Julie Benko, who has built a devoted following as the Funny Girl understudy and alternate Fanny Brice, will originate her first Broadway role this fall in the new musical Harmony by by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman.
Benko will play the role of Ruth, producers Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief announced today. The production will begin previews at Broadway’s Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of an official opening night on Monday, November 13.
“It is rare to be offered the chance to be part of a Broadway show that resonates so deeply on both personal and political levels,” Benko said in a statement. “I’m so proud to be a part of Harmony and tremendously grateful to Barry, Bruce, Warren, Ken, and the entire team for entrusting me with Ruth’s story. I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room with the brilliant company this Fall.”
Based on the true story, Harmony tells the story the 1920s-’30s German vocal group the Comedian Harmonists, who sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold out the biggest theaters around the world before the rise if Nazism.
Benko joins the previously announced Chip Zien, who stars as “Rabbi,” along with the six Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey. Further casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Harmony features an original new score by Manilow with lyrics and book by Sussman. The musical is directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!). The musical had a sold-out Off Broadway run last spring at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.