Songs of Barry Manilow
Directed by Wade Hair
Breakthrough Theater, Winter Park FL
The tech may have been rough tonight, but the great tunes were all there. This show popped up unexpectedly on the Breakthrough calendar for one weekend and features nine singers and a dozen of Manilow’s biggest hits and obscurities. Manilow is a pop artist that attracts VERY fervent fans, and while I like many of his songs, I’m not in the Manilow Army, but our cast is. The singers parade on stage singing “Copacabana,” one of the happiest songs about murder and failed romance. The cast then assembles in a half circle of chairs, sort of like a therapy session, and each tells a story and sings a number. Fanilow newcomer Chris puts up a good rendition of “Memories,” while the veteran Marty Wicks renders the lesser known “Weekend in New England.” The slightly Joan impressed me with “Even Now”. I was most taken by Mathew’s upbeat “Band Stand Boogie.” It’s not a song you’d associate with Manilow with its swing beat and 1950’s groove. Maestro Wade Hair tells stories; it seems Manilow wrote jingles before he made it big on the bathhouse circle: Pepsi, State Farm and McDonalds all used his talents.