Director-choreographer Warren Carlyle reveals to Broadway News, exclusively, what to expect.
Following a 2022 Off-Broadway run at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, “Harmony” will open at the Barrymore Theatre this fall. Previews will begin on Oct. 18 ahead of an official opening night on Nov. 13.
The musical tells the story of the six men behind the Comedian Harmonists, a group of entertainers who rose to fame in Berlin during the 1920s and ’30s. The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records and starred in dozens of films — but they’re legacy was erased by the turmoil of Nazi Germany.
“Harmony” features an original score by Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and a book by Bruce Sussman. Sussman took home the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. Manilow and Sussman previously worked together on the Main Stem productions of “Barry Manilow on Broadway” and “Barry Manilow at the Gershwin.”
Tony winner Warren Carlyle will return to direct and choreograph the production. Carlyle most recently choreographed the 2022 revival of “The Music Man.” This marks the first production he’s directed and choreographed on Broadway since 2013’s “After Midnight.”
Carlyle told Broadway News exclusively about his work on the musical. “‘Harmony’ is a memory play, told from the point of view of the main character, the Rabbi,” he explained. “My directorial lens on this project is to tell the story as clearly and as theatrically as possible through the eyes of Rabbi. I want to create a piece of dynamic storytelling that both entertains, terrifies and illuminates this true story.”
The production is one that Carlyle calls “epic,” and captures multiple styles of theatricality “from a classic Golden Age musical in Act 1 — with all the hope and naivety that history and hindsight denies us — to the deconstruction of Act 2 — as the world around the Comedian Harmonists changes beyond recognition and belief,” Carlyle said. “[It has] the pure joy, laughter and entertainment value of a Broadway show, with the pathos and the depth of a great play.”
“None of the characters in the show know how the story ends,” he added. “We as the audience are privy to history and that knowledge alone brings a devastating conclusion to the story.”
Cast and creative team announcements are forthcoming.
The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production of “Harmony” began performances on March 23, 2022. The show enjoyed an extended run at the Edmond J. Safra Hall in the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
“Harmony” is being produced on Broadway by Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief. Joining the producing team are Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D’Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner and Neil Gooding Productions. “Harmony” is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment.
Ruthie Fierberg contributed reporting to this story.