NEW YORK — “Band in Berlin,” a musical about the 1930s German singing group the Comedian Harmonists, is set for an open-ended commercial run Off Broadway this fall beginning Oct. 2. The show beats to Gotham the Broadway-bound Barry Manilow tuner “Harmony,” which treats the same subject.
Starring as the Comedian Harmonists will be real-life Brooklyn musical sextet Hudson Shad, who have specialized in Harmonists songs since forming in 1992. The show will feature 22 items from the Harmonists’ repertoire, transcribed and arranged from original recordings by Hudson Shad musical director Wilbur Pauley.
Banned in Berlin
“Band” is written by Susan Feldman and choreographed by Patricia Birch. Birch and Feldman will share directing chores on the show, which follows the Harmonists’ rise to international acclaim and the their eventual demise under the Nazis, who demanded that the Harmonists’ three Jewish members be banned.
Feldman is the artistic director and founder of the St. Ann Center for Restoration and the Arts, which since 1979 has commissioned and presented music theater and music performances from such artists as David Byrne, Marianne Faithfull, John Cale and Lou Reed. Birch is a choreographer who has won two Emmys and four Tony noms. She choreographed the original Broadway productions of such shows as “Grease,” “A Little Night Music” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Show still needs venue
Robert V. Straus, Jeffrey Ash and Randall L. Wreghitt will present the tuner in association with the American Music Theater Festival and Arts at St. Ann’s, where “Band in Berlin” was workshopped before production at the Geva Theater in Rochester, N.Y., and at the American Musical Theater Festival.
The show has not yet booked a theater, but opening night is set for Oct. 15.