Leigh Ann Larkin, Shayne Kennon and More Will Appear Again in Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony in Los Angeles
By Michael Gioia
Leigh Ann Larkin and Shayne Kennon, who starred in the 2013 Atlanta production of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony, will again appear in the musical when it plays the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre beginning March 4, prior to an official opening March 12.
Directed by Drama Desk Award nominee Tony Speciale (Classic Stage Company's Unnatural Acts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), with music by Manilow and a book and lyrics by Sussman, the co-production with Atlanta's Alliance Theatre will play through April 13.
The cast includes Will Blum (The Book of Mormon), Hannah Corneau (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and Fiddler on the Roof in Chicago), Chris Dwan (Off-Broadway's The Old Boy and Peter & I), Kennon (European tour of Madagascar), Larkin (A Little Night Music, Gypsy), Will Taylor (A Chorus Line, La Cage Aux Folles) and Douglas Williams, who were all seen with the production in Atlanta. New to the cast is Matt Bailey (first national tour of Jersey Boys).
The ensemble of Harmony plays numerous roles, ranging from audience members and people on a train to recognized historical figures like Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein and Richard Strauss — all of whom the Comedian Harmonists knew. Liberty Cogen, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Greg Kamp, Chad Lindsey, Lindsay Moore, Brandon O'Dell, Patrick O'Neill, Charles Osborne, Kim Sava, Dave Schoonover and Lauren Elaine Taylor again comprise the ensemble.
Harmony, according to press notes, "tells the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in pre-WWII Germany who rose from unemployed street musicians to become world-famous entertainers, selling millions of records, starring in over a dozen films, and selling out the most prestigious concert halls around the world. Yet while The Comedian Harmonists' sophisticated music, paired with hilarious comedy, made them the brightest of stars, the group’s mixture of Jews and non-Jews put them on a collision course with history."
When Manilow and Sussman began working on Harmony, Roman "Rabbi" Cykowski was the only surviving member of The Comedian Harmonists, and was able to talk with them about his life and experiences before passing away in 1998. His memories, along with available historical information, provide the basis for the musical.
Other members of the creative team include choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, music director John O'Neill, set and costume designer Tobin Ost, lighting designers Jeff Croiter and Seth Jackson, sound designers John Shivers and David Patridge and projection designer Darrel Maloney. Lora K. Powell is the production stage manager, and Doug Walter is the orchestrator.
For more information and tickets, call (213) 972-4400 or visit CenterTheatreGroup.org.
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