Barry Manilow’s Record-Breaking Legacy, Love, and New Broadway Production


Barry Manilow, the iconic music sensation, has achieved yet another milestone in his illustrious career. With over 85 million albums sold and more than 25 Top Ten hits, including classics like “Copacabana 1985,” he’s a living legend in the music industry. This year, Manilow has another remarkable accomplishment to add to his list: breaking Elvis Presley’s record for the most performances at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a recent ceremony, the 80-year-old music maestro was presented with a key to the Las Vegas strip, commemorating his 637th show at the Westgate. This achievement surpassed Elvis Presley’s record of 636 concerts at the venue during his residency from 1969 to 1976. Manilow, in an exclusive interview with ET’s Denny Directo, expressed his gratitude and humility, stating that being mentioned in the same sentence as Elvis Presley was an immense honor.

Manilow’s journey at the Westgate Resort & Casino began in 2005, and he recalled feeling the “energy of the king” when he first graced the stage. Over the years, the venue has become a second home for him and his band, allowing them to fine-tune their performances to perfection. Despite the familiarity, Manilow emphasized that every show feels like “the first time every time,” and he cherishes the unwavering enthusiasm of his fans.

To celebrate his achievement and pay tribute to Elvis Presley’s legacy, Manilow donated proceeds from his Westgate shows, spanning from September 21 to 23, to several charities, including the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Manilow Music Project, Musicians on Call, Three Square, Victoria’s Voice, and Youth Villages.

Beyond his musical triumphs, Barry Manilow has enjoyed 45 years of enduring love with his husband, Garry Kief. Their relationship began in 1978, and they exchanged vows in April 2014 in an intimate ceremony at their Palm Springs home. Manilow’s decision to publicly acknowledge their relationship as well as his own coming out as gay in 2017 marked significant moments in his life.

Reflecting on their journey, Manilow praised the presence of Kief during the early days of his skyrocketing career. He highlighted the importance of having a supportive partner during those challenging times when the excitement of stardom could potentially lead to isolation. Kief became the anchor that allowed Manilow to return to the warmth of a home after the bright lights of the stage dimmed.

Manilow’s future holds yet another exciting chapter with the Broadway production of “Harmony.” This musical, based on the real-life story of the Comedian Harmonists, a German singing group from the 1920s and ’30s, has been 30 years in the making. The group faced adversity during the rise of Nazi power in Germany due to the presence of Jewish members. Manilow initially premiered the production in 1997 in California, with plans to open on Broadway in 2004. Unfortunately, funding issues led to the cancellation of the run.

“Harmony” has garnered several Off-Broadway awards nominations and aims to shed light on the Comedian Harmonists’ remarkable yet overlooked legacy. Manilow hopes to introduce audiences to these talented individuals who, despite facing persecution, contributed significantly to the world of entertainment. The musical’s preview performances begin on October 18, with the official opening night at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre set for November 13.

In closing, Barry Manilow’s enduring musical achievements, his profound love story with Garry Kief, and his dedication to preserving history through “Harmony” exemplify a life well-lived. With each note and each performance, Manilow continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of music and storytelling.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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