Her name was Lola, she was a... ?
If you can fill in the missing word (and we know you can -- it's "showgirl"), then you're familiar with Barry Manilow's hit song, "Copacabana," which he turned into a musical that played London's West End as well as touring the UK for more than a year. Now Americans will have a chance to see the show, which has its U.S. premiere June 17 in Pittsburgh, travels to Dallas, and then embarks on a 40-week national tour.
With a book by Manilow, Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, music by Manilow and lyrics by Sussman and Feldman, Copacabana features such tunes as "Sweet Heaven," "Who Needs to Dream?" and "Ay, Caramba!". Wayne Cilento, who won a Tony for choreographing The Who's Tommy and also directed and choreographed Dream, serves as Copa's choreographer, with David Warren Hurrah at Last directing.
According to spokespersons at the Skutski & Oltmanns press office, after its three-week stint at Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera, Copacabana will travel to Dallas as part of the Dallas Summer Musicals season. Those two venues are co-producing the tour.
Manilow, a Brooklyn native, sang such pop hits as "Weekend in New England" and "Mandy." He wrote a musical score for Off-Broadway's The Drunkard when he was 18. In 1994 he wrote the score for the Warner Brothers animated feature, Thumbelina. Sussman scored the Off- Broadway musical Miami (book by Wendy Wasserstein) and Ted Tally play, Coming Attractions. No recent word on Manilow and Sussman's other major musical project, Harmony, which received workshop readings back in December 1998. Harmony, like Broadway's brief-lived Band in Berlin, is inspired by the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, six young men in 1920s Germany who rose from unemployed street musicians to become world-famous entertainers. While at the height of their fame, they played to sold-out shows in world-class concert halls, made a dozen films and sold millions of records. But the group's mixture of Jews and Gentiles inevitably led to clashes with the newly established Nazi party.
Harmony ran at CA's La Jolla Playhouse last fall. Rebecca Luker and Danny Burstein starred in the CA production, wherein Manilow followed in the footsteps of Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett and other songwriters bringing their art to musical theatre.
-- By David Lefkowitz