HARMONY Opens at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Harmony: A New Musical, starring musical theatre icons Chip Zien (Into the Woods, Caroline, Or Alter) and Sierra Boggess (The Small Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera), opens tonight at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Read the reviews!

Introduced by Nationwide Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) for only 4 far more weeks, Harmony was penned by the famous Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle.

Harmony tells the accurate tale of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of 6 talented youthful adult men in 1920s Germany who took the environment by storm with their signature mix of innovative near harmonies and uproarious phase antics, right up until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision class with historical past.

Fresh from the stellar achievement of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, which received multiple honors such as a 2019 Drama Desk Award, NYTF provides Harmony in English. Previews start out this Wednesday, and the output opens on April 13 and runs as a result of Might 8, 2022, in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Corridor theatre at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Dwelling Memorial to the Holocaust, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Area in Battery Park City, Manhattan.

Actively playing the 6 Comedian Harmonists are Sean Bell (National Tour: A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Countrywide Tour: Rent), Zal Owen (Broadway: The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (National Tour: Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Regional: Newsies), and Steven Telsey (National Tour: The Reserve of Mormon). Jessie Davidson (Regional: The Secret of Edwin Drood) plays Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (Nationwide Tour: Dreamgirls) set to portray Josephine Baker – a main celeb whom the Harmonists encountered on their way to the prime. Kenny Morris (Broadway: Hairspray) will be the standby for Zien’s Rabbi.

The ensemble incorporates Elise Frances Daniells, Zak Edwards, Abby Goldfarb, Eddie Gray, Shayne Kennon, Kolby Kindle, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Tori Palin, Barrett Riggins, Kayleen Seidl, Andrew O’Shanick, Dan Teixeira, Nancy Ticotin, and Kate Wesler.

Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Article: The book, by Manilow’s longtime collaborator Sussman, also tends to bounce to extremes. A large part of the very first act is used introducing us to the 6 Comic Harmonists in a catchy but extended opening amount. They then have a blink-and-you-miss out on-it sequence of currently being unknowns and – hey presto! – are abruptly globe-famous. The Borscht Belt jokes all through are entertaining, but there are a several much too a lot of. Two roles that could use much more meat are the wives, played by Sierra Boggess and Jessie Davidson. Conflicted about their husbands’ roles in Germany’s moral downfall, they’re potentially intriguing. But, however magnificent their tunes is, the elements come off as slight. As does the layout. Beowulf Boritt’s established of Tv set screens and negligible household furniture definitely is hamstrung by a downtown funds. It would be good to see some thing much more transportive and evocative. So “Harmony”‘s extended journey proceeds. But with Manilow’s good music, and this remarkable enterprise of actors, it truly is really worth the more mileage.

Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Instances: Manilow, Sussman and Carlyle mostly thrive in balancing the shifting moods, which is no easy feat because they ought to shuffle wide humor and, well, Nazis. The “comic” in the band’s name was to be taken virtually, for instance, and the singers have been as popular for their phase antics and novelty songs as for their limited singing. The draw back is that there is a slender line in between fast and rushed, and the men are drawn in brushstrokes. A pair of like interests, Mary (Sierra Boggess) and Ruth (Jessie Davidson), are even considerably less than that – just one is loving, the other feisty, and which is really considerably it.

Raven Snook, Time Out New York: Harmony is a memory musical about a time we must under no circumstances neglect. A enthusiasm undertaking by pop hitmaker Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, this demonstrate has been a long time in the building, from its 1997 premiere at California’s La Jolla Playhouse to its existing New York iteration, mounted by Countrywide Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Its tale-which juxtaposes the increase of the 3rd Reich with the decline of a actual-everyday living German singing sextet called the Comedian Harmonists-is absolutely worthy of telling. But although Harmony is partaking and heartfelt, it peters off into historical hokum.

David Finkle, New York Stage Overview: Carlyle and forged take care that the huge vary of feelings ship house the musical’s previous and latest information. Most outstanding amongst them are Zien (providing his most amazing general performance in a very long career) Feldman as the fervent Young Rabbi Boggess as the Young Rabbi’s intelligent wife Davidson as the defiant Nazi hater Roman as a Gentile partner enamored of his Jewish wife and Owen as the dedicated Comic Harmonists creator. A substantial and occupied supporting cast even further implies the producers’ dedication to get Harmony to the substantially-greater time the place it also belongs.

Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Dips into melodrama apart, the Comic Harmonists’ story is a person that, as one particular of them points out from the jump, is hardly acknowledged these days. Manilow and Sussman’s operate to continue to keep their legacies alive is admirable, and what their musical lacks in out-of-the-boxness, it extra than tends to make up by the traditional artwork of telling an unsung story well. In this case, it’s sung gorgeously, and 6 times in excess of.

Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: What is most extraordinary about “Harmony,” though, is how minimal is in need to have of embellishment. Manilow and his very long-time collaborator, the lyricist/librettist Bruce Sussman, with whom he’s created hundreds of music, together with “Copacabana (At The Copa),” ended up sensible to see the makings of a musical in this riveting real tale. They created the very first version of “Harmony” in 1997 at the La Jolla Playhouse, and a afterwards edition at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles in 2014. I you should not know why it really is taken 25 decades for “Harmony” to make it to New York. All I can say is I’m glad I have gotten to see it, and I might happily see it again.

Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Publish: Manilow’s musical, which opened Wednesday evening off-Broadway (the composer tested good for COVID and unfortunately couldn’t show up at), has a ton going for it. The drama is about a small-known, interesting piece of World War II background that will have audiences racing to Google at intermission. Manilow’s score, with lyrics by Bruce Sussman, is pretty and often touching. And all of the singers are sensational. Nevertheless, there is some discord.