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Barry Manilow to miss NYC debut of his musical ‘Harmony’ after contracting COVID

Jewish singer says he waited 25 years for premiere of show about musical group in pre-WWII Germany: ‘This just might be the cruelest thing that has ever happened to me’

Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor-in-chief of JTA

Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman and the cast of 'Harmony.' (Julieta Cervantes/via JTA)
Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman and the cast of 'Harmony.' (Julieta Cervantes/via JTA)

New York Jewish Week via JTA — Singer Barry Manilow tested positive for COVID-19, preventing him from attending the New York premier of his musical “Harmony.”

The show, about a real-life musical group popular in Germany in the years before World War II, opened Wednesday night at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan.

“I am heartbroken to say that I have just tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be able to attend tonight’s opening night performance of my new musical, ‘Harmony,’” Manilow, 78, said in a statement. “This just might be the cruelest thing that has ever happened to me: 25 years waiting for this show to premiere in New York and I can’t attend. Even in the face of this pandemic, we New Yorkers remain the toughest, staunchest people on the planet — so, put on a mask and go see a show!”

Manilow, whose 28 top ten hits include “Mandy” and “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” created the musical, which premiered in 1997, with his longtime writing partner Bruce Sussman. The New York staging is being produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

“We’re doing what we’ve wanted to do forever, which is bring ‘Harmony’ to New York,” Manilow told the New York Jewish Week last month. “This theater in particular is very moving. It just really resonates with this show, and with me and Bruce. It’s a very big impact on the audiences, being in this theater.”

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