After more than 25 years, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's musical Harmony has finally made its Broadway debut, celebrating opening night November 13—and the reviews are in. Find out what critics are saying about the long-gestating show below.
Harmony began previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway October 18, with Tony winner Warren Carlyle directing and choreographing.
Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey lead the cast as Comedian Harmonists Bobby, Young Rabbi, Harry, Erich, Chopin, and Lesh, respectively, sharing the stage with Chip Zien as Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, Julie Benko as Ruth, Bronwyn Tarboton as Clara, Benjamin H. Moore as Titus, Lee Zarrett as Ezra, Allison Semmes as Josephine Baker, Bruce Landry as Border Guard, Zak Edwards as Obersturmführer, and Andrew O'Shanick as Standartenführer.
The ensemble also includes Rhonnirose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kate Wesler, and Stuart Zagnit, with swings Dan Hoy, Matthew Mucha, and Kyla Stone rounding out the company.
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Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.
The musical—featuring music by Manilow and lyrics and a book by Sussman—tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. The work is partially based on The Comedian Harmonist Archive, as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada.
The musical has had a long road to Broadway. A world premiere staging played California's La Jolla Playhouse in 1997, then directed by David Warren. A pre-Broadway tryout was announced for Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre in 2003, only to be canceled due to financial woes. The musical reemerged in a 2013 co-production at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, with Tony Speciale directing. The California run won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. The Broadway bow is a transfer of the musical's 2022 Off-Broadway run at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which Carlyle also directed and choreographed. The Off-Broadway staging was critically acclaimed, earning nominations for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards. It won the Best New Musical Award from the Off-Broadway Alliance. A Broadway cast album was released in August.
Manilow also serves as music arranger, with orchestrations by Doug Walter, vocal arrangements by Manilow and John O'Neill, music coordination by Michael Aarons, and music direction by O'Neill. The production also features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Linda Cho and Ricky Lurie, lighting design by Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, media design by batwin + robin productions, hair and wig design by Tom Watson, casting by Jamibeth Margolis, and production stage management by Scott Taylor Rollison. Juniper Street Productions is production manager, and RCI Theatricals' Beverly Edwards is general manager.
Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief lead the producing team.