“Hello, New York!” Barry Manilow shouted. “It’s good to be home.”
The 600 guests at the 92nd Street Y spring gala on Monday went nuts as they cheered, hollered and wriggled in their seats through a throbbing Las Vegas production of classic Manilow hits.
The singing star said that although he’s originally from Brooklyn, this was the first time he performed at the venerable 92nd Street Y. But he remembers coming here for the Lyrics and Lyricists program.
His Russian immigrant grandfather was the only one in the family who recognized little Barry’s musical talent.
“My grandpa would walk me across the bridge to a store where you’d make those scratchy voice recordings. He’d put a quarter in the machine and plead with me to sing Happy Birthday. I was too intimidated to open my mouth.”
When Manilow sang in Carnegie Hall, there was Grandpa jumping up from his seat and clapping hands. Everyone got up and joined in a standing ovation. The audience settled down, but Grandpa kept standing.
“I made it, Grandpa!” Manilow shouted.
Y president Thomas Kaplan was so exuberant with the success of the benefit that he announced, “Tonight we raised $2.7 billion!” You know he meant “m,” not “b.”
The gala co-chairs were NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker and wife Caryn, Jill and Darius Bikoff, and Lizzie and Jon Tisch of Loews Corp.
Lizzie revealed, “We went to see Barry Manilow on the first night of our honeymoon.”
Jon explained, “We are fanilows.” (Read: fans of Manilow.)
Tim Boxer is editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com.
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