Harmony: A Symphony of Heart, History, and Hope
Jan 23, 2024
The below is written by Michael Duling D’Angora, a producer on Harmony. We asked Michael to share why he wanted to help bring Harmony to Broadway. Below is what he shared with us.
To be part of Harmony is to be part of something bigger than oneself. After all, you can’t sing harmony on your own.
I can get into why and how I came to be part of this show – my husband and business partner (Tom D’Angora) is a lifelong, die-hard, Fanilow for example. I grew up singing in choirs with a director that taught us the brilliance of Manilow’s compositions, and always referred to any key change as a “Barry Manilow.” I can gush about Barry and Bruce and talk about getting into producing and why we want to be a part of this particular show – but at this point, the musical itself is much more important and interesting than my journey to it.
As I reflect on the powerful and cathartic nature of Harmony, I’m struck by its resemblance to the classic golden age musicals that first ignited my love for theater. Every time I’ve seen it I’ve felt like a teenage tourist again, discovering my love for the magic of Broadway. Upon hearing the score for the first time, I was reminded of the huge choral sounds and dynamic orchestrations that captured my imagination as a kid and are often hard to find in today’s Broadway landscape. I just know my dad would have loved this score and would have worn out the “soundtrack” listening to it in the car.
Yet, while celebrating it’s “defiantly classic” style (as the New York Times put it), it’s undeniably fresh and new, offering a unique and compelling narrative that captures the hearts of its audience.
Harmony is an original musical with a story yet untold and melodies that are destined to become timeless classics.
When I first witnessed Harmony, I saw it as a moving biography and a poignant warning call reflecting our current political state. And, as a producer I thought, people are going to fall in love with this charming cast as though they’re a real boy band you can fan over! People are going to go nuts for this stunning score that evokes their favorite Broadway standards! People are going to love seeing a stunning, lush, rich design that feels elegant and like a classy “night at the theater”.
However, now, my understanding has profoundly deepened. This show reminds us that while we cannot change history or rewrite our pasts, we have the power to live in the now, stand up for what’s right, and support those who face injustice for simply being who they are.
Theater has this unique ability to unveil the humanity behind historical events, something often unattainable in textbooks.
Harmony brings to life the stories of real people, those who were not unlike us, living in a world not so different from our own. Through these narratives, it teaches us to be better people and to strive to create justice and harmony in a world where our leaders seem to want to divide us for their own personal power.
The emotional core of “Harmony” lies in its main character, who wrestles with an extreme and justified case of “survivor’s guilt.” Yet, ultimately, he realizes that his greatest joy and responsibility is to remember and share these stories, no matter how challenging they are to recount.
It’s about cherishing the magic that arises when people come together in unity and creativity.
Interestingly, as a child of 80s pop music and MTV, Harmony also playfully nods to our current pop culture, through a scene where the ‘very cute boy band’ performs comically in their underwear. This whimsical moment is not just for laughs; it subtly hints at how this historical group’s rebellious nature unwittingly paved the way for so many of today’s pop stars, it sure worked for Madonna!
In conclusion, Harmony is more than a musical or a journey through a dark time in history, Harmony is a reflection on our present, a prayer of hope for the future, and a call to action to search for and celebrate “the light” in times of darkness.
It’s an honor to be part of a project that not only entertains but enlightens, urging us to embrace our humanity and work together towards a world filled with more understanding, more compassion, and, ultimately, more harmony.
Michael D’Angora is an Emmy and Tony nominated theater producer and director, and is currently on the producing team of three new Broadway musicals this season, “Harmony”, “How to Dance in Ohio” and “Suffs”.
Off-Broadway, Michael most recently produced Walking With Bubbles (winner of the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Solo Show) and co-directed A Musical About Star Wars.
In 2021, along with his husband Tom, Michael volunteered his time to help several local theaters and businesses in danger of closing due to the pandemic stay afloat. In just six months Michael produced, directed, edited, and streamed 6 “virtual fundraisers”, raising over 1.5 million dollars and made sure The West Bank Café, Birdland Jazz Club, The York Theater, Stonewall, The Labyrinth Theater, and The Theater World Awards survived the pandemic. The events featured over 500 notable stars including both President Clintons, Whoopi Goldberg, Clive Davis, Patti LuPone, Sean Penn, Nathan Lane, Debra Messing, Audra McDonald, Amy Poehler, Fran Drescher, and many more.
In December of 2021, Tom and Michael were given a Human Rights award for their activism and Senator Brad Hoylman proclaimed 12/12/21 Tom and Michael D’Angora Appreciation Day in NYC’s legendary theater district.