Barry Manilow to be honored in star-studded concert in NYC: ‘Gonna be sitting there with my Kleenex’

Music and passion are (still) always in fashion when Barry Manilow is around.

On Monday, the Brooklyn-born superstar will be honored at Carnegie Hall in New York City in an evening peppered with stage and screen stars including Charo, Michael Urie, and Manilow’s longtime collaborator Dionne Warwick.

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“This One’s For You: The Music of Barry Manilow” is a gala concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the New York Pops, the nation’s largest independent pops orchestra and the city’s only professional orchestra that specializes in pop music.

The 79-year-old songsmith, who’s also gearing up for a series of concerts at Radio City Music Hall, collaborated with Pops’ music director Steven Reineke to put together a list of performers who would best represent his music and helped pair each singer with the perfect song from his catalog.

Grammy-winning singer Melissa Manchester, for example, will sing “I Am Your Child,” which Manilow wrote for his self-titled debut album, originally released in 1973. Warwick, whose 1979 album “Dionne” was produced and co-written by Manilow, will perform “All the Time.”

One of Manilow’s most beloved songs, the Grammy-winning disco phenomenon “Copacabana,” will be celebrated on the Carnegie Hall stage by “Cuchi Cuchi” legend Charo.

“Who would sing “Copa” the best?” Manilow recalls thinking, “I asked Steven, ‘Do you think she would be interested in doing it?’ He called her and she said ‘Absolutely!’”

Incredibly, Monday’s star-studded gala will be the first night dedicated to the music of the Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winning musician, who has sold over 85 million albums worldwide and has packed concert halls for half a century.

“I’ve received some awards [before] but no one has ever done this,” Manilow told the Daily News. “A whole evening of my music done by some of the great Broadway singers, played by 78 musicians in the New York Pops — I mean, I’m going to be sitting there with my Kleenex!”

Reineke, who has been with the orchestra since 2008, said Manilow was chosen as the night’s honoree because he “wanted to go big and I wanted to have something very special” to celebrate the Pops’ 40th anniversary, though he diplomatically added previous galas have also been special.


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Monday’s concert will be “a very high-energy Barry Manilow, with all his great songs, but also supplemented by this incredible New York Pops Orchestra.” There will be 83 performers on stage, including about a dozen student musicians from local schools who will take the stage to represent the Pops’ education program.

The night will feature performances by an impressive list of Broadway superstars — including Jim Caruso, Megan Hilty and Lillias White — as well as R&B diva Deborah Cox, pianist and Liza Minneli’s longtime collaborator Billy Stritch, among others.

The evening also includes appearances by the cast of the award-winning Off-Broadway production of “Harmony.” Written by Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, the show enjoyed a sold-out run at New York’s National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene last spring and is Broadway-bound this fall, 25 years after opening at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, Calif.

Manilow, who lives in Palm Springs with his husband of nine years (and partner of 45 years) Garry Kief, will return to his hometown of New York City late next month for a five-concert run at Radio City Music Hall from May 31 to June 4.

During that time he’ll award $5,000 cash prizes to five local music teachers, one from each borough, along with $10,000 in “Manilow Bucks” — credit that can be used toward the purchase of instruments for their classrooms.

Teachers were chosen via online vote as part of “The Manilow Music Project,” an initiative created by Manilow over 30 years ago that supports music education in schools by offering merit-based scholarships and getting instruments into classrooms across the U.S.

“They are running out of instruments in schools all over the country. And even though they still have music classes, the instruments that they do have are in such terrible shape. I don’t know how these kids do it, but they love [playing]. They play these broken-down instruments and they make them sound good,” said Manilow, who’s delighted to help teachers and schools in New York City because they “deserve this small token of my gratitude.”


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