Barry Manilow to Anti-LGBTQ Republican Pols, ‘Shame on You!,’ Talks Coming Out, ‘Harmony’ and Broadway

Barry Manilow not known for her strong LGBTQ activism, but this multimillion-dollar pop star and reporter spoke Friday afternoon as a The Texas court heard the evidence about the governor and state attorney general’s belief that gender-based care for transgender youth is “child abuse” and deserves a formal investigation by their parents. (A judge later issued a temporary statewide order preventing such investigations from continuing.)

This week also saw the passing of Florida “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, which affects what can and cannot be said and taught in state classrooms. This is just the top filing of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills currently in state legislatures run by Republicans, including Alabama.

I asked Manilow, who became gay in 2017, what he would say to all Republican lawmakers trying to push the full spectrum of anti-LGBTQ, anti-transgender bills.

“Shame on you!” Manilow shouted down the phone.

Does he want? Texas to end its actions against transgender children and their families, and for the general wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation to end? “That’s right,” Manilow said firmly.

Barry Manilow and partner Garry Kief attend a 2016 Grammy event.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Manilow is publicly married to her manager and longtime partner Garry Kief two years ago.

Yes come out in Everyone magazine five years ago liberating or asserting herself after so many years in the closet – as Manilow put it, for fear of disappointing her female fans? “No. It was a no, nothing, event for me,” stressed Manilow today. what changes”.

Does Manilow wish he had come out sooner? “No, NO,” the second said louder than the first. “It’s whatever it is.”

I have been told it will be 13 minutes with Manilow – and this will be precisely calculated in the military. With him was his friend and longtime screenwriter collaborator Bruce Sussman, who collaborated with Manilow on “Mandy,” a song whose success and Manilow aftermath told me he had diverting him from his real dream of “writing a great Broadway musical.”

That dream may be a little closer to the impending New York premiere of his and Sussman’s show, Harmony: A New Musical, about The Comedian Harmonists, one of the most successful musical performing groups in Europe in the years leading up to World War II. Half the group were Jewish, half were Gentile, and little is known about them because their work was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis. Manilow and Sussman spoke from where the musical will be performed, the National Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, in New York City, with previews starting March 23.

Sussman once watched a German-language documentary with subtitles about the group, which featured six members wearing white ties and pigtails, with Brilliant hair. “I went out with a goal. They were the Marx Brothers meeting Manhattan Transfer. I couldn’t believe the story I was hearing and couldn’t believe I didn’t know. So I called Barry from the payphone and said, ‘I think I found it.’ We have been looking for a musical for many years. We were offered several that we turned down, but on this, Barry took a co-operative leap. He said to me, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, but go find it.’ The story blew me away. I started researching copper — Barry calls it ’round the airport’ — deciding which part of the story we wanted to tell and how. “

Manilow added, “Their story is a truly amazing one, and it’s amazing that no one remembers them. They invented a style of music and comedy that we take for granted, but they were wildly successful, being the Backstreet Boys of their day. They’ve made movies, they’ve sold millions of records.”


Barry Manilow performs at “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” in Central Park in August.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Sussman said he thinks his and Manilow’s Jewishness informed their reaction to the document, and, “as time went on and the headlines got worse, because being Jewish, I feel more obligated to tell the story than ever. I wish I didn’t have to say it, but here I am sitting at the beautiful Museum of Jewish Heritage, ‘A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.’ Every stone in this building is here to encourage memorization. We know we’re in the right place for the New York premiere of this show, and it’s unfortunate to say that we probably have the right time to tell this story as well. It is more relevant than ever. “

Manilow asserts that “his part of the composition was in the story of writing the songs in the scenes we were working on. I was more involved in telling this story with music than anything else. “

The ongoing horrors perpetrated by Russia in Ukraine have made the musical and its setting under the synthetic storm of Nazism all the more compelling, the men agreed.

“Again, I’m not happy to say it, but yes,” says Sussman. “It resonated more than ever, almost to the point where I worried about something I wrote five, six, seven years ago. They appear to be stolen from the headers. I asked Barry and the director, ‘Do I have to change that line? Looks like I wrote it yesterday because I read something in the newspaper. ‘”

“I have never seen a more excited crowd in my life. By the time they got to ‘Ladies Who Lunch’, they were ripping through the walls.”

– Barry Manilow

Manilow said he thinks current events have given the show a deeper resonance, but he’s more focused on writing “the right song at the right time. My Jewishness has nothing to do with me. I’m trying to write a love song for girls, and I’m trying to write a funny song for boys. That is my job. ”

For both of them, Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company, now revived on Broadway starring Patti LuPone and Katrina Lenk, has been completely formed. (Sussman has just seen and loved the revival, which Manilow is planning.)

Company changed all of our lives,” Manilow told me. “Do young people have any idea about going on Broadway, as we all hear Company, people went ‘OK, this is where it’s going? I want to be there.’ Everyone runs back to get into the world of Broadway because of it. I remember I saw the musical in its final preview before opening night. Can you imagine? I have never seen a more excited crowd in my life. By the time they got to ‘Ladies Who Lunch’, they were ripping through the walls. “

“It also involves Barry and I working together,” says Sussman. “After we met, I first went to his tiny apartment on the 27thorder Street, he put his thumb on the back of his piano of his favorite recording albums, and one of them was an actor recording of Company. And I said, ‘OK. This guy. ‘”

Manilow roared with a smiler.


Barry Manilow appeared in the premiere of “Manilow On Broadway” in 2013.

Astrid Stawiarz / Getty

Long before his career went supersonic, Manilow was an off-Broadway vocal accompanist. Is Broadway in his bones?

“That’s what I wanted to be,” Manilow said. “I want to be a Broadway composer. I never really thought about performing or singing in the beginning. I’m everyone’s pianist, everyone’s arranger, and I’m a musician. I never even thought about having the career that I already had. When! When Bruce and I met, we were going to write a Broadway musical. That stupid ‘Mandy’ just stopped everything. “

Both men laugh at the mention of Manilow’s breakout hit.

“It was a pop career where he sold 100 million records. How dare to him!” Sussman annoyed.

I told Manilow that Duckie, the beloved London quaint club, played “Copacabana” to the utter delight of the common man.

“Oh, great,” he replied. “And it was also a big surprise, how the radio picked it up and turned it into a pop song. Little by little, it continued to climb the charts. ”

Sussman laughed. “That song is a great example of how bad of a pop writer I used to be. I don’t know how to write a pop song, and it’s the weirdest pop song I’ve ever written, it reminds me of why it’s so successful. There is nothing like it being broadcast. “

I asked Manilow what he had to do.

“That’s a big question,” he mused. “I did everything I ever dreamed of. I’ve done every style of album I’ve ever dreamed of, and now this show [Harmony]. I would love to make another of these. We’d love to write this one, but we can’t write another until we’ve finished this one. “

Sussman recalls a story about Oscar Hammerstein, whom he told, on the night Oklahoma! Open the door, walk with his wife in their garden. “Hammerstein told her, ‘I really hope they like it, because this is what I like and if they like it, I’ll write another one.’ And that’s how Barry and I feel about Harmony. ”

Manilow said he will most likely return to Broadway for a third performance, following the success of the previous two. But Harmony may also provide a template for a new period-focused future. “We hope this is a success – not just because we have worked on it for so long and enjoyed it,” says Manilow. “If the audience buys this, we might have another one or two that we want to write about.” Barry Manilow to Anti-LGBTQ Republican Pols, ‘Shame on You!,’ Talks Coming Out, ‘Harmony’ and Broadway

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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