How Sierra Boggess and Warren Carlyle Make Broadway ‘Harmony’

To hear the actress Sierra Boggess tell it, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Broadway musical “Harmony” couldn’t have a more apt title.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

“They sing in harmony the entire show,” said Boggess (“The Little Mermaid,” “Love Never Dies”), speaking in a conversation with “Harmony” director-choreographer Warren Carlyle on the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s theater podcast. “There’s no sound like it on Broadway right now.”

Carlyle (“After Midnight,” “The Music Man”) described the sound of “Harmony,” about a real-life troupe of singers called the Comedian Harmonists, as “a cross between the Manhattan Transfer and the Marx Brothers.”

He went on to reveal his take on how the hitmaking duo Manilow and Sussman work together. “Barry is so emotional,” Carlyle said. “He writes these beautiful, emotional melodies, and Bruce is like a scalpel. He’s so sharp and so concise and so focused on story. It’s like the marriage of this very, very intelligent writing and this very emotional music.”

Boggess stars as a woman who marries one of the Jewish Harmonists just as the Nazis begin their rise to power in Germany. She said she particularly relishes the song she sings with co-star Julie Benko: “It’s a duet for a soprano and a belter. We have very few of those. There are so many women in our industry and we’re always looking for things to sing together. I honestly think this song is going to become one that people do a lot.”

Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, Boggess discusses working with Broadway veteran Chip Zien and Carlyle touches on coming up with comic choreography. They both also mentioned a show they hope to bring to New York someday: a new revival of “The Secret Garden,” on which the actor and director previously worked earlier this year at LA’s Center Theatre Group.

“That’s been a passion project for the last couple of years, and I continue to work on that,” Carlyle said. “That’s something that I’m making for Sierra, and I hope, sooner rather than later, it will be in New York.”

To hear the entire conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms including Apple PodcastsSpotify and the Broadway Podcast NetworkNew episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.

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