What do Barry Manilow and Mike Tyson have in common?

Both are playing Broadway this season.

Tyson did a few rounds with us this summer, and now, the guy “who wrote the songs” recently announced that he is coming back to Broadway for 17 sweet shows only.

So why does this duo intrigue me?

Well, #1, I’m a Fanilow.  “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Weekend in New England,” “Somewhere Down The Road?”  Come on, this guy can write a tune!  Heck, I even enjoyed the score to his musical Copacabana!

But there’s a #2.

Barry Manilow is doing seventeen shows.  Tyson was here for just six shows.  Frankie Valli just sang seven shows in the middle of October.   Comedian Lewis Black was here recently for a week.

(FYI, that is probably the first time in the history of the typed word that those four gentlemen appeared in the same paragraph together.  And now all that I can do is imagine all four of them starring in the next Judd Apatow buddy flick together.)

But that’s not all.  Donny and Marie were here just a bit ago.  And Kathy Griffith.  And . . .

Get my point?

While Broadway has always had a special event performer every once in awhile, the trend is definitely increasing.  And, as I blogged back in 2010, it’s starting to feel a little bit more like Vegas, isn’t it?

This kind of “Alternative Programming” is good overall.  It fills a couple of weeks at a dark theater, and provides jobs to many that might normally be out of work.

Just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of our Traditional Programming.  The day a new play can’t come into town because Air Supply is doing a gig at The Broadway is the day I pack it in.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • LA Producer says:

    Um, Ken? Barry didn’t write the songs the make the whole world sing. It was Bruce Johnston, currently keyboard player with The Beach Boys. Same with the other songs you mentioned. Think Barry was one of the writers on “Copacabana” however. Barry Manilow’s brilliance, besides fantastic vocal chops, is knowing a hit song when he hears it, and then making it his own.

  • Alan B says:

    Actually, Brruce Johnston wrote “I Write The Songs.”
    Barry and Frankie are certainly not special Bway events. They are just enjoyable concerts.
    Special Bway event status should only be given to Liza and probably Hugh Jackman!
    With that being said I am a big time Fanilow!!

  • Donald says:

    If I remember my Broadway history correctly, this kind of limited engagement was a standard feature in days gone by. But for the purposes of the general health and well being of Broadway, I think that those who put together these types of shows should think strategically about them. The very short runs of a week are generally not long enough for tourists to plan to attend. What we need, are performers, like Manilow, who will do 3 or 4 weeks, which is enough of a run for an out-of-town fan to plan to attend and is also of a length that the show could invest in some production befitting a Broadway stage. I would love to see more shows like this come to town. Likewise, I believe there was once more use of theaters by performers on theater’s dark nights. I think it would be wonderful to have someone doing a one-person show every Sunday night and Monday night in a theater occupied by a long-running show.

  • I agree that empty houses are a sin, and that plays deserve greater preference than special events…

    But for the record, if Air Supply did a limited engagement on Broadway, I would see that.

    I would see the s#*t out of that.

    (Is that happening? Is that happening and I don’t know about it?)

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