“In today’s world, ‘Harmony’ is an emotionally powerful musical of the greatest import.”
— Chicago Tribune

Cantor Roman Cycowski: From The Comedian Harmonists to San Francisco Synagogue

Jan 8, 2024

Andrew, a friend of Harmony’s, shared this photo of his father, Norman, at his Bar Mitzvah in 1969:


“You may recognize the cantor, Roman Cycowski, who had a great impact on my dad growing up in San Francisco. My dad said Cantor Cycowski never mentioned The Comedian Harmonists or anything prior to the war so he has been super interested in learning more about him and their history!”


L-R: Norman at his Bar Mitzvah with his cantor, Josef Roman Cycowski.


In a full circle moment, when Andrew and Norman came to see Harmony: A New Musical last week, we introduced them to Danny Kornfeld and Chip Zien, who portray Roman in our show as “Rabbi”.


L-R: Danny Kornfeld, Norman, and Chip Zien at Harmony.


After leaving Berlin, Roman and his wife, Mary, eventually found their way to California. 


In 1947 he became cantor of Temple Beth Israel in San Francisco. In 1971, he resigned his position as cantor and moved to Palm Springs with Mary. 


There he soon took over a position as cantor again for the love of his profession. On November 9, 1998, Roman, the last living member of The Comedian Harmonists, passed away peacefully in Palm Springs at the age of 97. 


Watch Danny Kornfeld perform “Every Single Day” from Harmony: