Barry Manilow's Harmony Musical, With Tony Yazbeck, Will Blum, Leigh Ann Larkin and More, Begins Sept. 6 at the Alliance

By Michael Gioia
September 6, 2013

Harmony – A New Musical, a co-production between Atlanta's Tony-winning Alliance Theatre and Center Theatre Group that features music by Barry Manilow and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman, begins performances Sept. 6 at the Alliance.



Directed by Drama Desk Award nominee Tony Speciale (Classic Stage Company's Unnatural Acts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), performances continue through Oct. 6. It officially opens Sept. 15.

"Harmony is about a group of young men who came together during a terrifying time in history to create something exquisite," said director Speciale in an earlier statement. "Their heartbreaking and untold story was the impetus for Barry and Bruce to write Harmony, and it's what compelled me to work on this important project. Together the authors have woven an intricate and epic piece of music theatre about memory, collaboration, hope, brotherhood, survival and redemption. Harmony is a celebration of these six brilliant men and an inspiring reminder of the human capacity to make great art, even in our darkest hours."

Shayne Kennon plays Roman "Rabbi" Cykowski, who was the only surviving member of The Comedian Harmonists when Manilow and Sussman began working on the project. He died in 1998. His memories, plus available historical information, provide the basis for the musical.

Joining Kennon, whose character also acts as the narrator for the story, are Tony Yazbeck (Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Gypsy) as Harry, Douglas Williams as Bobby, Chris Dwan (Off-Broadway's The Old Boy, Peter & I) as Erich, Will Taylor (A Chorus Line) as Chopin, Will Blum (The Book of Mormon) as Lesh, Leigh Ann Larkin (A Little Night Music, Gypsy) as Mary and Hannah Corneau as Ruth.

The ensemble for Harmony consists of 11 actors who play over 30 roles, including historical figures like Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein and Richard Strauss. They are Dave Schoonover, Patrick O’Neill, Greg Kamp, Charles Osborne, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Chad Lindsey, Brandon O’Dell, Lauren Elaine Taylor, Kim Sava, Lindsay Moore and Liberty Cogen.

"We are both thrilled by the stunningly talented cast and design team who will be joining us for this production of Harmony," said creators Manilow and Sussman in a statement. "Given Tony Speciale's fresh and blazingly theatrical vision for the piece, we now have every reason to believe this will be the Harmony we've always hoped to see."

Harmony, according to the Alliance, "tells the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, a close harmony ensemble of six young men in 1930s Germany, who took the world by storm until their religious composition – a mixture of Jews and Gentiles – put them on a collision course with history."

Other members of the creative team include set and costume designer Tobin Ost, projection designer Darrel Maloney, LX designer Jeff Croiter, choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, music director Patrick Vaccariello, assistant music director John O'Neill, orchestrator Doug Walter, sound designer John Shivers and copyist Howard Begun.

For more information and tickets, visit call (404) 733-5000 or visit AllianceTheatre.org/Harmony.