Barry Manilow's Copacabana Sets The Stage For Summer Fun At The Round Barn Theatre

Barry Manilow's Copacabana Sets The Stage For Summer Fun At The Round Barn TheatreThe Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres in Nappanee presents "Barry Manilow's Copacabana" Playrights: Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, Lyricists: Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman, produced by special arrangement with Musical Theatre, International, July 24 through August 26. American Sign Language performance August 25th at 8:00 PM. For tickets and reservations call the box office at 800-800-4942 or go to www.amishacres.com

You can safely assume that a musical named "Barry Manilow's Copacabana" has at least something to do with the 1978 hit written and sung by renowned pop star. But this is not what is sometimes known as a jukebox musical, built around one hit after another. When the legendary Dick Clark asked Manilow to compose a 1985 Made For TV musical around "Copacabana" Manilow wrote all new songs, great music and great lyrics with his writing partners Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman.

This is good news, because it means the music is written in Manilow's inimitable style. Few singer/songwriters can boast the number of hits as Barry Manilow, but it's not only the number, but kind of hits Manilow has created -- each song leaves an indelible mark. If you hear a bar or two of a Barry Manilow hit you'll find yourself singing the whole song to yourself.

Over the years "Copacabana" has grown as it became a musical on the London stage, and later toured America. Right now during rehearsals the cast has learned what Round Barn audiences will soon discover -- this is one wonderful show.

Jerry O'Boyle is directing "Copacabana." As he describes it, the musical is about a songwriter named Stephen who's stuck trying to write the words and music for an idea he can't get out of his head.

"He's trying to write this song, while at the same time his wife Samantha is trying to get him to go out to dinner with her parents. But he won't stop trying to write the song." In his mind it's 1947, and his name is Tony, and in walks a girl named Lola, who looks a lot like Samantha. "It's like an MGM movie," O'Boyle continued. "No browns, no beiges, it's all in technicolor."

The songs sound perfectly in period, like the old movies, but it's recognizably Manilow's style at the same time. There are all the familiar characters: villains, fall guys, the good-hearted cigarette girl, classic clowns, and the boss who runs the theatre. A hero to believe in and a heroine to sigh and die for. "All these classic characters give us a chance to keep the characters real but also have broad, recognizable characterizations," O'Boyle noted. "It's a really fun show."

There are also several kinds of classic dance styles, from tap to bolero.

"It's been great," O'Boyle said of the rehearsal process. "The actors are all very enthusiastic. It's a new show to them, and they're telling me, 'I'm liking this a lot more than I thought I would.'"

As we watch the musical unfold in Stephen's head we learn a lot in Lola about what his ideal partner would be like. Part of the show's tension is Stephen trying to figure out where Samantha fits into all this as she interrupts the creative process.

Paul Rigano, who's often been the Music Director for several Round Barn productions, is Stephen and Tony, while Tess Colby plays Samantha and Lola. Emily Whitley is Gladys, Dion Stover plays Sam Silver, and Ryan Schisler is the villain Rico Castelli. Conchita Alvarez is played by Olivia Manlove, and Travis Bird is McManus. Dalton Tyler Isaac is Willie, and the Ensemble includes Akira Watanabe, Violet Race, Matty Reda, Max Mattox, Jake DuVall-Early, Sarah Leigh Beason, Amelia Sutherland, and Patrick O'Keefe.

"Barry Manilow's Copacabana" runs from July 24 to August 26 at the Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres in Nappanee. For information and reservations call the box office at 800-800-4942 or visit www.amishacres.com.

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