Teen Ensemble Reviews Harmony
Besides the opportunities to create and perform, our Teen Ensemble is also invited to the first preview of every production this season. Our teens were on hand for the very first public performance of Harmony, and here are a few of their reviews:
Harmony the new musical is a humorous and very entertaining show. It shows how faith and friendship can come together to bring audiences into a world that we have all but forgotten. The comedian harmonist were one of the best selling artist groups of the mid 20th century, selling millions of albums as well as having 12 complete movies. This story was beautifully written by the great Bruce Sussman and music by the one and only Barry Manilow, whose teamwork has come together to bring us this truly beautiful show. Overall this show brings an amazing cast of characters including a quirky doctor, a boasting baritone, and riveting rabbi that will have you laughing and crying till the curtains come down. So come see this show at Atlanta’s premiere palace for the arts The Alliance Theatre.
12th Grade, North Cobb High School
There are so many adjectives that come to mind when attempting to describe everything that Harmony is: inspiring, emotional, funny, clever, etcetera etcetera. From the feeling evoking, beautifully blended score, to the set and lighting design, costuming and smooth transitions, tears of joy were brought to my eyes from pure satisfaction. There were of course, some hiccups as most shows on preview night do have, but this only feeds my superstitious belief that this only means opening night will be a banger.
12th grade, Grady High School
Harmony is a new musical with music by Barry Manilow, and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman. The Alliance Theatre hosted the premiere, this weekend. A singing group called the Comedian Harmonists build the story. Set in Germany around the time of World War II, the story follows the lives of these six aspiring singers, along with their struggles for work, love, and religious freedom.
Vocally, the show was quite strong. On stage talent got the opportunity to show their musicality as they conquered complex rhythms, and of course, harmonies. A wide range in voice parts existed among the cast as well. For example, Will Blum as “Lush”, the tenor of the group hit extremely high alto, and even soprano notes throughout the course of the show. On the other hand, the bass of the cast, Douglas Williams held down the low notes. Stark contrasts like these kept me as an audience member engaged, and amused.
Though not a mainly dance show, cast members of Harmony faced some heavily choreographed numbers. One even included various lifts of Chris Dwan, in the role of Erich Collin. Even the scene changes were choreographed! It was beautiful to see cast members, in character, twirling across the stage holding chairs over their heads. Props to JoAnn M. Hunter, the choreographer of Harmony. Obvious need for some rehearsal, but I thought the dance steps were very fitting for not only a musical, but a realistic male singing group.
Musicians played a huge part in the show as well (get it…played?). These talented instrumentalists never missed a note. Not only were they clearly audible, but forceful enough to fill the whole theatre. Together as one, this brilliant ensemble added an artistic element to the production that aided in the continuation and development of the storyline. An overall wonderful job to conductor Patrick Vaccariello and his talented colleagues working in the pit.
Elaborate set pieces captivated the audience even before the lights dimmed for the start of the show. Bright, red curtains caught your eye as they appeared from the ceiling. Then suddenly, they would disappear to make room for moving pillars and a bridge, putting you in a train station. A very technically advanced show. Once all of the timing and coordination is figured out with the flys and rigs, audiences will be in awe.
I have not one negative comment to convey about the acting of this production. Every actor stayed in their element for the entire show. Characters from all over the spectrum appeared as the plot drew on. Serious characters such as the Fuhrer, played by Chad Lindsay, set the scene appropriately for the broken state of Germany in the early 1930s. However, the audience got a chance to experience some comic relief. Leigh Ann Larkin, as Mary Hegel lightened the mood with her rendition of an awful lounge singer.
I am truly glad that I had the chance to see this production of Harmony at the Alliance Theatre. Barry Manilow has proven that he’s not just a writer of songs for the radio. His infectious show tunes have been replaying in my head since I saw the production, and I couldn’t be happier. The cast and crew of this production have clearly put in so much time and effort into this production. This is a show that I would recommend to any of my peers. Anyone who knows how to laugh, cry, and clap at the same time, needs a buy a ticket for this show.
11th grade, Dekalb School of the Arts