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After a brief delay due to illness, Manilow on Broadway, Barry Manilow's new concert show at the St. James Theatre, opened last night, January 29.

With worldwide sales of more than 80 million records, his success is a benchmark in popular music. Rolling Stone crowned him "a giant among entertainers... the showman of our generation," and Frank Sinatra summed up Manilow best when Ol' Blue Eyes told the British press, "He's next." He currently has 50 Top 40 hits. And now, Manilow is returning to the place where it all began, his hometown, New York City, with a new concert series on Broadway - marking his return to The Great White Way for the first time in more than two decades with Manilow on Broadway.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Stephen Holden, New York Times: Mr. Manilow is now 69 and after nearly four decades in the limelight has crossed the invisible line from pop star to pop institution. His voice, while instantly recognizable, is not what it used to be. High notes have disappeared, and a certain unsteadiness has crept into his delivery. But for the fans who sang along with his hits, that didn't matter. He was present. As he sang many of his greatest hits in a one-hour-and-50-minute concert without an intermission, his brand was intact.

Michael Gilz, Huffington Post: It's a tricky night to review since Manilow was clearly not at full steam or at times even half steam. His voice was sketchy and intentionally mixed low into the sound system so that the music and the backup singers could carry him as much as possible. He's a real pro, though and always engagingly modest. If he pulled off a big note, Manilow would amusingly make a face of self-deprecating surprise. He apologized repeatedly, urged people to come back again soon (when his voice would fully recover) and worked his voice with skill, making the most of what he had. (And dashing off stage for a second towards the end of the evening, only to come out sounding -- briefly -- stronger than he had the entire night.)

Elisabeth, Vincentelli, NY Post: And if there were any doubts left about Manilow being a pro, let's just say that he sounded good enough on opening night, after a bout of bronchitis forced him to cancel several shows last week. A bigger problem is that his face is frozen in eternal middle age, and he appeared to sing through clenched jaws. Between that and the terrible, echoey sound, it was hard to get any sense of emotion, real or fake.

Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News: If you lived through the '70s and '80s, you lived the Barry Manilow catalogue. The show began with "Could It Be Magic," then moved in rapid succession across familiar tunes - from "Looks Like We Made It" to "Weekend in New England" to "Even Now." At 69, Manilow still gives it his all, shaking and baking as much as he could muster. Yes, his moves and his patter are a little canned. But despite being sick for a week, he was in good voice.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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