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Barry Manilow will miss the opening night and New York debut of his and Bruce Sussman’s long-gestating musical Harmony after contracting COVID-19.
The Grammy, Emmy and special Tony winner announced he would be absent from the evening event in a statement just hours before the performance Wednesday.
“I am heartbroken to say that I have just tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be able to attend tonight’s opening night performance of my new musical, Harmony,” he said. “This just might be the cruelest thing that has ever happened to me: 25 years waiting for this show to premiere in New York, and I can’t attend.”
He went on to champion the resilience of New Yorkers amid the pandemic and encouraged people to mask up for the show. “Even in the face of this pandemic, we New Yorkers remain the toughest, staunchest people on the planet,” he concluded his statement. “So, put on a mask and go see a show!”
Directed by Warren Carlyle and presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists. The musical ensemble featured six men who blended sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics. It took the world by storm between the late 1920s and early 1930s before the Nazi regime began its crackdown on Jewish artists, including several Comedian Harmonists members.
Performances began March 23 and will run through May 8, after the show’s run was initially delayed due to the pandemic. Sean Bell (A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Rent), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Newsies) and Steven Telsey (The Book of Mormon) play the harmonists, while Jessie Davidson plays Ruth, Ana Hoffman (Dreamgirls) stars as Josephine Baker, Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock) as Mary and Chip Zien (Falsettos, Into the Woods) as elder Rabbi.
Beowulf Boritt serves as the scenic designer, with costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, video design by batwin + robin productions, inc. and casting by Jamibeth Margolis. Associate direction and choreography are by Sara Edwards, general management by Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, wig and hair design are by Tom Watson and music direction is by John O’Neill.
Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer.
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