Principal Casting Announced for Bway-Bound Harmony, Barry Manilow's Musical, Launching Nov. 25

News   Principal Casting Announced for Bway-Bound Harmony, Barry Manilow's Musical, Launching Nov. 25
Brian D'Arcy James, as expected, will star in the new Broadway-aimed Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman musical, Harmony, the producers announced Sept. 10.
Brian D'Arcy James.
Brian D'Arcy James.

Also confirmed for the troupe, which plays the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia starting Nov. 25, are previously-reported Kate Baldwin (Arena Stage's South Pacific) and Stephen R. Buntrock (Oklahoma!, Les Miz), with Janine LaManna (Seussical), Bradley Dean (Man of La Mancha), Aaron Lazar (Oklahoma!), David Turner (The Invention of Love) and Thom Christopher Warren (The Lion King).

A Broadway premiere is planned for 2004. Manilow, known for "Mandy," "I Write the Songs," "Copacabana" and other pop hits, serves as composer and Bruce Sussman is the lyricist and librettist.

Performances continue in Philly to Jan. 3. Opening there is set for Dec. 10. The cast numbers 24, according to

Actor Brian D'Arcy James is a Tony Award nominee who appeared in Broadway's Sweet Smell of Success and Titanic.

"Inspired by the true lives of the Comedian Harmonists, Harmony tells the story of six young men who formed a singing group in the waning days of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s," according to production notes. "Rising from unemployed street musicians to world-famous entertainers who performed in concerts halls around the world, sold millions of records, and made over a dozen films, the Comedian Harmonists created a completely unique style that mixed physical humor with suave musical sophistication. But despite their tremendous success, the group was eventually torn apart as the Nazis tightened their grip on Germany." The show was first mounted as a regional production at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California in 1997, where it broke box-office records.

David Warren directs. Choreography is by Peter Pucci. Designers are Derek McLane (scenic); David Woolard (costumes); Howard Binkley (lighting), with orchestrations by Don Sebesky.

Harmony's producers are Mark Schwartz, in association with Garry C. Kief and Brent Peek. Richard Jay-Alexander is executive producer.

Barry Manilow is not widely known for his musical theatre writing, but is internationally embraced as a singer and for writing dozens of smash-hit songs from the 1970s and '80s.

He earned the Tony, Emmy and Grammy awards, as well as an Oscar nomination. He was given a Special Tony Award in 1977.

According to his bio, Manilow's theatrical roots go back to his days in the mailroom at CBS in New York, when, at 18, he wrote the entire original score for a musical adaptation for the melodrama, The Drunkard. The show ran Off-Broadway for eight years. Manilow made his film scoring debut in 1994 with the Warner Brothers animated film "Thumbelina," with songs co-written with his Harmony collaborator Bruce Sussman. His second animated feature, "The Pebble and the Penguin," also with songs collaborated with Sussman, was released in 1995.

Lyricist-librettist Sussman is the co-author of over 150 published and recorded songs written for dozens of artists, films, television programs and stage musicals. His collaborations for the stage include the Off-Broadway musical, Miami (book by Wendy Wasserstein), the score for Ted Tally's play with music, Coming Attractions (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Outer Critics Circle Award) and several stage revues including Broadway's Madwoman of Central Park West, Off-Broadway's Tuxedoes for Hire, and Howard Crabtree's Whoop Dee Doo! (Drama Desk Award).

Director David Warren's credits include Rodgers and Hart's musical Pal Joey at the Huntington Theatre, Nicky Silver's Pterodactyls at the Vineyard Theatre (Obie Award for Distinguished Direction), Philip Barry's Holiday at Circle in the Square, Broadway's Summer and Smoke for the Roundabout Theatre, William Finn's musical, Romance in Hard Times at New York's Public Theater, Nicky Silver's Fit To Be Tied at Playwrights Horizons, Hobson's Choice at the Atlantic Theatre Company, The Dazzle at Roundabout, and Gone Home and Barbra's Wedding for Manhattan Theatre Club.

Pucci has directed and choreographed for his own company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers, since 1986. Prior to founding his own company, he was a principal dancer and co-choreographer for Pilobolus Dance Theater. He has created movement for numerous New York and regional theatre productions.

The Forrest Theatre is at 1114 Walnut Street. For ticket information, call Telecharge at (800) 447-7400 or visit www.Telecharge.Com.


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