(February 24, 2022, New York, New York, JNS Wire) National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) today announced the entire cast and creative team for Harmony: A New Musical, starring musical theatre icons Chip Zien (Into the Woods, Caroline, Or Change) and Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera). Harmony was written by the legendary Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. At the helm will be Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle directing the New York debut of this captivating musical.
Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.
Playing the six Comedian Harmonists will be Sean Bell (National Tour: A Bronx Tale: The Musical), Danny Kornfeld (Off-Broadway: Renascence), Zal Owen (Broadway: The Band’s Visit), Eric Peters (National Tour: Motown: The Musical), Blake Roman (Regional: Newsies), and Steven Telsey (National Tour: The Book of Mormon). Jessie Davidson (Regional: The Mystery of Edwin Drood) plays Ruth, with Ana Hoffman (National Tour: Dreamgirls) set to portray Josephine Baker – a major celebrity whom the Harmonists encountered on their way to the top. Kenny Morris (Broadway: Hairspray) will be the standby for Zien’s Rabbi.
The ensemble includes Eddie Grey, Barrett Riggins, Zak Edwards, Matthew Mucha, Andrew O’Shanick, Shayne Kennon, Kayleen Seidl, Abby Goldfarb, Kate Wesler, Tori Palin, Benjamin Harold Moore, Nancy Ticotin, and Elise Frances Daniells.
Joining the creative team are Beowulf Boritt, scenic designer; Linda Cho & Ricky Lurie, costume designers; Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, lighting designers; Dan Moses Schreier, sound designer; batwin + robin productions, inc., video design; Jamibeth Margolis, CSA, casting director; Sara Edwards, associate director/choreographer; Roy Gabay/Jumpstart Entertainment, general manager; and John O’Neill, music director.
Harmony is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada.
Fresh from the stellar success of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, which won multiple honors including a 2019 Drama Desk Award, NYTF will present Harmony in English, with previews beginning on March 23, 2022, and the production running from April 13-May 8, 2022, in the newly renovated Edmond J. Safra Hall theatre at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, NYC. For tickets to Harmony, visit NYTF.org or call 855-449-4658. Contact 212-655-7653 for all other inquiries.
Directing and choreographing Harmony will be Tony Award winner and Emmy-nominated Warren Carlyle. Carlyle won a 2014 Tony Award for his choreography for After Midnight, for which he was also Tony Award-nominated as Best Director. Carlyle was again nominated for a 2019 Tony Award for his choreography for the critically acclaimed revival of Kiss Me Kate. Other Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly!, She Loves Me, On the Twentieth Century, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Christmas Story, and Chaplin. He directed and choreographed Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, as well as Hugh Jackman’s 2019 World Tour. He also choreographs the current Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.
“I’m thrilled to be directing Harmony and helping bring this show to New York. It’s an important message and it could not have found a better home to start a New York run than the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust,” Warren Carlyle said.
NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek said, “The core of NYTF’s mission will always be the promotion of the great literary, dramatic and musical traditions of the Yiddish theater. We will venture beyond Yiddish when presented with opportunities to tell important Jewish stories, in other languages, particularly when these stories otherwise would not be told.” He continued, “The storied career of the Comedian Harmonists, one of the most popular performers in pre-war Europe, represents how antisemitism can infect even the most ‘civilized’ of societies. The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is proud to bring their story to a wider public by presenting Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s remarkable musical Harmony.”
“In our long and exciting collaboration, nothing thrills us more than today’s announcement that our beloved HARMONY is coming to the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in New York. This is what we’ve always wanted to do—create an original show with an original score based on a story that needs to be told,” Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman said.
The NYTF production of Harmony is co-produced by Ken Davenport and Sandi Moran with Garry Kief, Amuse, Inc., Susan DuBow, Mapleseed Productions, Michelle Kaplan, and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and STILETTO Entertainment. Miranda Gohh is associate producer. Davenport most recently won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Once on This Island and the Tony Award for Best Musical for Kinky Boots, and received Tony Award nominations for Spring Awakening (Revival of a musical), The Visit (Musical), and You’re Welcome America (Special Theatrical Event).
Now celebrating its 107th season, Tony Award-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the US and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse audience comprised of performing arts patrons, cultural enthusiasts, Yiddish-language aficionados and the general public, the company presents plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, interactive educational workshops and community-building activities in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying performances. NYTF provides access to a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work.
NYTF’s production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish sold out for six months before moving uptown to Off-Broadway’s Stage 42. It won a Drama Desk Award (outstanding revival of a musical), an Outer Critics Circle Award (outstanding revival of a musical), a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award special citation, a Lucille Lortel Award (outstanding lead actor, Steven Skybell); and an Off-Broadway Alliance award (best musical revival). It was nominated for additional Drama Desk Awards (outstanding director of a musical, Joel Grey; outstanding actor in a musical, Steven Skybell; outstanding orchestrations, Larry Blank); Lucille Lortel Awards (outstanding revival; outstanding director, Joel Grey; outstanding featured actress in a musical, Jackie Hoffman); Drama League Awards (outstanding revival of a musical; distinguished performance award, Steven Skybell); Outer Critics Circle Awards (outstanding director of a musical, Joel Grey; outstanding actor in a musical, Steven Skybell); and a Chita Rivera Award (outstanding ensemble).