The Comedian Harmonists captivated audiences in the early 1930s but who was responsible for starting the group? Behind their musical magic stood a visionary conductor, the man who brought the group to life: Harry Frommermann!
From Dream to Reality:
A young Berliner with a passion for music, Harry Frommermann was 21 when the melody struck him. Inspired by the American vocal group The Revelers, he dreamt of creating a German ensemble that would blend musicality with humor. In 1927, he took a bold step, placing an ad in the newspaper: “Seeking singing companions for a unique ensemble.” He was searching for something special – voices that could blend seamlessly, personalities that sparkled with comedic potential, and a shared passion for creating something special.
From Auditions to Harmony:
Frommermann’s apartment became a makeshift audition room. Talented singers, drawn by the promise of something special, flocked to his door. He found his first match in Robert Biberti, a bass with a booming voice and a knack for comedy. Soon, the group grew, welcoming tenor Ari Leschnikoff, baritone Roman Cycowski, tenor Erich Collin, and pianist Erwin Bootz.
Composer and Musical Director:
Frommermann did not solely compose the music for the Comedian Harmonists, but he played a significant role in shaping their sound and repertoire. In addition to composing, he served as the primary arranger for the group. He often collaborated with other members, particularly Erwin Bootz when making the musical arrangements. Frommermann selected the songs to be in their repertoire, ensuring they matched their vocal strengths and comedic sensibilities. Overall, Frommermann’s vision and leadership were crucial in defining the group’s overall musical identity.
The Musical about The Comedian Harmonists
Harmony, a new musical about The Comedian Harmonists, is now on Broadway.
The complete Broadway cast includes Chip Zien as Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, Julie Benko as Ruth, Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey as the Comedian Harmonists, Allison Semmes as Josephine Baker, Andrew O’Shanick as Standartenfϋhrer, Zak Edwards, Dan Hoy, Bruce Landry, Rhonni Rose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kyla Stone, Bronwyn Tarboton, Kate Wesler, Stuart Zagnit, and Lee Zarrett.
To learn more about Harmony: A New Musical, click here.