Musician Barry Manilow

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on February 16, 2003

Barry Manilow mentioned during his millennium concert a play he was writing for Broadway. How is that project progressing?
—Barbara C., Tennessee

The play, Harmony, is waiting for a theater to become available on Broadway and is expected to open this fall. It's an original musical, based on the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of six young men in Germany who started out as street musicians in the 1920s and became wildly popular entertainers, mixing music and slapstick comedy. When the Nazis came to power, they considered the group a threat because some of the members were Jewish. The play has had a long road to Broadway. It debuted in California at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1997 to good reviews. Though best known for his successful pop music career, Manilow has written for the stage before. When he was just 18, working in the mailroom at CBS and attending Juilliard, a director asked him to arrange some songs in the public domain to use in a musical adaptation of a play called The Drunkard. The Brooklyn-born up-and-comer wrote an original score instead, and the musical ran for eight years. He also put together Barry Manilow's Copacabana-The Musical, which is based on his hit song, Copacabana. It began as a television special in 1985 and opened onstage in London in 1994.