Julie Benko, who gained a devoted fan base as Fanny Brice’s backup in Funny Girl, will play the lead role in the upcoming Broadway production of Harmony, written by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, this fall.
Julie Benko To Star in Harmony
Producers Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran, and Garry Kief today revealed that Benko will portray Ruth. Prior to its official opening night on November 13th, the show will begin previews on Wednesday, October 18 at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre.
Benko stated in a statement that it is unusual to be given the opportunity to be a part of a Broadway production that has such strong emotional and political resonance. I’m so appreciative to Barry, Bruce, Warren, Ken, and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to tell Ruth’s story, and I’m so happy to be a part of Harmony. This autumn, I can’t wait to start practicing with the amazing company.
Based on a true story, Harmony chronicles the tale of the German singing group the Comedian Harmonists from the 1920s to the 1930s, who filmed dozens of films, sold out the biggest theatres worldwide, and sold millions of albums before the emergence of the Nazi Party.
Benko joins the six Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey in the role of “Rabbi,” which was earlier announced to be played by Chip Zien. In the upcoming weeks, more casting announcements will be made.
Manilow composed the music for Harmony, and Sussman wrote the lyrics and book. Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!) is in charge of the musical’s direction and choreography. The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene hosted the musical during a sold-out Off Broadway run last spring.