Monday, September 16, 2013

HARMONY


I know I said I wasn't going to blog anymore, but I had to tell SOMEONE about this fantastic show!

Harmony is a new musical written by Barry Manilow (music) and Bruce Sussman (book and lyrics).  It's based on the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of 6 singers and dancers in Germany in the late 1920's-early 1930's.  They were a sensation during those years.  They traveled throughout Europe and even to New York City.

These were the years when the Third Reich was coming into power in Germany, the early days of Hitler.  At first the changes didn't affect the group that much, but as the Nazi party became stronger, there were more and more restrictions placed on them.  They were told to be ambassadors and spread the word of the Third Reich.  Realizing what was happening to Germany at the time, they did spread the word through their music - satirical jabs at the new government.  Back home, they were finally told they could no longer perform together, their records were not to be sold or played, and their movies were destroyed.  All because the group consisted of 3 Gentiles and 3 Jews.

It's no secret I'm a big Barry Manilow fan.  But more than his singing, I appreciate his musical abilities.  He's a perfectionist, and it shows in this production.  The songs are perfect for the time and the story.  He's captured the feel of the era and wrote music that could fit then as well as today.  Mr. Sussman's lyrics convey the story and fit perfectly with what is being told.

And the talent!  The six young men playing the Harmonists are absolutely perfect.  Each one is given an opportunity to individually stand out.  The show is narrated by Rabbi (Shayne Kennon) with help from the other group members:  Lesh (Will Blum), Erich (Chris Dwan), Chopin (Will Taylor), Bobby (Douglas Williams), and Harry (Tony Yazbeck).  The two female leads, Mary (Leigh Ann Larkin) and Ruth (Hannah Corneau) have a number in the second act that is amazing.  The 11-member ensemble played various parts throughout the show and were also fantastic.

Harmony is playing right now at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta through October 6.  It will then move on to Los Angeles early next year.  I don't know if this cast will continue with the show or new talent will be used.  If you're anywhere near Atlanta, please try to see this show.  It will make you laugh, make you cry, entertain you - an absolutely perfect show!

PS - I'm going to see it again on September 29!

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