Singer Barry Manilow has long been a luminary in the world of music, but now, alongside his long-time collaborator Bruce Sussman, he's returned to theater with a production of the musical Harmony.
The musical, created by Sussman and Manilow years ago, follows an all-male German harmony ensemble called the Comedian Harmonists, who were the most successful musical group in pre-WW II Europe until they were torn away from each other by the war.
ET was exclusively backstage during opening night of Harmony, and Sussman and Manilow sat down to discuss the inspirations for the show, and the journey they took to get the performance produced.
"We just believed in [the story], and it was like it wouldn't leave us alone," said Manilow, recalling the long road the musical took from imagination to production. "We put it in the drawer for a while… and then I just woke up and said, 'I just want to see it one more time before I croak, let's just try it one more time.' And we did it."
"We feel it’s something of a mission now, to tell this story," added Sussman. "Above and beyond the show and everything else, these six guys [the Comedian Harmonists] took hold of us, and we feel like they are pushing us to get this thing onto the stage."
Check out the video for more from Manilow and Sussman about how they make their long-lasting collaborative relationship succeed after all these years, and how the idea to create the musical first came to them.
Harmony opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown LA on Wednesday, March 8 and is set to run through April 13. Tickets are available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.