HARMONY Begins Rehearsals Tomorrow at the Ahmanson in LA
Rehearsals begin tomorrow, February 11, 2014, for Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's "Harmony," A New Musical, which opens March 12, 2014, at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre and plays through April 13. (Previews begin March 4.)
Directed by Tony Speciale, with music by Manilow and book and lyrics by Sussman, "Harmony" 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. "Harmony" is a co-production with the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta.
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.
The cast includes, in alphabetical order, Matt Bailey (first national tour of "Jersey Boys"), Will Blum ("The Book of Mormon" on Broadway), Hannah Corneau ("Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" and "Fiddler on the Roof" in Chicago), Chris Dwan ( "The Old Boy" and "Peter & I" off-Broadway), Shayne Kennon (European tour of "Madagascar"), Leigh Ann Larkin ("A Little Night Music" and "Gypsy" on Broadway), Will Taylor ("A Chorus Line" and "La Cage Aux Folles" on Broadway) and Douglas Williams ("Tigrane" at Opéra de Nice).
The ensemble for "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. Members of the ensemble include 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.
The "Harmony" creative team also includes choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, music director John O'Neill, set and costume designer Tobin Ost, lighting designers Jeff Croiter (2012 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play for "Peter and the Starcatcher") and Seth Jackson, sound designers John Shivers (2013 Tony Award for Best Sound Design for a Musical for "Kinky Boots") and David Patridge, and projection designer Darrel Maloney. Lora K. Powell is the production stage manager, Doug Walter is the orchestrator and casting is by Caleri Casting and Mark B. Simon, CSA.
Pictured: Douglas Williams, Chris Dwan, Shayne Kennon, Will Taylor, Tony Yazbeck and Will Blum in the Alliance Theatre production of "Harmony". The show plays March 4 through April 13, 2014, at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Greg Mooney.