By Judy Thorburn
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Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Director of Communications - Nevada Film Alliance


Barry Manilow Premieres New Show At Paris Las Vegas

After a five year stint at the Hilton, legendary singer/songwriter Barry Manilow has moved to Paris. The hotel/casino, that is, not the city. His new show, directed by film and stage veteran Jeffrey Hornaday, is staged in the Theatre des Arts at the French themed casino/resort and it seems fitting that Barry has incorporated a distinct French flavor into it by featuring several video screens which descend from the ceiling depicting framed works of art by such masters as Renoir, Van Gogh and Matisse. The beautiful paintings make a splendid backdrop and work to complement the music icon's love songs.

Photo credit: Denise Truscello

Though not a painter with a brush, Barry is a master at his craft in which he paints emotional and beautiful images with his voice. After 35 years in the business, his vocal artistry hasn't diminished one bit in both resonance and appeal. Unlike a few singing legends who have lost their voice but refuse to retire, Barry sounds as good as ever. His contract at Paris is for two years and I don't see any reason why he won't be filling the house nightly. Simply put, he delivers the goods as one our best living singers and as an excellent showman.

In the Paris showroom, his re-imagined show can best be described as more intimate, up close and personal with a song roster of “new songs, blue songs, happy songs, for every occasion” and “intimate songs that mean something to me”, he says. After opening the show with “Could It Be Magic” he embraces the audience with several of hits from the 70's including “Somewhere in the Night”, “Can't Smile Without You” and, as he puts it, “one of the most romantic songs in my catalog”, “When Will I Hold You Again”.

Photo credit: Denise Truscello

The show is also part autobiographical and gives everyone a connective glimpse into the man and his music with the performer sharing a few personal anecdotes about his life before and after entering show business. A collage of vintage photos of the New York skyline are projected on back panels as Barry reminisces about growing up in Brooklyn. As a tribute to the the vibrant city, he performs the lively, NY City Rhythm, before shifting into gear for the more serious toned “I Am Your Child”.

That is followed by memories of his beloved Russian grandfather who recognized his 5 year old grandson's budding talent and took him to a recording booth in Times Square where he attempted to sing “Nature Boy”. Now, decades later, the very scratchy, almost undecipherable record is shared with the audience, but has Barry jumping in and completing it before he honors his grandfather with an emotional rendition of “This One's For You”.

During the 90 minute show, Barry recollects to the beginning of his career, focusing on his early TV appearances. One video showcases his first appearance on American Bandstand with Dick Clark and another shows a young Manilow when he first appeared on Midnight Special in 1975 where he was introduced by music mogul, Clive Davis.

Photo credit: Denise Truscello

Returning to the present, he reflects about his recent trip to the city of Paris with all its culture and romance before breaking into a few songs from his new CD, The Greatest Love Songs of All Time (which is co-produced by the aforementioned Clive Davis) such as “Our Love Is Here To Stay” and “Where Do I Begin?” (The Theme From Love Story). “All these great songwriters inspired me to write songs like this,” he says as an intro to “Even Now”.

Other songs from his extensive catalog includes “Somewhere In the Night”, “Weekend in New England:,and fan favorites, “I Write The Songs” and “Mandy” that had the audience up on their feet singing along.

Throughout the evening, Barry is accompanied by an awesome ten piece back up band as well as three females and one male back up vocalists who double as dancers and bring some added energy and spark to his show. To top it all off, after leaving the stage to a thunderous applause at the supposed finale, Barry returns dressed in tux and tails ala Fred Astaire, for the closing, show stopper number, Copacabana.

Photo credit: Denise Truscello

This isn't the first time I've seen Barry Manilow perform in person. I caught his show “Music and Passion” at the Hilton and loved it. I didn't see a reason for change, but after seeing him at Paris, I must say, I like the more personal aspect to this new show. From the reactions of the audience at the performance I attended, everyone surely agreed. Not only can Barry Manilow belt out a song with great pipes, he connects with his fans on an emotional level and there is nothing better than that for both performer and his audience.

Manilow will perform 78 shows each year for two years (2010 and 2011) at Paris Las Vegas. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for performances through July 18, 2010 are currently on-sale and range from $95 to $299.