The Comedian Harmonists, all dressed up and ready to play, take center stage at The Alliance.

The Comedian Harmonists, all dressed up and ready to play, take center stage at The Alliance.

SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //

Opening night of “Harmony – A New Musical”, the long awaited Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman labor of love, drew a full house to the Alliance Theatre last Sunday.

It’s a production that’s been in the works for decades and, finally, it spilled grandly across the stage in midtown Atlanta after a week of previews.

At least for one night, the musical drew cheers from an appreciative audience that spotted both Manilow and Sussman, longtime friends and collaborators, at the back of the theatre before the house lights dimmed and the magic began.

The musical, music by Manilow, book and lyrics by Sussman, and directed by Drama Desk award nominee Tony Speciale, focuses on the “Comedian Harmonists.” They were a talented sextet of singers – some Jewish, some not – who were the hot and happening “boy band” of the era.

They sold millions of records, starred in a dozen films and packed the houses of the most prestigious concert halls around the globe. Unfortunately, they rose to fame just as Hitler and the Nazis were taking control of Germany and the talented group of performers was crushed by the fascist state.

The production is a euphonic blend of glib banter and dark drama; silly and amusing production numbers and melancholy, soaring ballads.

“Harmony” circles the Holocaust from the moment the curtain rises and the second act moves slowly into darkness as the Nazis take control of Germany and wipe the smiles from the audiences chortling over the antics of the Harmonists.

It’s a pretty solid bet that if you enjoy musical theater you’ll like “Harmony” and leave the Alliance with a heavy heart, but tapping your tootsies.

Want to go?

“Harmony” will play at The Alliance Theatre through Oct. 6. Tickets start at $30 and are available at The Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or by calling (404) 733-5000. Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/harmony.