York Daily News praised the production, reporting, "The show is superbly sung throughout... the numbers are rich and stylish and the story quite enveloping...Manilow and Sussman's inherent optimism as songwriters gives the show that freedom. It should grab it and find its way to Midtown."

Written by the legendary Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman and directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle, Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

For tickets to Harmony, visit NYTF.org or call 855-449-4658. Contact 212-655-7653 for all other inquiries.

May 12, 2022 Playbill.com"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Will Get Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording: Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the musical about the Comedian Harmonists" by Andrew Gans
The current Off-Broadway production of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony, which officially opened April 13, will get an original cast recording, produced by Manilow and Lawrence Manchester. The cast will head into the recording studio the weekend of May 13 with a release date to be announced. Jill Dell’Abate is the production manager for the recording.

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents the musical, which began previews March 23 in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Tony winner Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the production. The Manilow and Sussman musical, which continues through May 15, was recently nominated for eight Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical.

The cast features Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Little Mermaid) as Mary with Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as the elder Rabbi. Playing the six Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies), and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson is Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) as Josephine Baker. Kenny Morris (Hairspray) is the standby for Zien’s Rabbi.

The ensemble includes Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Kolby Kindle, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Dan Teixeira, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

The musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

The production has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc., casting by Jamibeth Margolis, associate direction and choreography by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, and music direction and additional vocal and music arrangement by John O’Neill.

Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer.

Visit NYTF.org.

May 9, 2022 People"Barry Manilow Announces 'Manilow: Hits 2022' North American Arena Tour Dates" by Jack Irvin
Barry Manilow is getting ready to hit the road! The 78-year-old legendary musician has announced a string of North American tour dates billed as "Manilow: Hits 2022," which will span six arenas across the country in August with jazz saxophonist Dave Koz appearing as an opening act.

Kicking off Aug. 4 at Boston's TD Garden, the tour will make stops in Newark, New Jersey; Belmont Park, New York; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; and wraps Aug. 14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The newly announced dates follow Manilow's United Kingdom tour, which features seven arena concerts set to occur in June. Fans can purchase tickets for Manilow's US tour dates through Live Nation's presale beginning Thursday, May 12 using the code FINALE. General on-sale tickets will become available Friday, May 13 at 11 a.m. EST via Ticketmaster.

Last week, Manilow spoke to PEOPLE about his upcoming tour and said despite not always enjoying the exhausting life on the road, he's excited to reconnect with fans onstage. "I am looking forward to maybe not the road, but to be playing for big groups of people. I don't know why, but my music seems to be holding up," Manilow said. "There are big audiences that really love hearing 'Can't Smile Without You' and 'Copacabana' and 'Mandy' and 'I Write the Songs,' so I'm a very grateful guy that they're still out there."

Elsewhere in the interview, the musician revealed he's working on a new album. "I'm hoping that there's an audience out there for songs like I make," Manilow told PEOPLE. "What you listen to on the radio... There's a lot of great rhythm, but there's no melodies on the radio. My albums, of course, are filled with melody, and so is this new album. There's still melodies," he continued. "Maybe there's an audience out there for that."

See below for Manilow's 2022 tour dates.

June 16 - Manchester, UK - AO Arena
June 17 - Birmingham, UK - Resorts World Arena
June 19 - London, UK - The O2
June 20 - Cardiff, UK - Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
June 22 - Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK - Utilita Arena Newcastle
June 23 - Glasgow, UK - OVO Hydro
June 25 - Leeds, UK - First Direct Arena

Aug. 4 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
Aug. 5 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
Aug. 6 - Belmont Park, NY - UBS Arena
Aug. 12 - Allentown, PA - PPL Center
Aug. 13 - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center
Aug. 14 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center

May 7, 2022 The Valley LedgerEngagement Arena Tour: 'MANILOW: HITS 2022' Coming to the PPL Center August 12th
Grammy award winner and music icon Barry Manilow has announced a special six show arena tour – MANILOW: HITS 2022 – taking place this August with special guest David Koz. Produced by Live Nation, the exclusive run kicks off on August 4th at TD Garden in Boston, MA stopping at Prudential Center in Newark, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, PPL Center in Allentown, PA and Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, before wrapping in Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center on August 14th.

TICKETS: Tickets go on sale starting Friday, May 13th at 11am local time on Ticketmaster.com. PRESALE: American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Monday, May 9th at 10AM local time through Thursday, May 12th at 10PM local time.

MANILOW: HITS 2022 TOUR DATES:

Thu Aug 04 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Fri Aug 05 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Sat Aug 06 – Belmont Park, NY – UBS Arena
Fri Aug 12 – Allentown, PA – PPL Center
Sat Aug 13 – Providence, RI – Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Sun Aug 14 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center

Having sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s all-time bestselling recording artists. He’s had an astonishing 50 Top 40 singles including 12 #1s and 27 Top 10 hits and is ranked at the #1 Adult Contemporary Artist of all-time, according to Billboard and R&R magazines.

About Live Nation Entertainment: Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Sponsorship. For additional information, visit www.livenationentertainment.com.

About PPL Center: PPL Center (pplcenter.com), nominated by Pollstar as Best New Major Concert Venue, is a state-of-the-art multipurpose venue in downtown Allentown, PA. The arena seats more than 10,000 for concerts and more than 8,500 for Lehigh Valley Phantoms professional hockey games, making it the region’s largest events venue. The amenities-packed PPL Center will host more than 150 events each year, offering something for everyone, including the Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, live concerts, family shows, trade shows, figure skating events, youth sports, high school and collegiate events, Disney on Ice, conferences, graduations and many more events. PPL Center is currently the main catalyst to the revitalization and growth of downtown Allentown. Oak View Group provides the Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Corporate Partnerships at PPL Center.

May 6, 2022 Broadway World"Barry Manilow Announces Exclusive Limited Engagement Arena Tour 'Manilow: Hits 2022': Tickets go on sale starting Friday, May 13th at 11am local time" by Michael Major
Today, Grammy award winner and music icon Barry Manilow has announced a special six show arena tour - MANILOW: HITS 2022 - taking place this August with special guest David Koz. Produced by Live Nation, the exclusive run kicks off this August, including UBS Arena at Belmont Park on Saturday, August 6.

UBS Arena at Belmont Park  is  made for music and built for hockey. New York's newest premier entertainment and sports venue and home of the New York Islanders is developed in partnership with Oak View Group, the New York Islanders and Jeff Wilpon. Providing a significant boost to the regional economy, the world-class entertainment venue, with its timeless and classic design, bridges its iconic past with today's advanced technology and amenities. The $1.1 billion multi-purpose, state of the art arena opened in November 2021 and has welcomed top artists including Harry Styles, Sebastian Maniscalco, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Genesis and TWICE.

The venue will host more than 150 major events annually while delivering an unmatched live entertainment experience including clear sightlines and premier acoustics. UBS Arena is designed to accommodate 19,000 people for concerts and 17,255 for NHL games. In an effort to build a greener future, UBS Arena intends on being carbon neutral for operations before 2024, which will make it the first arena to do so on the eastern United States seaboard.

Tickets go on sale starting Friday, May 13th at 11am local time on Ticketmaster.com. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Monday, May 9th at 10AM local time through Thursday, May 12th at 10PM local time.

MANILOW: HITS 2022 TOUR DATES

Thu Aug 04 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
Fri Aug 05 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
Sat Aug 06 - Belmont Park, NY - UBS Arena
Fri Aug 12 - Allentown, PA - PPL Center
Sat Aug 13 - Providence, RI - Dunkin' Donuts Center
Sun Aug 14 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center

When Where Articles/Reviews
May 5, 2022 "Barry Manilow's New Dr Pepper Ad Made Him Nostalgic for His Jingle-Writing Days: 'It Paid the Rent' - The superstar opens up to PEOPLE about Dr. Pepper's new Dark Berry flavor campaign, bringing his musical Harmony to New York for the first time, and when Fanilows can expect a tour and new music" by Jack Irvin
Barry Manilow didn't realize what he was getting into when Dr. Pepper approached him to be the face of the campaign for the soft drink's limited edition Dark Berry flavor. "I thought it was going to be the commercial that I did years ago," the 78-year-old "Copacabana" icon tells PEOPLE, referencing a 1974 advertisement that saw Manilow perform the first-ever Dr. Pepper jingle -- "The most original soft drink ever in the whole wide world" -- written by Randy Newman. Instead, the beverage brand asked him to star in a commercial for Dark Berry, in which he jokingly claims only people named "Barry" are permitted to drink the fan-favorite black currant, blackberry, and black cherry flavored soda — which is back in stores for a limited time this Spring. "They sent me this very flattering presentation about why they wanted Barry Manilow to do this," he says of the campaign. "I would've said yes even if it was terrible -- but it wasn't terrible. It was very witty and fun."

It makes sense for Manilow to assume Dr. Pepper would want to reuse the jingle he originated for the brand, as the prolific singer-songwriter wrote and/or performed several memorable commercial jingles prior to his pop music career. Many of them are still in circulation today, including tunes he wrote for State Farm ("Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.") and Band-Aid ("I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me.") "I lucked into doing commercials back when I was a starving musician," says Manilow, who knows how popular his jingles remain to this day. "They have been airing 'State Farm is there' for over 40 years. It's my greatest hit!"

Collaborating with Dr. Pepper again 50 years after performing the brand's first jingle evoked feelings of nostalgia for Manilow and served as a reminder of just how long he's been successfully working in the entertainment industry. "When I walked onto the set and I saw the Dr. Pepper logo behind me, it took me right back to the '70s… I didn't expect it to hit me that hard," he says. "It brought me right back to those years when I was a struggling songwriter and I lucked into writing commercials. It paid the rent for many years."

With a catalog of hit songs under his belt and the support of his many "Fanilows," luckily he no longer has to worry about paying rent. These days, Manilow's much more focused on Harmony, the musical he wrote over 25 years ago with longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman that's finally made its way to New York City's National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, where it's running through May 15.

Harmony tells the true story of a singing group called the Comedian Harmonists, who formed in 1920s Germany and earned international fame through live performances and several released albums and films. But a few of its members were Jewish, and as their popularity increased, so did the presence of Nazis, who opposed the group and its values. "They forbid them to sing. They forbid anybody to sell their albums. They destroyed everything that they had done," details Manilow. "They were totally obliterated from our world. Bruce and I watched the documentary on them and said, 'Who are these people, and why don't we know them?'"

Over the years since the musical was written, Manilow and Sussman have held productions of Harmony in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, but never on stage in the coveted theater capital of New York City -- until now. Minutes before leaving his home to attend the show's opening night, however, Manilow tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss out. "It was like a cruel joke that after all these years I couldn't go to my own opening night, but I'm feeling great now," he says. "Everything got better the morning after because we got beautiful reviews."

Manilow's currently making plans to see Harmony before it closes, but even without seeing the musical in the flesh, he's feeling the love — it's received eight Outer Critics Circle Nominations and "with a little luck" will hopefully move to an on-Broadway theater following its current run. "I'm knocking on everything I can find now," he quips after sharing the info.

After nearly three decades in the making, the positive response and accolades received by Harmony so far have been validating. "All I can tell you is when you elieve in something, don't give up," says Manilow. "We believed in it for all these years. Now that we've landed in New York in this beautiful theater, it just goes to show that if you stick with it, maybe it'll work for you. We couldn't be more grateful."

On the horizon, Manilow's working on an official cast recording of the musical's songs to be released soon, as well as a brand-new album of original songs created amid pandemic lockdown. "I'm hoping that there's an audience out there for songs like I make. What you listen to on the radio... There's a lot of great rhythm, but there's no melodies on the radio," he details. "My albums, of course, are filled with melody, and so is this new album. There's still melodies. Maybe there's an audience out there for that."

Fanilows can also look forward to catching the superstar perform live throughout the UK in June as well as on a soon-to-be-announced six-date North American arena tour, set to occur later this summer. He's generally not a fan of the exhausting life on the road, but after a couple of years away from traveling due to the pandemic, he's ready to reconnect with his audience. "I am looking forward to maybe not the road, but to be playing for big groups of people. I don't know why, but my music seems to be holding up," Manilow says humbly. "There are big audiences that really love hearing 'Can't Smile Without You' and 'Copacabana' and 'Mandy' and 'I Write the Songs,'" so I'm a very grateful guy that they're still out there."

When Where Articles/Reviews
April 21, 2022 Playbill.com"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Extends Off-Broadway World Premiere Run: Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the musical about the Comedian Harmonists" by Logan Culwell-Block
Off-Broadway's Harmony, which opened at the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust via National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene April 13, has extended its New York premiere run. The production will now continue through May 15.

Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. The cast features Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Little Mermaid) as Mary with Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as the elder Rabbi.

Playing the six Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies), and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson is Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) as Josephine Baker. Kenny Morris (Hairspray) is the standby for Zien’s Rabbi.

The ensemble includes Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Kolby Kindle, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Dan Teixeira, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

The production has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc., casting by Jamibeth Margolis, associate direction and choreography by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, and music direction and additional vocal and music arrangement by John O’Neill.

Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Visit NYTF.org.

April 13, 2022 Playbill.com"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Opens Off-Broadway April 13: Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the musical about the Comedian Harmonists" by Andrew Gans
The long-awaited New York debut of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony officially opens Off-Broadway April 13. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents the musical, which began previews March 23 in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Tony winner Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the production, currently scheduled to run through May 8.

The cast features Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Little Mermaid) as Mary with Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as the elder Rabbi. Playing the six Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies), and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson is Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) as Josephine Baker. Kenny Morris (Hairspray) is the standby for Zien’s Rabbi.

The ensemble includes Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

The musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

The production has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc., casting by Jamibeth Margolis, associate direction and choreography by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, and music direction and additional vocal and music arrangement by John O’Neill.

Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Visit NYTF.org.

April 8, 2022 The New York Sun"They Write the Songs - This Time for the Musical ‘Harmony’ -- Barry Manilow is closer than ever to finally realizing one of his youthful ambitions: composing Broadway musicals" by Elysa Gardner
Once upon a time, a Brooklyn boy dreamed of composing Broadway musicals. Barry Manilow got sidetracked, though - first as a jungle writer, arranger, and pianist for other artists (including a young Bette Midler), then as one of the biggest pop stars of the 1970s.

Nearly half a century on, Mr. Manilow is closer than ever to finally realizing his youthful ambitions. The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production of “Harmony,” which pairs his music with a book and lyrics by longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, opens April 14 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park City.

Although the venue may not be quite Times Square, the staging is helmed by a Tony Award-winning director/choreographer, Warren Carlyle — currently represented uptown by the blockbuster revival of “The Music Man” — and includes two other Broadway veterans in its cast: Chip Zien, whose many credits include the original productions of “Into the Woods” and “Falsettos,” and Sierra Boggess, whose silvery soprano and winsome presence have been featured in shows ranging from “The Phantom of the Opera” to “School of Rock.”

“Harmony” boasts the kind of ambitious storytelling that began distinguishing much of musical theater during its Golden Age. The show traces the rise and fall of the Comedian Harmonists, a German vocal group consisting of six men — three of them Jewish — who enjoyed great success in the late 1920s and early ’30s. The rise of the Third Reich made its existence increasingly untenable, and then dangerous, and ultimately forced its dissolution.

Mr. Sussman says he was inspired after watching Eberhard Fechner’s black-and-white documentary of the group at a Public Theater screening in the early ’90s: “It was such a compelling story. I called Barry from a pay phone in the street, and I said, ‘I think I’ve found the piece we’re looking for, to musicalize.’”

Mr. Manilow had previously written music and lyrics for “The Drunkard,” a musical that enjoyed 48 performances at the Street Theatre off-Broadway in 1970. Years before that, as a kid growing up in Williamsburg - “when Williamsburg was a dump,” he points out - he had learned to play both Jewish folk songs and show tunes on the accordion. “I memorized the overture to ‘The Most Happy Fella’ on the accordion, and that’s a complicated score: That’s how much I loved that show, and all the others I was listening to as a teenager.”

Manilow and Sussman also collaborated on a musical theater adaptation of the hit song “Copacabana,” staged at London’s West End in 1994; Mr. Carlyle was featured in the production, as the lead bolero dancer, and kept in touch with its creators.

“Then a few years ago, Bruce and Barry called and asked if I would consider reading or listening to ‘Harmony,’” Mr. Carlyle recalls. “I knew of it, because it has this theatrical folklore” — conceived more than two decades ago, the musical has been workshopped since, and earlier incarnations have been staged at Los Angeles’s Ahmanson Theatre and Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre — “and I just loved the book and lyrics. I found them very evocative, easy to create to. And nobody writes a melody line like Barry; he writes these long, beautiful, aching lines.”

After Covid struck, the three men wound up meeting regularly on Zoom, and the show evolved substantially. “We figured, we’ll be off for a year and a half; let’s just try something new, see if there’s another angle,” Mr. Sussman says. “And we came up with something very different.”

Mr. Zien’s character, for instance, is a new addition; an elder version of one of the Harmonists — called “Rabbi,” in a nod to his former occupation — he provides narration and reflection. (Ms. Boggess plays the younger Rabbi’s sweetheart, Mary.) Mr. Carlyle was inspired by a screen adaptation of another musical set in the same era: “Bob Fosse’s brilliant film of ‘Cabaret’ was in my head — the idea of this dark, chaotic world with beautiful art being created in the middle of it.”

Different parallels to current events have also emerged during the development and rehearsal process. With the onset of war in Ukraine, for instance, Mr. Carlyle realized that “a lot of our second act is staged with suitcases, with people running across Europe.”

As Mr. Sussman notes, though, the musical “is also about harmony, in the broadest sense of the word. These young men found harmony by being collaborators. Barry and I met 50 years ago this May 31, and what we do best is collaborate.”

Mr. Manilow agrees. “When Bruce sends me a lyric, I hear the melody before I get to the piano. We could have written three more hours of song for this show, because the story is so deep. It just moves me, the humanity of it.”

April 6, 2022 Jewish Standard"Harmony: The Folksbiene presents an English-language, history-based musical by Manilow and Sussman" by Joanne Palmer
For a few glorious years, the Comedian Harmonists, a German singing group that logically enough merged comedy and harmony -- “they were a cross between Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers,” Barry Manilow, the singer and songwriter, said -- were internationally famous and wildly successful.

Starting in the late 1920s, they made movies, they filled theaters, and they went and they toured and they conquered. And then Hitler came to power. Half of the group was Jewish, which made it entirely undesirable. Their way down was fractured and sad; all of the singers survived, which of course was a massive accomplishment, but their music died, and pretty soon the world’s memory of them died as well.

In 1997, a German filmmaker made a movie about the Comedian Harmonists. That film, also called “Comedian Harmonists,” did very well in Europe -- according to Wikipedia, then-President Bill Clinton said that it was one of his favorites that year -- but it didn’t do particularly well in the United States. But some Americans saw it. One of them was Bruce Sussman, a lyricist and frequent collaborator of Barry Manilow’s - Mr. Manilow would write the melodies and Mr. Sussman would contribute the lyrics - who, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, was a Long Island Jew, born in 1949. Mr. Manilow was born in 1943, in Brooklyn. Mr. Sussman presented the idea of making a musical about the Comedian Harmonists to Mr. Manilow, and they started to work on it. That’s how “Harmony” was born, more than 20 years ago.

Much has happened since then; the musical’s production originally was stopped by the September 11 terrorist attacks. The show was too dark, and there were no dark-skinned terrorists in it, for either fear or comic relief. So, for a while, that was that. “Harmony” was revived a few times, but it never really went anywhere. Until now.

The show is in previews at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, way at the tip of lower Manhattan; it will open on April 14 and run through May 8. It’s been rewritten to adapt to the present moment, although of course its story has not changed. As always, the Folksbiene balances between tradition and change.

Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck, the Folksbiene’s artistic director, had talked about bringing “Harmony” to the theater before, but those discussion had petered off. “But a few years ago I thought about it again, and I had Barry Manilow’s contact information, so I called him, and asked him if it was something that he still was interested in doing,” Mr. Mlotek said. “And he said, ‘Well, it’s funny that you should ask.’”

Big-name Broadway producer Ken Davenport had bought the option for it, Mr. Mlotek said, “and he was looking for a smaller theater to try it out in New York first.” As it happened, Mr. Mlotek had exactly the right kind of theater at hand. So the talks restarted, and “we ultimately made a deal where we would present it here, with Ken Davenport co-producing it, and meanwhile he got several other producers involved as well. We started reading it two years ago, and we did readings for invited guests, and we got excited about it. And then the pandemic happened.” The pandemic still is not over, but for now it’s abated. All sorts of work on “Harmony” happened while everyone still was on Zoom, including auditions. And now it’s about to open.

“Harmony” is different from most of the Folksbiene’s other productions in that it’s in English, although, as Mr. Mlotek pointed out, “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” also had been in English. And “it’s huge. It’s the biggest production we’ve ever done. It’s bigger than ‘Fiddler.’” That’s the widely acclaimed Yiddish-language version of “Fiddler on the Roof” that the Folksbiene created, produced, and kept on stage for an unprecedentedly long time before it moved to off-Broadway, and was about to begin tours both in North America and around the world before the pandemic shut everything down.

It’s not that it has more actors than “Fiddler,” Mr. Mlotek continued; it has about the same number of people onstage. There are about 25 in the cast, and nine in the orchestra. But “it’s a bigger production, with more elaborate sets. They use a lot of projections, and it’s quite beautiful. Hundreds of costumes were created for it.”

Many of the people working on the production, both onstage and behind the scenes, are well known on Broadway. “We are blessed to have Warren Carlyle as director and choreographer.” Mr. Carlyle choreographed the Hugh Jackman “Music Man” that’s playing on Broadway now, as well as the pre-pandemic “Kiss Me Kate”; he won a Tony for choreography in 2014, as well as many other awards, for both choreography and direction. “He gathered a design team of Tony award winners and it’s quite a who’s who in the Broadway world. Our theater has never looked like this before.”

As for the content of “Harmony,” “It tells a unique story,” Mr. Mlotek said. “I don’t know Manilow and Sussman’s level of observance, I don’t know to what extent they are practicing Jews, and I don’t think they’ve ever undertaken anything like this before. I don’t think they’ve written anything overtly Jewish like this before, and I find it compelling for that reason as well.”

The musical leaves audiences thinking; musicals don’t always do that, but Folksbiene productions do. “You’ll come away, I hope, with a sense of the historical moment,” Mr. Mlotek said. “Hitler’s Germany, prior to the atrocities, did a major destruction of what it called degenerate art. So here were artists who made hundreds of records and 13 movies and were popular all over the world.” But because some of them were Jewish, their work was devalued and then destroyed.

“That’s the serious takeaway,” Mr. Mlotek said. “But from the entertainment point of view, you will come away having heard a brand-new score by Manilow and Sussman, and wonderful performances.” And then, of course, there is the knowledge of Ukraine “that hangs now over everything we do,” he continued. It hangs over this production too, and is on the minds of everyone involved with it.

“We just did a Purim show online where we contributed money to HIAS,” the agency formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. “Everyone in the Jewish world and beyond is doing whatever they can. We Jews have always had a responsibility for our brethren,” he continued. “In my generation, that was the Soviet Jewry movement. Before that, my grandparents raised money for the refugees in Europe in the 30s. The world came together for the Six-Day War.” But it’s not just about Jews.

“Now, when you talk to people of a certain age, they equate the Ukrainians with the Cossacks,” he said. “But we are talking about a different period. A different time. A different world. Ukraine has a Jewish president, and it has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world today. How can you not help them? And from a Jewish point of view, the scariest thing we can imagine is having a madman with so much power. Who knows what his intentions are?” Everything ties together, he continued. “I think of my Yiddish ‘Fiddler.’ It takes place in Ukraine. Sholem Aleichem hailed from Ukraine.” Everything connects.

Zal Owen plays Harry Frommermann, who founded the Comedian Harmonists. He grew up in Westfield, and now he, his wife, and their baby live in Maplewood, along with “a ton of other actors and artists,” he said. “Harmony” shows how “the group started to become famous -- it took a little time -- and then they became world famous. They toured Europe, and came to America. “Act I is a Golden Age musical,” the kind of happy show where characters sing and dance and make the audience purr with content as the actors bumble their way to happily ever after. “It does have some dark spots. And then Act II has some comedy, but it’s darker, as they’re forced to stop performing.”

There’s a message to the show, Mr. Owen said, “like other works of art have. Perhaps different people will take it differently - it might be never forget, or hope or anger or sadness. “It’s not just a story about the Holocaust. It’s about real people.” The show moves from period to period; the framing device presents it as the memories of the last of the troupe to die, as he reacts to the death of the next to last of them to go. That’s played by Chip Zien, a Broadway regular who’s been the Baker in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and Mendel in William Finn’s “Falsettos.” He’s been on too many television shows to list.

Mr. Owen is young, but he already has an impressive list of credits. His Broadway debut was in “The Band’s Visit,” and he played Motel the tailor in national tours of “Fiddler,” opposite both Harvey Fierstein and Theodore Bikel, among many other parts. He’s also deeply Jewish. “I feel an obligation to tell this story,” he said. He’s not the direct descendant of a Holocaust victim or survivor, but some of his great-great-aunts and -uncles, who did not leave when his great-great grandfather did, were murdered by the Nazis. “Right before the pandemic, my father and I went to the town in Poland where my family came from,” he said. “I had an unbelievably powerful trip.”

That does inform the way he plays the role, he said. “The characters in ‘Harmony’ didn’t know where they were going when everything started going bad. The real people couldn’t have foreseen the actual horrors. I think that something I took from my trip, from having visited Auschwitz and Treblinka and Majdanek, is that it is happening now in the world. How did things get that bad? How did no one stop it? “I know where my character would have ended up if he hadn’t left.”

Mr. Owen went to school at Solomon Schechter in Cranford; that school was folded back into Schechter in West Orange and then became the Golda Och Academy. His family belongs to Temple Beth Ohr in Clark, where his father, Howard Spialter, was president of the congregation, and his mother, Elise Spialter, was the president of the sisterhood. Both he and his sister, Kayli, were presidents of their USY chapter, and now he and his wife belong to Congregation Beth El in South Orange. “We’re so honored to be able to tell the story of the Comedian Harmonics,” Mr. Owen said. “And at this theater, and to these audiences that are coming to see it. We are so honored.”

At an interview at the museum, sitting in front of windows that framed the Statute of Liberty, Mr. Manilow and Mr. Sussman both talked to CBS’s Peter Haskell. Mr. Sussman talked about how the film about the Comedian Harmonics made it clear to him that he had to write a musical about them. “I told Barry that this was the story we’ve been looking for,” he said.

“It was about the quest for harmony in the broadest sense of the word, in what turned out to be the most discordant chapter in human history,” Mr. Manilow said. “And I said, ‘Let me at it.’ Their success was meteoric - they sang with Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker,” he continued. “And they were on a collision course with history.”

“We wrote the first act as a golden age musical, and then we deconstructed it in the second act,” Mr. Sussman said. “And this building, which was built as a place to encourage remembering - we knew we had the right place, and now we have the right time. People are telling us that it is resonating more than ever. It might be construed that we were writing it to the headlines, but it’s more the other way around. I wrote it years ago, and now the headlines are mirroring what I wrote.”

Information about tickets is on the Folksbiene’s website, nytf.org.

April 5, 2022 NJ.com"Barry Manilow Las Vegas residency 2022: How to buy tickets, schedule, new musical" by Matt Levy
His name is synonymous with Las Vegas. Pop singer Barry Manilow has been performing in the “Entertainment Capital of the World” since 1988 wowing crowds with his stable of hits that include smashes like “Copacabana,” “Mandy” and Dancing in the Aisles” to name just a few. Now, he’s got just 15 more concerts scheduled at the Westgate Las Vegas Casino and Resort as part of his “The Hits Come Home!” residency on his 2022 calendar. So, if you consider yourself a “Fanilow” and want to see the timeless entertainer who has 50 Top-40 Hits to his name live in Vegas this year, here’s everything you’ll need to know.

Where can I buy tickets to see Barry Manilow? Tickets to see the Emmy, Grammy Award and Tony Award winning artist are available on all major ticketing platforms. We suggest looking into StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and MegaSeats to compare prices.

When is Barry Manilow playing at Westgate? Manilow’s upcoming 15 Westgate Las Vegas Casino and Resort shows will be spread out from April through June. To keep things simple, we’ve listed them below with dates, show times and links to buy tickets.

  • Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 21 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 7 at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28 at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 9 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.

“Harmony” musical: Manilow wrote the music for “Harmony: A New Musical,” the true story of six, young comedian harmonists in 1920s Germany. Both Jewish and Gentile, the group took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics. The popular show is set to run at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through May 8. Tickets for all shows can be purchased here.

April 3, 2022 amNY"At last, New York finds 'Harmony' with Barry Manilow" by Matt Windman
After a quarter century of development and countless delays, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s original musical “Harmony” is finally receiving its New York debut in an Off-Broadway production produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. “Harmony” dramatizes the real-life story of the Comedian Harmonists, a vocal group in Weimar Germany consisting of six Jewish and gentile young men, whose success was shattered by the Nazi rise to power. We spoke with Manilow (music) and Sussman (lyrics and book) about the show during a break in rehearsals.

amNY: Why is this story worth telling right now, and why as a musical?
Barry Manilow: I think it’s a good story about six incredibly talented, innovative, creative musicians who created a sound and an act that no one had ever done before, and who nobody’s ever heard of. However, these days, this seems to have hit us smack in the face. It is as contemporary as ever, sadly.
Bruce Sussman: When we were invited by the National Yiddish Theatre to do the show in this building, every stone of which is dedicated to remembering, we knew that this was the perfect place to do it. But now people are telling us that not only is this the perfect place, we seem to have hit upon the perfect time, and I’m not happy to say that. The fact that the show is resonating the way it is makes me nervous. I fear that people think we’ve written to the headlines and it’s the other way around. Those lines were written three, five, or seven years ago and it is just resonating more and more today. But the story always sang to us. It occurred to us that this was the musical we always wanted to write, and it had a thematic line in place, which was this is a show about the quest for harmony, in what turned out to be one of the most discordant chapters in human history, and that to us was most definitely a musical.

amNY: I remember writing about “Harmony” back in 2003. How did you get through all the show’s numerous stops and starts?
Barry: It just wouldn’t leave us alone. It wouldn’t go away. We have believed in this story and what we’ve done so deeply. And even though it hurt every time the show didn’t make it, it kept coming back to us. We wouldn’t have done it again if the Yiddish Theatre hadn’t offered us the place.How could we ever say no to that? So we dived in again.
Bruce: There were periods when it did hurt too much and we put it in a drawer. But then a producer would approach us. This happened three, four, five times. People would approach us and say “the show needs to be done. The story needs to be told and I’d like to do it.” And so we said “okay.” We opened the drawer and went ahead with it again.

amNY: Do you expect the show to transfer to Broadway?
Barry: We’ve got ambitions for Broadway, and it’d be very nice to wind up uptown the way it’s supposed to. But right now, we’re very happy where we are, creating our show and making it the best “Harmony” we can. I’m not thinking about the future. We are totally invested in this version of “Harmony.”
Bruce: We’re deep in the weeds right now. We’re in rehearsal during the day, putting in fixes and cuts, and watching the performances. We’ve got blinders on right now. We need to get the job done.

amNY: How do the songs in “Harmony” compare with your pop songs?
Barry: Everything in this show is filled with melody. I’m a melody guy. And in the pop world, melody seems to have taken a nosedive. They don’t write melodies anymore. That’s the only thing I can say I took from the pop world to the Broadway world. But the fact is I started off wanting to be in the Broadway world, and I took the stuff I learned from Broadway and put it into the pop songs.

amNY: Are there any musicals that “Harmony” takes inspiration from?
Bruce: The concept of our show is that the first act is written in the style of a golden age musical that would have been written about this group had the events of the second act not occurred. So in the first act, we are drawing from those golden age shows. In the second act, that process deconstructs, and ultimately we wind up with just one man talking with no musical accompaniment at all.

amNY: How has “Harmony” evolved over the years?
Barry: You know, it was already great. Ask the people who saw it at La Jolla Playhouse (in 1997). They said “don’t touch it. It’s the greatest thing.” It’s always been a solid musical. Yes, we’ve made changes. God knows we’ve made so many changes that if you saw it at La Jolla, you might not even recognize it today. But it’s still “Harmony,” and it’s still what I consider to be a solid musical.
Bruce: During the pandemic, Barry and I and (our director) Warren (Carlyle) met every Tuesday and Friday on Zoom and we said “we have another year or year and a half. Why don’t we just shake it up and see if there’s another version of this show we like better than the one we have. And if we don’t, nothing lost. We just go back to what we have.” Well, we tried. We made a bold change, and we liked it, and that is the version that we’re putting up, and it is very different from what preceded it.

amNY: What qualities do you look for in the actors who play the Comedian Harmonists?
Bruce: Authenticity. This is a very difficult show to cast, particularly the six guys. They have to be triple threats. But the six we have now, I think Barry will agree it’s the most authentic Comedian Harmonist sound we’ve ever had. And it’s thrilling to us to see them do this.
Barry: They’re so young and talented. They sound like the Backstreet Boys. And the Comedian Harmonists were the Backstreet Boys of their day. It’s six-part harmonies for each of these songs. Do you know how difficult it was for them to learn this?

amNY: A lot of really exceptional actors have appeared in earlier productions of the show.
Bruce: We pretty much discovered Patrick Wilson. He came off a tour of “Carousel” ,and we cast him at La Jolla and his career just went through the roof after that. And Danny Burstein and the late, great, wonderful Rebecca Luker. Kate Baldwin. Brian d’Arcy James. Aaron Lazar. We’ve been blessed in our casts over the years.

amNY: What do you hope people will take away from the show?
vThat these six extraordinary people were there. And that in this very dark and troubled time, these six diverse human beings found harmony.

“Harmony” runs through May 8 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, nytf.org.

April 1, 2022 Observer"After 25 Years, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman Bring 'Harmony' to New York: Their musical biography of the Comedian Harmonists is now at the Museum of Jewish Heritage" by Harry Haun
Barry Manilow’s longtime wordsmith, Bruce Sussman, can tell you exactly when he and the pop composer first crossed paths. "May 31st, 1972," he said recently with a certainty not to be doubted. Underlining this emphatic fact, he added, “We’re approaching our 50th anniversary in a month.”

More than 200 songs have resulted from that meeting, including 1978’s “Copacabana,” a hit so big and lasting it blossomed into a musical in 1994, running for two years in London’s West End. But for half of their half century the pair has been writing and revising a deeply personal project: Harmony, their musical biography of The Comedian Harmonists. The show world-premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1997, and over the years there have been various versions at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater and Los Angeles’ Ahmanson.

It’s a 25th anniversary version of the show that is finally reaching New York. If the goal was ever Broadway, they’ve radically overshot the runway, landing in the Battery at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a production of the National Yiddish Theater Folkbiene, which staged the recent Jewish Fiddler on the Roof. Now in previews, it opens April 13 and will run until May 8.

Sussman clarified that Broadway has never really been the target, per se. “People are always talking Broadway. That’s for somebody else to figure out. Barry and I keep the blinders on. We put in 11 minutes of cuts last night. We’ve got some more going on today. Our focus is to make this show the best it can be.”

It’s a true story they tell. Three Jews and three gentiles come together, via a want-ad, in 1920s Germany and form The Comedian Harmonists, a phenomenally successful song-and-slapstick group. (“Think Manhattan Transfer meets the Marx Brothers,” advises Sussman) Act One tracks their success—millions of records, a dozen films, packed houses in prestigious concert halls around the world. Act Two finds them tragically paying the price for their ecumenical DNA.

Harmony actually opens with the one week the group did in New York,” Sussman said. “They performed for the U.S. Naval fleet that was in the Hudson. They performed on one of the ships, and it was piped in to all the other ship. When they finished, all the ships sounded their horns, scaring everybody in Manhattan half to death. It was broadcast on NBC. Then, they did Town Hall and Carnegie Hall.”

The genesis of the project was a New York Times review of a documentary that caught Sussman’s eye. “It was a very compelling review and a beautiful photograph of six young men in white tie and tails, with their hair brilliantined,” he remembered. “The Public Theater used to have a screening room where they showed documentaries and art films, so I went down there and watched four hours of German documentary-making with subtitles. That should have put me off, but, instead, it was absolutely gobsmacking. I went straight to a payphone and called Barry and said, ‘I think I’ve found it. I think I’ve found the piece that we’ve been looking for to musicalize.’”

Despite his pop-tune turn-out, it happens Manilow always wanted to write for the theater, but success got in the way. “I always remind him how his pop career ruined that,” Sussman said.

True, Manilow affirmed. “I wanted to be an arranger like Nelson Riddle and a composer like Richard Rodgers—that’s where I was going. I did arrangements for Bette Midler, then commercials, then arranging for records and producing records. Never, never in a million years did I even consider being a performer. My big love was the Broadway musical, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

At the time of the initial Barry-and-Bruce connection, Manilow was making baby steps toward the legitimate theater. “When we met,” Sussman recalled, “he had already written a successful show called The Drunkard, which ran down at the 13th Street Playhouse for 110 years. I said, ‘Oh, I got myself a theater composer. This is what we were aiming to do—quite literally—then something called ‘Mandy’ happened. Barry went off on another path and dragged me with him.”

As a team, they song-write more like Rodgers & Hart (words first) than Rodgers & Hammerstein (music first). “When Richard Rodgers was asked which comes first, he said, ‘The contract,’ Sussman injected. If Manilow were asked that question, he said his answer would be, “The idea.”

“When I wrote the first draft of Harmony, there was no score,” Sussman said. “If I got to where I felt a song should go, I wrote a paragraph of stage direction which described the song. Maybe there was a title idea, maybe there was a phrase. I sent this enormous draft to Barry to see if he could make any sense of it, and he sent me back 17 melodies. Fourteen are still in the show.”

Sussman’s notes push the right musical buttons for Manilow. “They sing to me,” the composer said. “That’s why I like working with Bruce. They just sing to me, off the page. He writes so musically that it’s really easy. I mean, when he sends me ‘Her name was Lola UH/ She was a showgirl UH,’ you gotta be an idiot not to be able to put a melody to that. He writes as a musician would write. When I’ve worked with other lyricists, I don’t even know where the chorus begins. Where’s the verse? Is the chorus coming back? They just write and write and write, but Bruce writes music like he writes a scene. I hear it. It jumps right off of the page.”

Before beginning the show, both did an atmosphere soak in Germany. “When Bruce went to Germany, he actually saw one of those Beatlemania-like shows on The Comedian Harmonists,” Manilow noted. “I went to Germany on tour and stopped by a Tower Records store where I was shocked to see a whole wall was the catalog of The Comedian Harmonists. I didn’t really know that world of music, but in this Tower Records, they had what they call ‘the schlager parade’ -- the hit parade of every year, starting in the ‘20s and going to the ‘40s. The schlager parade of 1931 and the schlager parade of 1932 -- I bought every single CD, two shopping bags of CDs, and took them home. I studied what they were playing and how they were writing. That’s how I began, with the music. I was soaking in German music a full year before starting to write anything.”

Every incarnation of Harmony had a different director. Currently calling the shots is Warren Carlyle, a Tony-winning choreographer and an old friend. “Twenty-eight years ago, he was a chorus boy in our other show, Copacabana, at the Prince of Wales Theater in London,” Sussman said. “There was a big bolero number that ended Act One, and Warren was the lead bolero dancer. We knew his career was going to take off. He met Susan Stroman, became her assistant and then went out on his own and came to America. I’d bump into him all the time in the Broadway district and say, ‘Warren, we have to find something to work on together.’ And here it is. We finally did it. What’s great about working with Warren is there’s no getting-to-know-you. We knew each other for so long we already knew who we are, how we agree and disagree, so we hit the ground running.

“During the pandemic, Barry, Warren and I met every Tuesday and Friday. Because it looked like we were going to be out of work for a while, we decided to see what else we could come up with, try something new and bold and different, so we committed to doing a new draft. The big change was to put in Cantor Roman Cykowski and have him playing different characters as well.”

Because the Grammy committee knew that Manilow was doing a musical on The Comedian Harmonists, he was asked to present an award to Cykowski. Manilow agreed, then asked, “‘Where does he live? Israel? New York?’ They said, ‘He lives in Palm Springs.’ Turns out, he lived two blocks from my house. I was walking the dogs in front of his house all those years while I was writing songs for his character, and I didn’t know he was there. It was just too much!”

One thing all three collaborators agree on: Harmony is well placed at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a temple of remembrance -- and The Comedian Harmonists are men to remember.

When Where Articles/Reviews
March 31, 2022 NY Jewish Week"10 minutes with Barry Manilow: The iconic singer dishes on bringing his Nazi-era musical to NYC" by Jacob Henry
Barry Manilow could fill a stage just by showing up with a piano, and he has: Starting in 1977, his stints on Broadway have nearly always sold out. With 13 multi-platinum albums, 28 top ten hits, and a famously devoted fan base, he might be forgiven if he wanted to rest on his laurels.

But at 78, the Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter and his writing partner Bruce Sussman are, well, ready to take a chance again: Their musical “Harmony,” which is being produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, is being staged in New York for the first time. It’s a musical about the Comedian Harmonists, a performing troupe of Jews and gentiles who combined close harmonies and stage antics in Germany during the 1920s and '30s.

Their success was a counterpoint to the rise of the Nazis, who eventually banned performances featuring work by Jewish composers, which had been a huge part of their repertoire. In 1934, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time, the Harmonists were prohibited from giving public concerts because two members of the group were Jewish.

Manilow and Sussman have been working together for decades, with a catalog that includes everything from pop hits to musical theater spectacles. “Harmony” was first staged in 1997; Sussman learned about the group thanks to a lengthy German-language documentary that first aired in 1977. “We couldn’t believe that we didn’t know these people,” Manilow said of the Harmonists.

Before the show officially opens on April 14 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, the New York Jewish Week (NYJW) caught up with Manilow and Sussman to talk about musical theater, their Jewish upbringings in New York City, and how to create harmony in an ever discordant world.

NYJW: Barry, before you were one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, you started in theater, both you and Bruce. You had to sneak into the second act of “Company” when that show first premiered on Broadway because you couldn’t afford the tickets. Now, you’ve played on Broadway and “Harmony” is opening this year in New York. When you look back at it all, how does it feel seeing your career go full circle like this?
Barry Manilow: I’m not sure it’s exactly full circle, but it’s exciting to be in New York, I’ll tell you that. We’re doing what we’ve wanted to do forever, which is bring “Harmony” to New York. This theater in particular is very moving. It just really resonates with this show, and with me and Bruce. It’s a very big impact on the audiences, being in this theater.

NYJW: You had a Jewish upbringing, in one of the most Jewish places in the world, Brooklyn. Do you have any specific memories of what it was like growing up Jewish in Brooklyn? Were any of these memories used to shape the songs from the show?
Barry: My one answer is the accordion. Every Jewish kid had to play the accordion before they would let you over the Williamsburg Bridge. I kid, but I was good at the accordion. They only teach you Yiddish folk songs. I loved those Yiddish songs. The family would sing a lot. I got a very musical Yiddish upbringing. When I left Williamsburg, I knew that world of Yiddish folk songs. I played them, I sang them, I arranged them, I knew everything about them. Jumping into “Harmony” was just a big familiar musical experience for me.

NYJW: Barry, you’ve performed on Broadway for years, including the 1977 “Barry Manilow on Broadway” show that earned you a special Tony Award. Is there anything you can say about producing and creating theater now when compared to when you first started?
Barry: It’s still the same. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, only it’s even more expensive as the years go by. I don’t know how these shows get up.
Bruce Sussman: Also, I think what is deemed commercial is a more narrow number of pieces. When we first started, there were situation comedies on Broadway. There were all kinds of musicals. And I think now, a lot of that stuff is no longer feasible to produce on Broadway. It’s either off-Broadway or regional theaters, but not on Broadway. It’s just harder to finance. The original production of “Follies” that Barry and I saw in 1971 was budgeted at $700,000 [approximately $5 million in today’s money]. And that was the most expensive show produced to date. You can barely do a workshop for that amount of money now. The finances are staggering, and then that puts pressure on the producers to make sure that they have something that’s financially viable. So that narrows the number of shows that are going to qualify.

NYJW: So in this world of “The Lion King” and “Aladdin,” how were you able to bring this show, a show about Jewish singers facing oppression, to life?
Bruce: We wrote the show we wanted to write, and we hoped that people would like it and that we would find a home for it. It was just a matter of getting it to New York. And now, National Yiddish Theatre stepped forward with this beautiful, gorgeous building that I’m in, and here we are.

NYJW: “Harmony” is a show set in a time where Jewish people faced a great deal of oppression and had to fight against that. Did you see any parallels between this story and life right now, or maybe within your own lives?
Bruce: I’m from Queens and Barry is from Brooklyn. We both grew up in something of a bubble. Being Jewish was kind of the norm. It wasn’t until I went to college in western Pennsylvania that I realized, oh my goodness, I’m the minority. I grew up in Jackson Heights. Every school I went to, on the Jewish holidays, nobody went to school. Everybody was off. I was always among my own. The story from “Harmony” was something I knew just from history, but it wasn’t anything I experienced personally in my life.
Barry: It’s really not about my life at all. The only parallel is that I’m a musician, and they were musicians. And they were very inventive, so inventive that they were the first people to do the kind of harmonies we hear now. Now, we’ve got the high notes, we’ve got Backstreet Boys, nobody did that, plus they were [like] the Marx Brothers. And then all their records, all their music, all their movies, it was destroyed. They were the inventors of a style of music and comedy that had never been before them.
Bruce: And when we realized why we didn’t know them, that was the story. That became very compelling to us. One of the parallels too is that Barry and I, first and foremost, are collaborators. And this show is about “Harmony” in the broadest sense of the word. And one of the ways these guys found harmony was by finding the ability to successfully collaborate with each other. That’s something that Barry and I can relate to very strongly. A lot of people don’t know how to collaborate. And it is very important to us. It’s the thing that Barry and I do best.

NYJW: My editors are going to kill me if I don’t ask about “Copacabana.” It’s one of your most beloved songs. Do you feel the same way about it? Do you still get the same thrill out of performing your most classic hit today?
Barry: I do. I would stop doing it if I didn’t. These audiences are lighting themselves on fire with every hit I’ve been lucky enough to have. By the time we get to “Copa,” that’s the last straw for them. In my shows, there are so many hits and songs that they know, that by the time we get to “Copa,” they’ve forgotten I haven’t done “Copa” yet. When those drums start, it’s the last straw for these audiences.

NYJW: You’ve both hit every music milestone in the industry. What else is there to accomplish?
Barry: As far as what’s on the horizon, we don’t know yet. We’ve gotta finish this. It’s taken a long time. Whether we make it uptown or it ends at the Yiddish theater, I will be very happy. We’ll have an original soundtrack soon. That will be great. It would be so wonderful if we could move this uptown. Right now, we’re just in the weeds making sure that this version of “Harmony” is the best one we’ve ever had.

March 31, 2022 Digital Journal"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman talk about their new musical ‘Harmony’" by Markos Papadatos
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman opened up about their new musical “Harmony,” which opens on April 13. The show began its previews on Wednesday, March 23, and once it officially opens, “Harmony” will run for seven weeks only (April 14 through May 8). It is produced by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. It is being presented Off-Broadway at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park. “It is the perfect place for this show,” Manilow said. “When they told us they were interested in ‘Harmony’ we just couldn’t say no.”

“Every stone in this building has been put there to encourage remembering. Our play is about remembering and this is the perfect home for this piece,” Sussman added.

“This place is inspiring for us. Every time we look out the window there is something deep and you are looking at history,” Manilow said.

It is directed and choreographed by Tony winner and Emmy-nominated director Warren Carlyle. It is based on the book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman with music by Barry Manilow. The silver lining during the pandemic for both Manilow and Sussman was the ability to work on this musical. “We met every Tuesday and Friday on Zoom with our director, Warren Carlyle. We shook things up and saw what we came up with,” Sussman said.

On the title of the current chapter of their lives, they both said in unison, “Harmony... At Last.”

Synopsis of ‘Harmony’: “Harmony: A New Musical” tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, six talented young men, Jewish and gentile, that came together in 1920s Germany and took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated harmonies and wild stage antics. The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, starred in a dozen films, and packed the houses of the most iconic concert halls around the globe until the world they knew changed forever.

Their incredible story inspired music industry living legends, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, to create a new musical with an original score that celebrates this extraordinary group of friends and ensures their quest for true harmony in the most discordant chapter of human history will never be forgotten. “Harmony” is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada.

Manilow and Sussman are both firm believers that their new music is very timely and relevant, especially during these trying times that the world is going through. “This is true,” Manilow said. “A lot of things might seem like we are copying the headlined but a lot of these things we wrote five or six years ago and yet it feels like we wrote it yesterday.”

“It is resonating like crazy. I am happy that audiences are finding it satisfying though I wish it wasn’t as relevant as it is because that means that the world has gone to hell,” Sussman added.

Key to their working relationship: Particularly impressive about Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman is that they have collaborated together for over five decades.

On the secret to their working relationship, they said, “Knowing how to collaborate. Knowing how to let a bad idea live and breathe because a good idea might be born from it. A lot of people don’t know how to collaborate. Our show is about these six diverse guys that found ‘harmony’ because they knew how to collaborate with each other and they knew how to live with each other. We both know how to collaborate well.”

“We loved this idea and we loved this piece, and it always sustained us. We learned that this piece was the one for us,” Sussman acknowledged.

“I learned that I have a lot of patience. We believe in this show so much that we can’t let it go. Frankly, it won’t let us go,” Manilow said with a sweet laugh.

“‘Harmony’ reminded us exactly how satisfying and fulfilling this can be when it’s good,” Sussman said. “Barry loves it and this is my proudest achievement. There is nothing that I have done in my career that I am prouder of.”

For young and aspiring artists, Manilow said, “You need to love the craft that you are going into because it’s a long process, at best. You better love it.”

Success: On their definition of success, Sussman and Manilow remarked, “Success, for us, artistically is loving what we have done.”

For their fans, Manilow concluded about “Harmony,” “We want the fans to get the story: these people were so innovative. They were the first of their time to sound like the Backstreet Boys, The Four Freshmen, and Marx Brothers. They were the first group to ever do those kinds of things. We want people to know that the Comedian Harmonists were inventors. We will let people know that they were there, and this is what they did, and it was remarkable.”

To learn more about “Harmony: A New Musical,” visit its official website, and its Facebook page.

March 25, 2022 Broadway WorldBarry Manilow. Bruce Sussman. The Manhattan Transfer. Marx Brothers. Comedian Harmonists.
From the Grammy Award-winning team of Barry Manilow & Bruce Sussman, directed & choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man), [comes] the true story of the greatest musical comedy group of the 1920s and 30s - and why you've never heard of them. LIMITED TIME OFFER! Use code HMNY49 to get $49 tickets now through the April 13 matinee.

HARMONY - A New Musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

Elisabeth Vincentelli (The New York Times): "Back in 2019, The New York Times trumpeted that after taking off at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1997 and spending more than two decades circling the runway, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's labor-of-love musical "Harmony" -- about the German vocal sextet the Comedian Harmonists, which was immensely popular between the two world wars -- was going to have its Off-Broadway premiere... In the spring of 2020. Now, the show is finally arriving, with the choreographer-director Warren Carlyle overseeing a cast led by Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess. If nothing else, this is another sign that after its Yiddish version of "Fiddler on the Roof" and its recent collaboration with New York City Opera on "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," the producing National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene has become a force on the New York musical landscape."

Time Out: "... Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's musical-based on the history of the Comedian Harmonists, a musical group that flourished in Weimar Germany but ran afoul of the Nazis-finally makes its NYC debut. Warren Carlyle (After Midnight) directs and choreographs the production for National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the centenarian troupe behind the much-loved recent Yiddish-language version of Fiddler on the Roof. Chip Zien (Into the Woods) and Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid) lead the cast."

New York Theatre Guide: "Barry Manilow writes the songs, and now he's written a musical with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Co-written with Bruce Sussman, this new musical is based on the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a musical group of six men who were world-famous until World War II split them up. You might think such a real-life tale would be a jukebox musical, but Manilow has written original songs for Harmony, which promises to be a passion project with catchy tunes. Take your Fanilows or anyone in your life who is a music history buff."

The NYTF production of Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Tom and Michael D'Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Mapleseed Productions, Harold Matzner and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Davenport most recently won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Once on This Island and the Tony Award for Best Musical for Kinky Boots, and received Tony Award nominations for Spring Awakening (Revival of a musical), The Visit (Musical), and You're Welcome America (Special Theatrical Event). Harmony is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada. Barry Manilow is a registered trademark of Hastings, Clayton, & Tucker Inc.

March 24, 2022 Spectrum News NY 1"Harmonious musical brings Barry Manilow back to NYC" by Roger Clark
"I Write the Songs," "Mandy," "Weekend in New England" and "Even Now" are just a few of the many hits from Brooklyn native Barry Manilow's nearly 60-year career in music. If you ask the award-winning singer-songwriter about his career, he will tell you he was aiming for the bright lights of Broadway, not pop stardom. Same goes for his longtime collaborator, Bruce Sussman. "I wanted to be part of the Broadway scene, and Bruce and I met, and we were just about to start, and Bruce says Mandy came in the middle of this, and screwed up everything," said Manilow, who laughed at the notion of the smash hit sidetracking his career.

Now, Manilow and Sussman, who was born in Queens and raised on Long Island, have come up with a new musical called "Harmony." It's in previews at Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park City, where the show will be presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. It tells the story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of performers that formed in the 1920s in Germany. "They toured the world in the greatest concert halls, around the world, sold millions of records, made 13 movies, and some of them were Jews and some of them were Gentiles, and the consequences of that are basically our second act," Sussman said.

"I mean, they were huge, and no one remembers them because everything they did was destroyed," Manilow added. The show features Broadway veterans Sierra Boggess and Chip Zien, along with the six performers playing the Comedian Harmonists. "So young, we hate them," Manilow joked about the talented group cast as the Harmonists.

Manilow and Sussman, who scored a huge hit together with "Copacabana" in 1978, said they couldn't have found a more perfect place for the New York debut of the musical. It's been a long road for the show, which has been around for 25 years and went through a major rewrite when it was delayed during the pandemic.

They hope it will deliver emotion and give theatregoers something to think about. "You know most Broadway shows, I don't think you walk out feeling anything. You say, 'Ooh, that was fun.' This is a show all about feelings," Manilow said.

"This is something of a cautionary tale too, given the headlines today," Sussman added.

Previews for "Harmony" are underway, and the production runs April 13 through May 8. For ticket information, visit the show's website.

March 23, 2022 Broadway.com"Barry Manilow & Bruce Sussman on Bringing the True Story of the Comedian Harmonists to the Stage in Harmony" by Caitlin Moynihan
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman once dreamed of being "the next Rodgers and Hammerstein." Along they way, they found massive success as collaborators with Manilow skyrocketting as a chart-topping performer. Now, over 30 years since they first found fame with "Copacabana (At the Copa)," the two are bringing their new musical Harmony to the New York stage for the first time. Here, they talk with Broadway.com Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek about the musical, which begins performances at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on March 23.

Manilow and Sussman first met through the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and there was an instant connection. "I was going to be a Broadway composer, an arranger for pop music," Manilow said. "I was playing piano for everybody in New York, everybody. The idea of singing and entertaining was never in my head."

Of course, Manilow did become a performer and catapulted to fame thanks to songs like "Copacabana (At the Copa)," "Mandy," "I Write the Songs" and more. Manilow says the musical is unlike the songs for which he is known. "It's a grab bag of different styles," he said. " [The Comedian Harmonists] did every style, so I dove in and wrote in different styles. Each song is totally different than the song before. I loved doing it."

Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. "We felt like it was our duty to make people aware of this group," Manilow and Sussman said. "They were so talented and their story is so tragic and nobody remembers them and people should. They were a very inventive and entertaining group that should not have gone away. It's our duty to make people aware of them."

Boasting a cast that includes Broadway alums Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess, finding the perfect six to bring the group to life on stage was imperative. "It's a very difficult show to cast," Sussman said. "They have to be triple threats. These six are hands down, in terms of the sound they're creating, the most authentic six we ever had."

The musical has had a long journey to New York. Its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1997 starred Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker and Patrick Wilson. Tony Yazbeck, Wayne Alan Wilcox and Leigh Ann Larkin led the principal cast of the 2013 run at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre in 2014. A private reading took place in August 2019 with Jessie Mueller, Kate Baldwin, Reeve Carney, Rob McClure, John Behlmann, Jarrod Spector and Nicholas Barasch. "One of our characters says, 'bottom line is I would just like people to know that three Jews and three Gentiles got together and made harmony and found harmony in the broadest sense of the word and that they not be forgotten,'" Sussman said. "That's what we want audiences to walk away with."

Watch the interview below, and head here to check your local listings for The Broadway Show. Hosted by Emmy-winning anchor Tamsen Fadal and powered by Broadway.com, it is the only nationally syndicated weekly theater news program.

March 23, 2022 Daily News - New York's Hometown Newspaper"Barry Manilow brings the Comedian Harmonists back to the stage in 'Harmony'" by Kate Feldman
Barry Manilow is going back to his first love -- not Mandy, but musical theater. Almost 50 years after he was nominated for his first Grammy, producing Bette Midler’s “The Divine Miss M,” Manilow and longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman are finally bringing their original musical “Harmony” to the stage. “I never really thought about becoming a singer or an entertainer or a performer. It never dawned on me,” the 78-year-old Brooklyn native told the Daily News. “I was going to be an arranger like Nelson Riddle or a Broadway songwriter. That was where I was heading until … that stupid ‘Mandy’ got in the way,” he said of his 1974 pop hit.

“Harmony,” which opens for previews Wednesday at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and will have a a seven-week run beginning April 14, tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of six German men, several of them Jewish, who made up one of the most successful musical groups in Europe in the 1920s and ‘30s until the Nazis shut them down. “The show is about the quest for harmony, in the broadest sense of the word,” Sussman told The News. “Not only did the Comedian Harmonists find musical harmony, they found harmony in their lives. Some of them were Jews, some of them were gentiles, one of the Jewish members married a gentile woman, one of the gentile members married a Jewish woman. That was their quest for harmony, but unfortunately it was a quest for harmony in what turned out to be the most discordant chapter in human history.”

Sussman came up with the idea decades ago after sitting through a four-hour German-language documentary at the Public Theater in the East Village. But life, and Manilow’s own success, put their Broadway dreams on hold. “Harmony” finally debuted in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse outside San Diego, then moved to Philadelphia in 2003, led by Brian d’Arcy James, but the money ran out. It took the stage in Atlanta 10 years later, but still never made it to New York. Finally, it landed at the Folksbiene, where it was set to open for previews in February 2020. Then COVID hit.

Sussman used the two years off to do a massive rewrite. The show, starring Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess and directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, is finally ready for Manhattan. “After all these years, to present it to this New York audience is what we’ve always wanted for ‘Harmony,’” Manilow said.

The Comedian Harmonists’ music was declared degenerate by the Nazis because it was Jewish, and they were ordered to stop playing music written by Jews, then banned from performing entirely. Their records were burned and they were wiped from memory, other than a few albums hidden under mattresses that kept their legacy alive. “All I know is that these six extraordinary human beings should be remembered, and Barry and I are committed to doing whatever we can to make that happen,” Sussman said.

Putting on “Harmony” at the Folksbiene makes sense, the co-creators said. The century-old theater, which won a Drama Desk Award for its Yiddish-language “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2019, is meant to make people remember.

The timing of their show, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is not lost on them. “There’s a line in the play where someone says ‘It’s the same old hate, just different costumes,’ and it certainly applies now,” Sussman told The News. “The history we ignore is the history we are condemned to relive.”

March 23, 2022 Playbill"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Begins Off-Broadway Run March 23: Warren Carlyle directs a cast led by Sierra Boggess and Chip Zien in the musical about the Comedian Harmonists" by Andrew Gans
The long-awaited New York debut of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony begins previews Off-Broadway March 23. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents the musical, which will officially open April 13 in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Tony winner Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs the production, currently scheduled to run through May 8.

The cast features Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, The Little Mermaid) as Mary with Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as the elder Rabbi. Playing the six Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies), and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson is Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) as Josephine Baker. Kenny Morris (Hairspray) is the standby for Zien’s Rabbi. The ensemble includes Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Grey, Shayne Kennon, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

The musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

The production has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc., casting by Jamibeth Margolis, associate direction and choreography by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design by Tom Watson, and music direction and additional vocal and music arrangement by John O’Neill.

Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Visit NYTF.org.

March 18, 2022 Broadway WorldHARMONY is the Theatrical Event of the Season
7 Weeks Only! Harmony: A New Musical Music by Barry Manilow Book and Lyrics by Bruce Sussman Directed and Choreographed by Warren Carlyle Performances begin March 23, 2022 Get Tickets Now! nytf.org/harmony

HARMONY – A New Musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

March 18, 2022 TheaterMania"Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman Finally Bring Their Harmony to New York: Warren Carlyle directs and choreographs this new musical at the Museum of Jewish Heritage" by David Gordon
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman have written a lot of hits together -- among them, one of the pop music's defining songs, "Copacabana." For years, they've had a passion project, a musical called Harmony. Harmony is the story of a little-known German performance group, the Comedian Harmonists. Manilow describes them as the "Backstreet Boys of their day" -- between 1928 and 1934, they became one Europe's most successful bands in the pre-World War II era. And then the world changed.

The musical has had a very long life, originally debuting in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse. A 2003 Broadway transfer was scheduled, but bad producing scuttled those plans. It was resurrected in a decade later at the Alliance Theatre in Georgia and the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, before again laying dormant. But now, it's in rehearsals for its long-awaited New York premiere.

Warren Carlyle is directing and choreographing this newly rewritten production at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a production of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. And Manilow and Sussman could not be more excited to see their show finally take Manhattan.

TheaterMania (TM): Bruce, you had gotten the idea for the show initially after seeing a film about the Comedian Harmonists. Did you know anything about them beforehand?
Bruce Sussman: No, and I couldn't imagine how I didn't know anything about them. To put it in modern terms, the Comedian Harmonists were a combination of the Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers. They were brilliantly talented, incredibly inventive, and wildly successful, and then they hit a brick wall. Barry and I had been looking for a musical for a long time, and this was it. He took a leap of faith and got on board.

TM: Give me an overview of the show. What can we expect?
Bruce: Our first act is in the style of a Golden Age musical. We like to think of it as the Golden Age musical that would have been written about them had the events of the second act not occurred. How they fare in their confrontation with history is our second act.

TM: Barry, what does the music sound like? How does it compare to the songs that made you a legend?
Barry Manilow: It doesn't sound like pop music. When you write a score for a musical, the songs have got to move the story along, and that's fun to write. In a pop song, all you've got are "I love you" or "I miss you" or "I love you and I miss you" or "I miss you and I love you." That's it. So this is a Broadway score that's filled with different styles of music, because that's what the Comedian Harmonists sounded like. It's very diverse. Every style I ever wanted to do these guys did, and the story allowed me to do it.
Bruce: One review said Barry's score was virtuosic, and I think that's the right word. The range of styles, all in correct period, is immense. But we started out as theater babies. When we met, we wanted to write shows. The pop career was a detour.
Barry: Bruce would always say "That 'Mandy' thing stopped us!" I never thought of myself as a performer or singer or entertainer. I was happy being in the background, but all of a sudden, I found myself making records and going on tour and I had to learn a whole new kind of art, which stopped me from writing the kinds of things I wanted to write. But now we've done it, and I'm certainly happy that we're doing it in New York and at this wonderful place.

TM: Tell me about working with Warren Carlyle and your cast, and the impact they've had on the material.
Barry: Warren Carlyle is a genius. He's very inventive and filled with ideas. This is not the Harmony Bruce and I know. He's serving it up totally differently than anyone else has. It's more exciting and deeper than it's ever been.
Bruce: We would meet with Warren every Tuesday and most Fridays over Zoom during the pandemic. We thought we would do the same small tweaking that you'd do whenever a show goes into production, but early on, we had an idea for a really big change, which everyone seems to like. Every page is different, so it's very fresh. We're especially thrilled about the six young men who are playing the Comedian Harmonists. They are scary good. Rehearsals have been on fire, particularly the last several days as Barry's been here working on the music with them.
Barry: They're so young and they sound so young. They sound like the Backstreet Boys. And the Comedian Harmonists were the Backstreet Boys of their day, so this is really what their music sounded like.

TM: What is it like to tell this story in the Museum of Jewish Heritage at a time that's so fraught?
Barry: It's deeper than it's ever been. Bruce has written so many lines over the years that sound like they're happening today.
Bruce: I'm concerned that people are thinking I'm writing to the headlines, but it's the other way around. But we're at the right place. We're in a place that's about remembering, and this is a story about remembering. And it's the right time. It's terrible that it's the right time. But it's the right time.

Ticket Information -- Previews: March 23rd - April 13th Matinee. Performances: April 14th - May 8th. At this time, you are required to show proof of vaccination to enter the theatre. These policies are subject to change. For ticketing questions please call 855-449-4658. For all other inquiries please call 212-655-7653 or email info@nytf.org.

March 14, 2022 The Forward"Barry Manilow on dueling cantors, Levy’s Rye and his musical’s New York debut" by PJ Grisar
Barry Manilow never meant to become a pop star, and his Grammy, Emmy and Tony-winning career as a songwriter is a source of perennial tsuris for his lyric-writing partner Bruce Sussman. If you ask them, “Mandy” came, gave and (forget what you heard) did some taking. That breakout hit diverted the pair’s original ambition: writing for Broadway. “It stopped us from having the time to do something like this,” said Manilow, who debuts the latest iteration of his and Sussman’s musical “Harmony” April 14 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Now being produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, “Harmony” is about the Comedian Harmonists, a sextet of Jewish and non-Jewish Germans who were one of the biggest acts in the world, before the rise of the Third Reich doomed them to obscurity. “The reason we don’t know this group is because the Nazis annhilated everything that they did,” said Manilow. “All their movies, all their records: Gone.”

Sussman said that the Harmonists’ legacy partially survived because of German fans who hid 78s under their mattresses. “Harmony” is in part an effort to secure the singing group’s place in history alongside acts like the Four Freshmen. The show is also a big swing from a songwriting duo who’ve long aimed to enter the musical theater canon. With previous productions in La Jolla, Atlanta and Los Angeles, it is the men’s longest single endeavor in their five decade partnership – and also their most Jewish.

I spoke with Sussman and Manilow (the latter of whom said his grandfather loved the Forverts) from the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where they were sitting in on rehearsals for a play that is still evolving over 20 years after its first curtain call. The following conversation – which features a discussion on dueling cantors – has been edited for length and clarity.

The Forward: How did you first hear about the Comedian Harmonists?
Barry Manilow: Go to it, Bruce.
Bruce Sussman: I read a review in The New York Times some years ago for a documentary that was playing at the Public Theater – they used to have a screening room down there. I don’t think it’s there anymore.
Barry: Blah blah blah blah blah...
Bruce: (Laughs) And it was a very compelling review with a very compelling photograph and I said ‘Gee, I think I need to see this.’ And I went down there and saw four hours of German documentary filmmaking with subtitles and, you know, it wasn’t exactly my idea of a fun night, but it turned out to be life-changing. I couldn’t believe the story I was seeing, nor could I believe that I didn’t know anything about it – that I didn’t know who this group called the Comedian Harmonists were. So I ran to a payphone and called Barry, who was living in California, and told him, I said “I think I found it. The property that we’ve been wanting to musicalize.” We had been offered shows and always turned them down, they didn’t speak to us, but I said “I think this will speak to you.” And it did.
Barry: This is a big story, and it took us quite a while to make it palatable so that you can do it in two acts, because this is a big story – but a compelling story. Because they were so famous in their day, around the world. 13 movies they made, millions of records they sold – Carnegie Hall. And they were so inventive. These were the Hi-Lo’s, the Four Freshmen, Take Six and the Marx Brothers. They were so inventive and so popular and Bruce and I had never heard of them. Why hadn’t we heard of them? Well, that’s our story
Bruce: That turns out to be the story: why we didn’t know who they are is the story of “Harmony.”

The Forward: I know you had previous versions. How has it changed?
Bruce: We were anticipating a freshening up of the script, a rewrite to some degree, but when the pandemic hit we started meeting with our director Warren Carlyle every Tuesday and Friday on Zoom. And in one of the early meetings I put forth a really big idea. We did this massive rewrite, a big change in the storytelling, and we committed to it. We couldn’t have done that if we were in production. The pandemic, ironically gave us a creative opportunity we wouldn’t have had.

The Forward: You’re doing this with the Folksbiene, and this seems like a more explicitly Jewish project than most of your work. How did your backgrounds inform it? Or maybe that’s what made it attractive.
Bruce: Well they came to us
Barry: And it’s the perfect venue, it’s the perfect marriage between them and this play.
Bruce: This is a play about remembering in part. And our lead character struggles to remember and he ultimately finds redemption through remembering, and I’m sitting here in a building where every stone was built dedicated to remembering, so we couldn’t find a better first home in New York than this place.

The Forward: Bruce alluded to a big story change. Can you tell me what that was?
Barry: I didn’t hear that
Bruce: Can we tell him what the big change is?
Barry: NO! No. Come see it.

The Forward: On the topic of Jewishness. We recently ran this piece on the 150 greatest Jewish pop songs. What do you think is your most Jewish song? Maybe Lola is secretly a Jewess?
Bruce: No, no, no, no. What’s our most Jewish song? Is there a song in “Harmony” that’s particularly – the wedding maybe?
Barry: Oh, sure, the wedding!
Bruce: There’s a wedding sequence in “Harmony” that’s probably the most Jewish thing we’ve ever written. The wedding is the most deeply, dyed-in-the-wool Jewish thing.
Barry: I have dived deeply into the cantorial music in order to start the wedding with two cantors singing together.
Bruce: Dueling cantors.
Barry: We called it dueling cantors!
Bruce: But like the rye bread, you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy “Harmony.”

The Forward: Right and the story of course is very Levy’s Rye – the partnership between Jews and non-Jews.
Bruce: It’s harmony in the broadest sense of the word.

March 11, 2022 Audacy - 1010 WINS"Barry Manilow tells WINS his long-awaited musical is 'the climax of a career'" by Brian Brant
NEW YORK - Barry Manilow's latest venture is "the cherry" on top of his decades-long career as an award-winning singer-songwriter. The 78-year-old Brooklyn native, who co-created the musical "Copacabana" with his longtime collaborator, Bruce Sussman, has teamed up with the lyricist once again on their latest musical, "Harmony," which makes its New York City debut later this month.

"Harmony: A New Musical" is based on The Comedian Harmonists, a six-member group of both Jewish and non-Jewish men who came together in Germany in the 1920s and gained international fame before the Nazi regime took the vocal ensemble down in the 1930s. "We've never heard of them," Manilow told 1010 WINS' Brigitte Quinn. "We had no idea they existed and that's the story. They were incredibly famous, incredibly inventive, and they were the Manhattan Transfer meets the Marx Brothers. They were so popular, so famous and we had never heard of them and we needed to find out why we had never heard of them."

Sussman described the project as "the most fulfilling" of his career, noting that the story "remains fresh" in light of the war in Ukraine. "There's something about this piece that just, you know, despite how long it's taken to get it on, has sustained us, and [it] remains fresh and, I'm sorry to say, remains more relevant today than it ever was. What with the headlines such as they are," he said.

Sussman said he first learned about the ensemble from a documentary he watched years ago and was inspired to write a musical about it. However, the show took years to make its upcoming New York debut. "I went to a pay phone to call Barry and said, 'I think I found it, I think I found the story we want to musicalize,'" he added. "I, like Barry said, how can I not know this story and the reason why it was so effectively extinguished."

While Manilow said that writing a pop song that's "lucky" enough to have a catchy melody can be a challenge, the Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner added that writing a musical score is "difficult in its own way, but very rewarding." Though he said that he isn't retiring yet, Manilow called the show "the climax of a career."

It will be presented off-Broadway in Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park City, with previews beginning on March 23 and the seven-week run show beginning on April 13. It is produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. For tickets and more information click here.

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