Manilow and Sussman Control Harmony Musical Again; Is It Broadway-Bound?

By Kenneth Jones
19 Feb 2004

Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, authors of the musical, Harmony, have won back the rights to the show from the producer who failed to bring the work to fruition in late 2003.

According to composer Manilow's publicist, a panel of three arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association rendered an interim award in favor of Manilow and lyricist-librettist Bruce Sussman in their arbitration proceeding involving the musical play.

According to a statement released Feb. 19 by Manilow spokesman Jerry J. Sharell, "The arbitration panel unanimously and unequivocally ruled that the rights of the former producer of the play, Snorkel Productions, Inc., have terminated; that Snorkel is to return to Manilow and Sussman all literary materials relating to Harmony; and that Snorkel is to immediately cease acting as producer for Harmony or dealing with Harmony in any manner. The unanimous award of the arbitration panel represents a vindication of the position taken by Manilow and Sussman in the arbitration proceedings."

Sharell added, "The authors couldn't be reached for comment. They're out getting drunk."

This would seem to pave the way to reconstruct the physical production that had been created and resuscitate the company that had been rehearsed. The late 2003 plan, one could speculate, may shift to a fall 2004 plan, if details can be worked out.



Cast members have scattered to other shows and it's not thought that Harmony will surface this season on Broadway (although theatres are apparently available in spring).

The set has remained in storage, and new producers would have to be brought in. No word has been released on the progress of interesting new money people to the project.

Lead producer Mark Schwartz fell short of raising the needed money for a Philadelphia tryout of the show and the musical was scuttled days before the company was to travel to Philly's Forrest Theatre. The hope after Philly was Broadway.

The musical is based on the lives of the Comedian Harmonists, a specialty singing group popular in Germany until the Nazis rose to power in the 1920s and '30s.

Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James was to have played Rabbi, one of the singers.