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6 Questions With Barry Manilow

Manilow returns to Broadway with a new concert at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

Barry Manilow wants to make sure you know you'll get all the hits when you come to see his show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. "Copacabana"? Check. "Mandy"? Definitely. Manilow's fourth career stint on the Great White Way, through August 17, is aimed squarely at his fans, young and old, and he's happy to give them what they want.

Barry Manilow during his 2013 engagement at the St. James Theatre.
(© David Gordon)

This is your fourth Broadway concert. Does it ever get old coming back here?
No, never. Frankly, it hasn't ever gotten old for me, period. Certainly New York is doubly exciting, because I'm a New Yorker. Even though I haven't lived in New York for a long time, once you're a New Yorker, you're always a New Yorker. I talk fast, I walk fast, I think fast. I'm always fighting for a seat on the subway in my head. One of my goals now is to go back to Williamsburg, where I grew up, to see what all the commotion is. Williamsburg is very fancy schmancy now. Have you been to Williamsburg? Is it really what they say?

It's very cosmopolitan.
Cosmopolitan? Williamsburg? No! When I grew up there, it was the slums. It was dangerous. Taxi drivers wouldn't take me over the bridge at night. [laughs]

What can we expect to hear during this new concert at the Lunt-Fontanne?
I'm gonna give them all the hits. I know what the audience wants, but over the last couple of years, it's changed.

How so?
There's a younger audience now. They want to hear the stuff that they either grew up with, or that their parents played. They love it, and I'm happy to do it. If they're having a great time, I'm having a great time. Because I'm doing it for them. I do everything for these strangers who've given me so much.

What's your favorite song to perform?
"Could It Be Magic." I based that on Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor." That's a musician's song. It was on my first album, which came out in 1821 [laughs] and had the worst picture that anybody ever took of me. It sold five copies, but the song actually survived. The musicians love that one, and I do too.

There are rumors that your musical Harmony might land in New York soon. What can you say about it?
Things are in the works. That show is the prize of my life. It's the best thing I've ever been involved with. I've written it with my longtime collaborator, Bruce Sussman. We wrote "Copacabana" and "I Made It Through the Rain" and "Bandstand Boogie" together. He's a real theater guy and so am I, but the pop career got in the way. We've always wanted to write a bona-fide musical, so we wrote Harmony and we're crossing our fingers that maybe next year is the year.

Barry Manilow during his 2013 engagement at the St. James Theatre.
(© David Gordon)
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