Ahmanson announces season with Barry Manilow musical, Danny DeVito


Fanilows, your wait is finally over. The long-delayed Barry Manilow musical “Harmony” as well as a star turn by Danny DeVito in the London production of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” are part of the 2013-14 lineup for the Ahmanson Theatre.

The national tour of the Broadway production of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” is also scheduled for the new season, which the Center Theatre Group announced Wednesday.

The Ahmanson will offer five productions, the same as the current season.


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“The Sunshine Boys,” with DeVito and acclaimed British stage actor Richard Griffiths, will open the season. The revival production (Oct. 2 to Nov. 3) ran last summer at the Savoy Theatre on London’s West End. Thea Sharrock will return as director.

The production is not a tour; Los Angeles is the only announced U.S. city so far, said a CTG spokeswoman.

Manilow’s “Harmony” has been in the works for more than 15 years and was at one point expected to open on Broadway in 2003. The musical will make its debut in Atlanta at the Alliance Theatre in the fall of 2013 before coming to the Ahmanson (March 12, 2014 to April 13, 2014). The staging, directed by Tony Speciale, is a co-production between the Alliance and CTG.

Manilow doesn’t appear in the musical, but he wrote the score in collaboration with lyricist Bruce Sussman, who also wrote the script. The show is inspired by the real-life story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of young singers who rose to fame in Germany before World War II.

An earlier version of the musical ran at the La Jolla Playhouse in 1997.

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Michael Ritchie, artistic director of CTG, said in an interview that he had followed the development of the musical since 1997. “It’s a show I’ve been interested in for a long time,” he said.

Neel Keller, the current associate artistic director at CTG, had worked at La Jolla in a similar capacity when “Harmony” debuted there. Ritchie said that he and Keller had talked about the musical a number of times over the years.

When the Alliance decided to mount the show, Ritchie said CTG entered conversations with Manilow and Sussman about a co-production.

Also set for the season are national tours of the prequel to the story of “Peter Pan,” “Peter and the Starcatcher” (Dec. 4 to Jan. 12); “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (April 23, 2014 to June 1, 2014); and “We Will Rock You” (July 16, 2014 to Aug. 24), the long-running London musical created by Ben Elton that uses the music of the rock group Queen.

“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” won’t feature Audra McDonald, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway production last season. No casting for the touring version has been announced.

CTG said that Ahmanson subscribers will be offered bonus options to attend “Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty” (Nov. 21 to Dec. 1), the theatrical presentation of the ballet being presented at the Music Center, and the U.S. premiere of “The Last Confession” (June 11, 2014 to July 6, 2014), starring David Suchet. The Vatican drama will be part of the Mark Taper Forum season but presented at the Ahmanson.


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