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National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow ©Photo Credit: Chad Bakta

A Letter from Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow

Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow ©Photo Credit: Chad Bakta
Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow ©Photo Credit: Chad Bakta

March 21st, 2022

Dear friends,

As native New Yorkers – Brooklyn (Barry) and Queens (Bruce) boys, to be exact – the theater has always been in our blood. We grew up attending Broadway musicals, fantasizing about one day crafting our own. Through all the thrills that our multi-decade collaboration has delivered – and there have been too many to count – that lifelong dream has never faded. When we discovered the mostly forgotten story of the Comedian Harmonists, we found the inspiration we needed. 

In Germany, in the 1920’s, six young performers – some Jews and some gentiles – shot to superstardom with their unique combination of vocal dexterity and comedic antics (think Manhattan Transfer meets Marx Brothers). They were on top of the entertainment world when their seemingly unstoppable success came face-to-face with the rise of Naziism. 

A century after they first wowed audiences, this story of creative connection and destructive hatred – of harmony and discord – feels newly resonant as xenophobic authoritarianism and antisemitism continues to gain ground around the globe. 

Now, we are overjoyed to bring this true story to NYTF audiences with our entirely original musical, Harmony, in its New York premiere production directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle and starring Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess.

We hope you join us, as we pay tribute to one of the most important stage acts ever to be erased from history with our new musical, Harmony. 

Yours,