Meet Shayne Kennon, Broadway’s new “breakout” star of “HARMONY”

Watch Shayne Kennon perform “Every Single Day” from Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow’s new musical ‘HARMONY’ – at a benefit for New York Theatre Barn

The reviews have called the show a “glorious work of art,” and Shayne’s lead performance, “show-stopping” and “break-out.”

The New York Post’s Michael Riedel wrote:

Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s musical “Harmony” is up and running in Atlanta and, judging from the reviews, it’s sure to hit Broadway next year.

The show is about the Comedian Harmonists, a hugely popular all-male singing group in Germany in the 1920s and ’30s. Their rise, though, coincided with that of the Nazis, and since their ensemble included several Jews, they were forced to disband when Hitler came to power. They were largely forgotten until a German filmmaker interviewed the last surviving members for a 1977 documentary. The movie led to a resurgence of interest in the group and, after Sussman saw it in 1992, inspired the musical.

A friend who saw the musical in previews last week e-mailed me afterward: “What can I say? I loved it! Totally ‘verklempt’ at the end . . . and the audience went bonkers — and it was a mostly WASPy, wealthy Atlanta audience!”

(For those who are like that audience, “verklempt” is a Yiddish word meaning “choked with emotion” — as in “After reading a very sad short story by John Cheever, and watching the late summer sun set from the porch of our home on the Cape, I was so verklempt, I had to pick myself up with a dry Beefeater martini.”)

The critics confirmed my friend’s verdict a few days later.
“Though a little fine-tuning here is inevitable, this show feels Broadway-bound,” wrote Atlanta INtown.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Manilow and Sussman have created a virtual ‘Jersey Boys’ for Jews. I mean that as a high compliment.”

The critic went on to praise the rousing opening and some “luminous” Manilow-style ballads.
Manilow and Sussman are “over the moon” about the reception for their show, a friend says.
The road to Atlanta was paved with hardship and tears.

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