- Magical experience for Popchoir singers - A singer and business-owner from Launceston has had the trip of a lifetime, as she embarked on London to sing alongside Barry Manilow at the O2 Arena. Sarah Bradley who leads Launceston’s Popchoir group, was delighted when she was asked to join a number of Popchoir members to perform as background singers during Barry Manilow’s set at the O2 Arena recently. Sarah travelled to London on September 6 to join 30 Popchoir members to perform at Manilow’s performance for three nights. She described the experience as ‘surreal but amazing’, and was approached to take part after Popchoir was asked to provide 30 of their 300-plus members for his backing choir. Popchoir is a national scheme that sees performers of all ages come together to sing their hearts out at events and allow their passion for music to blossom. The three performances with Manilow counts as the second time Popchoir have been asked to sing alongside the famous American singer-songwriter. With some shopping, lunching and sightseeing having taken place in London over the few days she was there, Sarah was delighted to have taken part in an experience-of-a-lifetime. (Cornish and Devon Post Newspaper, 20 September 2018)
- Barry Manilow fan's passion for music legend fuels new production - A musician is passing on his love of Barry Manilow to a new generation of performers as he helps put on a youth show of the legendary entertainer’s musical this week. Self-confessed “fanilow” Steve Trotter jumped at the opportunity to musically direct the glamorous show Copacabana, which the singer wrote in the [1970s] and which will be put on in Sheffield from [Wednesday (19 November)] until Saturday.
Steve said he had grown up listening to Barry’s music from a young age. “As a child I would often try to work out his arrangements at the piano, creating my own versions to perform to my long-suffering family,” he explained. “I suppose, growing up with ambitions of becoming a professional musician, he was an inspiration and an example of someone who worked hard from the bottom, paid his dues and reached the pinnacle of his profession.” A pianist and a vocalist, Steve taught music in schools for 12 years and jumped at the opportunity to musically direct the glamorous show Copacabana which the singer wrote in the [1970s]... Now, he is getting the chance to inspire the young people of 2018 with Manilow's catchy music.
Steve is Musical Director for Splinters Theatre Group's production as Copacabana which comes to Sheffield's Montgomery Theatre. The group is for 14 to 30 year olds but this year’s show boasts the youngest ever cast for the company, with the majority of performers under 21. It means none of them were born at the height of Barry Manilow’s fame. “I remember standing up at our first rehearsal and telling the cast of my ‘history’ with Barry and them looking up at me with faces ranging from bemused to bewildered,” Steve says. “I explained that my mission was to help them not to just create a fantastic show but to secure Barry’s legacy in making them all honorary Fanilows! They have embraced Barry's music and dedicated so much time and effort into learning some quite intricate harmonies.”
Copacabana tells the story of Manilow's most well-known hit that starts with the famous lines “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...” As Stephen struggles to write a new song, his imagination takes him back to 1947 to see a version of himself working at the Copacabana Night Club in New York City where he falls for a new singer who arrives from out of town called Lola. The show follows their struggles as they both rise to fame and form Stephen's new musical creation.
Directed by Daniel Storey, the show features plenty of toe-tapping numbers, and features a mix of American swing and Cuban, Latin rhythms. And as preparation for opening night, Steve even went to see the man himself, Barry Manilow, when he visited the UK on his recent tour. “It was a great show and he's still a fantastic showman,” he said.
Copacabana runs at the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield from September 19 to 22. Tickets are on sale now and available online at www.themontgomery.org.uk or by calling 0114 3273456. (Rotherham Advertiser, 19 September 2018)
- Sheffield show with all glamour of Copacabana - Splinters Theatre Group’s production of Barry Manilow’s musical (Copacabana-The Musical, 19-22 September 2018, The Montgomery Theatre, Sheffield), based on his classic hit song, will have plenty of glitz and glamour. In the story, aspiring songwriter Stephen is writing a tune telling the story of Lola. Fresh off the plane, she arrives in New York with showbiz aspirations. Bartender/composer Tony falls in love with her and helps her become a Copa girl. Lola, of course, attracts the amorous attentions of Rico. Directed by Dan Storey, this show features toe-tapping numbers including "Just Arrived," "Dancin' Fool" and, of course, the title song. The show also features the youngest cast for the company to date in its 29th year, with the majority under 21, including Emily Wilson as Lola. (The Star, 13 September 2018)
- Jason Alexander directed 'Native Gardens' - but he dreams of Barry Manilow - Jason Alexander directs the latest iteration of "Native Gardens," Karen Zacarías' popular play that has already sprouted up in theaters across the country ... These days the "Seinfeld" alum, whose acting roots trace back to Broadway, has been actively pursuing and fruitfully tending to his directorial endeavors, pruning his approach with patience and perspective ... Ahead of the opening of "Native Gardens," Alexander, 58, spoke with The Times [about] why he's genuinely itching to develop a jukebox musical ... Jason Alexander: "Of what I've done, I understand theater best. I love the magic of musicals, and making an audience believe that this thing is happening in front of them, while people are actually singing and dancing. I'd love to work on some new work because otherwise you're kind of locked in a blueprint ... For a long time, I've been trying to figure out: Is the Barry Manilow songbook something that lends itself to storytelling? Most of his songs are about yearning and wanting and unrequited love, and a lot of it is about music and performing. It has elements that suggest a story, and I just haven't found it yet. Also, his songbook is ballad-heavy - can that ballad become an up-tune and still work, or will the audience that loves Barry Manilow songs will they shoot me at the stage door? I've mentioned it to Barry Manilow, but I've never said, "Hey, Barry, I'm working on it." So this might be news to him..." (Los Angeles Times, 9/5/2018)
- For Las Vegas' best live music, go where the musicians go - Nashville may call itself “Music City,” but Las Vegas has a lock on the good stuff. Jennifer Lopez, Barry Manilow, Enrique Iglesias, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Paul Shaffer all headline big casino resort shows this month, while the Backstreet Boys, Cher and Celine Dion return to the mix next month. But if you want to experience the really good stuff, the shows where you can lock eyes with the singers, tap your feet, sway your hips and feel like you’ve been transported back to O.G. Las Vegas, “you have to go to the places the musicians visit on their nights off,” says Craig Canter, a popular Vegas singer who favors Rat Pack tunes. Vegas has a lot of famous headliners and celebrities, but what visitors don’t know is that the city has a vibrant live music scene beyond the casino theaters,” Canter says. “Some great musicians have become local celebrities here. When they’re not out on tour or playing for big stars, they’re playing weekly gigs here, drawing huge crowds and inviting other musicians to come up and sing or perform” ... "I play quite a bit around town, and so do other musicians" says Joey Melotti, a well-regarded Vegas songwriter and piano player who toured with famous singers such as Michael Bolton, Julio Iglesias and Rickie Lee Jones. He’s been a member of Manilow’s band for more than a decade. "Barry’s show is scripted out, very detailed, so it’s fun to play around town on my own when we’re off." (The Dallas Morning News, 9/4/2018)
- Traffic warning for Barry Manilow fans heading to Birmingham concert - When Barry Manilow [said] 'Can't Smile Without You' you can safely bet he wasn't thinking about roadworks in Paradise. But fans driving to the singer-songwriter's next concert in Birmingham could be in for a nightmare journey - if they don't allow extra time ... That’s just a day after the neighbouring Paradise Queensway will be shutdown for a year on September 3. The closure is part of the Midland Metro Alliance work to extend the tramline from Stephenson Street in the city centre up to Five Ways in Edgbaston ... Famous for other hits like Mandy, Copacabana and Could It Be Magic, the 75-year-old will appear at the Arena Birmingham on Tuesday, September 4. Barry Manilow concertgoers from outside of town in particular might not be expecting to find Paradise Queensway closed as well. Arena Birmingham updated its website to say: “Paradise Circus will close in both directions from Monday 3 and remain closed until summer 2019... We strongly recommend you check out all the information within this blog before planning your journey to our venue!” [An Arena Birmingham] spokesman said: “We have a blog set up on the website helping to make customers aware of the potential issues. All customers who have booked tickets to a show at Arena Birmingham will be sent the same advisory information in a pre-event email a couple of days before the event. “Those who have booked for Barry Manilow on Tuesday should have received an email on Friday night, August 31. In addition, our Barry Manilow webpage has just been updated with a warning message.” (Birmingham Live, 03 September 2018)
- What to see this week in the UK over the next seven days: Our pick of the best [rock & pop] - Barry Manilow: Mandy! Could It Be Magic! Can’t Smile Without You! Copacabana! You can turn your nose up all you want, but Barry Manilow and his Princess-Diana-circa-1991 haircut has brought pure joy to millions for 50 years. FIFTY YEARS! Expect all the hits, some glorious name-dropping speeches and unbridled, white wine-tinged euphoria among the Fanilows. Leeds, Saturday 1; Manchester, Sunday 2; Birmingham, Tuesday 4; London, Thursday 6 to 8 September. (The Guardian, 31 August 2018)
- Man oh Manilow spices up Westgate - Yes, Spiderman, it’s great to be “your friendly, neighborhood” gossip columnist. It’s been a week full of shows, parties and other exclusive events, and I’ve learned so much to share with you. First are nuggets coming out of Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino...
Barry Manilow, my childhood neighbor from across the river in Brooklyn, returns to the International Theatre on Sept. 27, with “Manilow: The Hits Come Home.” You “can’t smile without” hearing many of his dozens of Top 40 hits from album sales of more than 85 million, including 12 No. 1 hits.
The show’s run ends on Oct. 27 so you need to secure your seats soon. It’s part of a major revamping at Westgate, which includes an impressive lineup. (Gaming Today, 8/7/2018)
- Chrissy Teigen Sings To Baby Miles in Instagram Photo - Chrissy Teigen has shared a new photo of her baby, Miles, on Instagram and it’s adorable. In the photo, both mother and son are laying in a bed and it looks like Teigen is singing. The caption reveals that she’s singing his Favourite song: "Copacabana," she wrote. The photo got a great response from Teigen’s followers. (Inquisitr.com, 7/29/2018)
- Music and passion are always the fashion with Round Barn's production of 'Copacabana' - The Barry Manilow hit “Copacabana,” about a club where “music and passion were always the fashion,” has been running through listeners’ minds since the late ’70s. For most, all it takes is, “Her name was Lola,” to begin the musical tale of how a showgirl and bartender’s romance at the Copacabana, “the hottest spot north of Havana,” is derailed by a man named Rico wearing a diamond. The 1978 hit became the basis for the musical “Barry Manilow’s Copacabana,” which continues through Aug. 26 at Amish Acres’ Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee. “There is a lot of spectacle, but the songs are really the star of the show,” director Jerry O’Boyle says.
Unlike with a jukebox musical that takes existing songs and creates a plot around them, aside from the title song, Manilow wrote all of the songs in “Copacabana” for the musical. Paul Rigano, who plays Stephen and Tony in Round Barn’s production, says the musical offers something for any fan of musical theater. “If you are more of a ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ fan and you like modern storytelling and that kind of music, you’re still going to love this piece,” he says. “If you grew up on [Danny Kaye] and Fred Astaire and the golden age of Hollywood, you are going to love that aspect of it ... And then, of course, who can’t tap their toes to Barry Manilow’s music? It’s so rich and so good.”
At the beginning of the musical, the audience meets Stephen, a composer struggling to write a song about Lola and the Copacabana. Also a composer, Rigano sees a lot of himself in the character. “The more I read about him, the more I think he’s loosely based on my own life,” he says. “He is a New York City-based composer who is struggling with trying to write a hit tune at the top of the show and he discovers this idea, he keeps hearing this tune: ‘The Copa,’ ‘Copacabana,’ and he’s trying to figure out the song. That’s where the story first picks up. Over the course of the evening, he pictures this MGM musical, sort of this big classic golden age musical-type show, and that is the story of the Copacabana as we know it in Barry Manilow’s very famous song, and he assumes that role (of) Tony at that 1947 nightclub.”
Tony works as a bartender at the Copa, where he meets and falls in love with aspiring showbiz star Lola, fresh to the city from Tulsa, Okla. Unfortunately, Lola also attracts the attention of Rico, who kidnaps the young woman and takes her to his nightclub in Havana. The Copa crew sets off to rescue Lola and bring her home. “(The audience is) going to laugh so much, especially if they are fans of Barry Manilow” Rigano says. “They were able to slip in a few little jokes that true, true Manilow fans will really enjoy, and I don’t want to give too much away, but I think you can tell with the way the show is constructed that they set out to write a feel-good musical that, you know, something that had a classic feel but with a modern twist, which is very much sort of where I love to make art.” (South Bend Tribune, 7/26/2018)
- Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre of 98 Degrees Enjoy Barry Manilow’s Show at Westgate - Musicians Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre, of the multi-platinum boy band 98°, enjoyed Barry Manilow’s hit new show at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Saturday night, alongside friends. The pop stars, who were seen dancing to Manilow’s hits throughout the evening, joined the legendary performer for photos following the show. (VegasNews.com, 7/23/2018)
(Pictured: Justin Jeffre, Barry Manilow, Jeff Timmons and friends)
- Barry Manilow's Copacabana Sets The Stage For Summer Fun At The Round Barn Theatre - The Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres in Nappanee presents "Barry Manilow's Copacabana" Playrights: Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, Lyricists: Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, produced by special arrangement with Musical Theatre, International, July 24 through August 26. American Sign Language performance August 25th at 8:00 PM. For tickets and reservations call the box office at 800-800-4942 or go to www.amishacres.com.
You can safely assume that a musical named "Barry Manilow's Copacabana" has at least something to do with the 1978 hit written and sung by renowned pop star. But this is not what is sometimes known as a jukebox musical, built around one hit after another. When the legendary Dick Clark asked Manilow to compose a 1985 Made For TV musical around "Copacabana" Manilow wrote all new songs, great music and great lyrics with his writing partners Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman. This is good news, because it means the music is written in Manilow's inimitable style. Few singer/songwriters can boast the number of hits as Barry Manilow, but it's not only the number, but kind of hits Manilow has created -- each song leaves an indelible mark. If you hear a bar or two of a Barry Manilow hit you'll find yourself singing the whole song to yourself.
Over the years "Copacabana" has grown as it became a musical on the London stage, and later toured America. Right now during rehearsals the cast has learned what Round Barn audiences will soon discover -- this is one wonderful show. Jerry O'Boyle is directing "Copacabana." As he describes it, the musical is about a songwriter named Stephen who's stuck trying to write the words and music for an idea he can't get out of his head. "He's trying to write this song, while at the same time his wife Samantha is trying to get him to go out to dinner with her parents. But he won't stop trying to write the song." In his mind it's 1947, and his name is Tony, and in walks a girl named Lola, who looks a lot like Samantha. "It's like an MGM movie," O'Boyle continued. "No browns, no beiges, it's all in technicolor."
The songs sound perfectly in period, like the old movies, but it's recognizably Manilow's style at the same time. There are all the familiar characters: villains, fall guys, the good-hearted cigarette girl, classic clowns, and the boss who runs the theatre. A hero to believe in and a heroine to sigh and die for. "All these classic characters give us a chance to keep the characters real but also have broad, recognizable characterizations," O'Boyle noted. "It's a really fun show." There are also several kinds of classic dance styles, from tap to bolero. "It's been great," O'Boyle said of the rehearsal process. "The actors are all very enthusiastic. It's a new show to them, and they're telling me, 'I'm liking this a lot more than I thought I would.'" (Broadway World, 7/18/2018)
- Oakcrest Select Choir performs with Barry Manilow at the Borgata - The Oakcrest High School Select Choir, along with some former graduates, joined Barry Manilow on stage on July 6th and 7th at the Borgata Event Center in Atlantic City to perform during the shows’ finale. Both performances (July 6-7) were sellouts. “We were invited to sing in the concert by one of Barry Manilow's concert coordinators,” Choir Director Richard T. Tinsley II said. “It was pretty exciting. For some of these students and alumni this was a once in a lifetime performance. For the rest of their lives they'll be able to brag that they once sang background for the music legend, Barry Manilow.”
The choir joined with Manilow to sing “I Write the Songs,” “Copacabana” and “Miracle.” “A majority of the students had no idea who Barry Manilow was, so it really made for fun rehearsals,” Tinsley said. “This allowed me to show them new music and honestly broaden their musical horizons. This is big for our program and for our school. It promotes Oakcrest Performing Arts in a positive way and yet again shows that our music department is a one of a kind, top notch program. The students and parents are extremely happy and thankful to have had this opportunity. Some even felt like celebrities.”
Elena Castillo is a 2017 graduate of Oakcrest who participated in the concert. "At first it felt really weird, I feel old,” she said. “But it felt good to back in my choir music classroom. I study music in college and what I miss most about music at Oakcrest is that it’s more than music. It’s like family in the Oakcrest Choir and that makes the music and performance that much better." (The Press of Atlantic City, 7/12/2018)
- High school choir to hit Colosseum stage with pop music icon Manilow - They may not know Barry but most have heard of Lola. She was a showgirl.A combined student choir from St. Anne and Cardinal Carter secondary schools will perform on stage with pop music icon Barry Manilow Friday at Caesars Windsor. “I think there was one student who knew who he was but they all knew Copacabana,” said St. Anne’s choir director Anna Villella of one of Manilow’s hit songs about “the hottest spot north of Havana.”
While his musical taste leans toward Twenty One Pilots and Cage the Elephant, St. Anne’s Lukas Radlin recognized Copacabana although he couldn’t place exactly why. “I knew the song but I didn’t know who Barry Manilow was or that he sang it,” the 18-year-old said. As for It’s A Miracle and I Write the Songs, Radlin had never heard either before rehearsals. The 30-member choir will perform a medley of all three Manilow mega hits as part of his grand finale on the Caesars Windsor Colosseum stage. “It’ll be a different perspective being on stage,” Radlin said. “It’ll be cool to see the crowd. I’m excited.”
The 75-year-old Manilow often invites a local community choir to join his show and, so, a call was placed to the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board looking for talent. Villella has taught and helped out with the choir at St. Anne for 19 years. “Of course I said yes,” she said of an offer to share the spotlight with a Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter who has sold more than 85 million albums. Knowing that mustering 30 voices from her own program in the middle of summer vacation might be an issue, she extended the invite to co-directors Lindsay Longpre and Melissa Ciotoli at Cardinal Carter. There are 16 singers from St. Anne, a dozen more from Cardinal Carter, and Villella and Longpre will join them on stage.
At 36, Longpre is a fan of Manilow’s music with I Write the Songs being one of her personal favourites. “I’ve always loved his music,” Longpre said. “It’s fun stuff and I’ve really enjoyed introducing it to them.”
Like Radlin, Cardinal Carter’s Samantha Lambier is eager to perform on stage before a large audience. “I’m an actor as well so I’m looking forward to being on the stage and getting that experience,” the 18-year-old said.
The Colosseum seats 5,000 people and casino officials noted the performance was almost sold out as of Thursday afternoon. While the concert kicks off at 9 p.m., the choir reports for a 5 p.m. run-through when the group is hoping to meet the man himself. “I think it’s going to be really memorable,” Longpre said. (Windsor Star, 7/12/2018)