Previewed 17 June 1994, Opened 23 June 1994, Closed 9 September 1995 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London
Barry Manilow's new musical Copacabana in London starring Darren Day
Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl... Follow Lola's quest for stardom and her passionate love affair with Tony, a bartender with dreams of his own.
His name was Rico, He wore a diamond, He was escorted to his chair, He saw Lola dancing there... Meet Rico, the suave yet villainous owner of the Havana's Tropicana nightclub who promises to make Lola a star - for a price. Will Tony's love conquer all or is Lola doomed to lose both her man and her mind? All will be revealed at the Copacabana!
Feel the passion - hear the hits! Experience the passion of the Copacabana as Barry Manilow's hit song comes to life in this lush musical extravaganza. Fifteen brand new songs plus the classic title tune power this all singing, all dnacing show from the art deco world of 1940's New York to the tropical intrigue that was Havana nighlife.
The cast features Darren Day (from Monday 3 April 1995) and Nicola Dawn. Original cast featured Gary Wilmot from Friday 17 June 1994 to Saturday 1 April 1995. Music by Barry Manilow, lyrics by Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman and book by Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman. Directed by Roger Redfarn with choreography by Dorian Sanchez, design concept by Gary Withers, projections by Chris Slingsby, set by Martin Grant, costumes by Hugh Durrant, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by John Del' Nero.
"Christmas has come a little early this year. For Barry Manilow's Copacabana at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End is like an unusually lavish provincial pantomime complete with alien corn, a hissable villain and a big transformation scene.... Manilow aficionados will instantly detect that all he and his fellow-writers have done is to extend the story of his biggest hit over an evening. And just as one swallow doesn't make a summer, so one song doesn't make a musical. Yet, although the show is mile-high, gold-plated kitsch. I'd be lying if I did not confess parts of it appealed to the eternal adolescent in me... Although the costumes are way over the top, they are in keeping with everything else in this kaleidoscopic extravaganza. It is all tosh but, despite the grindingly awful jokes, the banal lyrics and the pumped-up songs which always remind you of something else, it is guiltily enjoyable tosh. Roger Redfarn also directs it with dutiful panache... It is not a show for serious students of the musical or for Sondheim buffs. But Manilow fans, who seemed to be there in matronly abundance, Japanese tourists and those reared on the delights of provincial panto will find it all perfectly acceptable. And, much as my critical self may deplore it, my uncritical alter ego had a good night out." The Guardian
"This is the first musical theatre venture by Barry Manilow. I'm afraid it could well be his last, for it proves to be a nerve-shattering, stunningly bad experience... Mr Manilow threw a fit of showbusiness pique on Wednesday at the photocall for the premiere of this £2 million show at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre and flounced away from the waiting photographers. Perhaps the poor man had simply seen his own show too many times; for under Roger Redfarn's inept direction, Copacabana is mediocre and oafish. In short, a prize turkey - albeit an expensively dressed one trussed up in tinsel. No one would expect a production built around Manilow's catchy Copacabana hit about a showgirl called Lola to be anything other than thoroughly and enjoyably camp. Alas, it doesn't even qualify on that score. Instead, the evening is woefully and embarrassingly kitsch. The show simply doesn't have the style to carry off all the in-jokes, most of which fall horribly flat. The performances are on the broad side, to say the least; would that they were also funny. Manilow has written 17 blandly efficient numbers, not one of them capable of lingering in the memory, to accompany the showstopper Copacabana... There is one telling moment when Nicola Dawn quavers: 'This is not happening, I'm dreaming, I'm having a nightmare'. My sentiments precisely; but how unfortunate when a show provides its own epitaph." The Daily Express
"Barry Manilow's rainbow-coloured extravaganza, Copacabana, proves more of a feast for the eyes than the ears - and the brain, for that matter... When the only lyric you can come up with to rhyme with heart is fart the words 'scraping' and 'barrel' spring to mind. As for the plot, forget it. The energetic cast, led by grinning Gary Wilmot and nice enough newcomer Nicola Dawn, lost it half way through the second half of the show at London's Prince Of Wales Theatre. That was about the time boy-meets-girl in New York turned into girl-meets-pirates in Havana. From Copacabana to Cubacabana - it's all part of Cornycabana where any excuse will do for getting a chorus line out of skyscraper headdresses and into bikini bottoms. The whole adventure turns out to be a figment of the imagination of all-singing, all-dancing all-smiling Gary. The struggling Broadway songwriter wakes up back in Copacabana, just in time for a feather-filled finale." The Daily Mirror
Barry Manilow's Copacabana in London at the Prince of Wales Theatre previewed from 17 June 1994, opened on 23 June 1994 and closed on 9 September 1995