What do Barry Manilow and Mike Tyson have in common?

Both are playing Broadway this season.

Tyson did a few rounds with us this summer, and now, the guy “who wrote the songs” recently announced that he is coming back to Broadway for 17 sweet shows only.

So why does this duo intrigue me?

Well, #1, I’m a Fanilow.  “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Weekend in New England,” “Somewhere Down The Road?”  Come on, this guy can write a tune!  Heck, I even enjoyed the score to his musical Copacabana!

But there’s a #2.

Barry Manilow is doing seventeen shows.  Tyson was here for just six shows.  Frankie Valli just sang seven shows in the middle of October.   Comedian Lewis Black was here recently for a week.

(FYI, that is probably the first time in the history of the typed word that those four gentlemen appeared in the same paragraph together.  And now all that I can do is imagine all four of them starring in the next Judd Apatow buddy flick together.)

But that’s not all.  Donny and Marie were here just a bit ago.  And Kathy Griffith.  And . . .

Get my point?

While Broadway has always had a special event performer every once in awhile, the trend is definitely increasing.  And, as I blogged back in 2010, it’s starting to feel a little bit more like Vegas, isn’t it?

This kind of “Alternative Programming” is good overall.  It fills a couple of weeks at a dark theater, and provides jobs to many that might normally be out of work.

Just as long as it doesn’t get in the way of our Traditional Programming.  The day a new play can’t come into town because Air Supply is doing a gig at The Broadway is the day I pack it in.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.