PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Manilow On Broadway; One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

By Harry Haun
30 Jan 2013

Barry Manilow
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
The debut of a possible new club act — Carson and the Countess — debuted in the aisles during one lusty number — Carson Kressley of "Queer Eye" and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of "The Real Housewives of New York City," inspiring other couples to take to the dance-aisle. Fox 5 News' Rosanna Scotto, there with "Good Day New York" cohorts Dave Price and Greg Kelly, got a conga line going for "Copacabana," clogging the aisle for fotogs trying to shoot the curtain call.

Manilow signed off with "I Write the Songs," which he didn't write but which he did make supremely famous. It still seemed apt in light of the golden-oldies he did write.

The show's after-party was held — where else? — at Copacabana three blocks away, only not in those second- and third-floor rooms so often favored by the non-profit theatre groups. This was Barry Manilow, and only the Rooftop was good enough.

The bad news was that the elevator wasn't working until Manilow had come and gone, necessitating an enormous amount of staircase-climbing for one and all.

When he did arrive, Manilow was conspicuously more subdued and just as quickly mobbed by friends as he had been by fans. He was genial and gracious to all who crossed his path, but his eyes were constantly darting about, saying "Where did I put that exit?" But he took his own sweet time about exercising the exit. And he wasn't a stickler for vocal rest, although my exclusive quote consisted of "Hangin' in there."

Among the Fanilows we spotted: NY1's Patrick Pacheco, Tony-winning lyricist David Zippel and director-choreographer Warren Carlyle.

The latter really goes back with Manilow. "We did Copacabana together in the West End in the early 1990s. I was a chorus boy in those days."

"I thought he sounded fantastic," opined Jim Caruso, who hosts Birdland's Cast Party every Monday. "When he sings with the video of himself, he's still singing in the same keys 30 years later! That's rather unusual, I think. He and his songwriters were the Gershwins of their day because these songs are really going to live."

Kirsten Holly Smith (a.k.a. Dusty Springfield in Forever Dusty) and Commissioner Katherine Oliver from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment were the evening's "star power." The original opening last week had a glittery list of celebs.

Liza Minnelli was one of those who couldn't reschedule. She had an early a.m. call — to do a "Today" show interview with Joel Grey, Michael York and Marisa Berenson on the 40th anniversary of their "Cabaret" flick. All four will be turning out Jan. 31 for its gala "re-opening" at the Ziegfeld arranged by Turner Classic Movies.

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Barry Manilow
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN