‘Harmony,’ a Manilow Musical Set Under Nazis, Is Broadway-Bound
Harmony, the musical about a German singing troupe torn apart by the rise of Nazism, sung by Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, finally opens on Broadway this fall.
Developed by Manilow and Sussman for over 25 years, the show tells the true story of a sextet who rebelled against the Nazi regime as the group featured both Jewish and non-Jewish members. The ensemble was called the Comedian Harmonists.
“They represent everything I love. They combine Manhattan Transfer and The Marx Brothers in complex harmonies and are funny as hell,” said Manilow, who wrote the show’s music. . “It killed me when we dug into it. Why didn’t we know about them?”
Sussman, who wrote the book and lyrics, said the show is “about the search for harmony in what has turned out to be the most discordant chapter in human history.”
Musicals often take a long time to hit Broadway, but “Harmony” has come a particularly long way. The show first performed at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse in 1997 and has since been performed by a variety of creatives, his team and cast. At the Alliance Theater in Atlantain 2014 at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, and last year at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York – a living memorial to the Holocaust. There had been previous efforts to bring the show to Broadway, including plans in 2004 that collapsed due to lack of funds.
“We’re not going to let this go,” said Manilow. “Even though we kept hitting brick walls, we knew we had something special.”
The show arrives at a time when anti-Semitism is once again a growing concern in the United States and beyond. This issue is currently explored in the Broadway play Leopoldstadt and the musical Parade. “Sadly, it’s more resonating not only with anti-Semitism, but with the rise of dictators around the world,” Sussman said.
The comedic harmonist has been explored by other storytellers in the past.This latest musical is based in part on historical archives compiled by Peter Czada.
The Broadway production will be directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, who won a Tony Award for his choreography for “After Midnight” and helmed last year’s “Harmony” with the National Yiddish Theater Folksbyen at the Jewish Heritage Museum. . A Broadway cast has yet to be announced.
The production will begin previews on October 18th and will open at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on November 13th. Lead producers are Ken Davenport, Sandy Moran and Garry Keef.