Bruce Sussman ‘71 will discuss his path from F&M in the late 60s and early 70s to renown in the world of the musical arts. His current project, HARMONY: A New Musical, on which he collaborated with Barry Manilow, tells the true story of a world famous German a cappella group, the Comedian Harmonists, that fell victim to Nazi persecution.
Bruce Sussman is the co-author of well over 200 published and recorded songs written for dozens of artists, films, television programs and stage musicals. The majority of these projects were written with his collaborator of 40 years, Barry Manilow.
For the stage, he is the author of the book and lyrics for HARMONY: A New Musical, which recently enjoyed triumphant runs at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta and The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Acclaimed as ‘a glorious work of art,’ the show is now preparing for a future life as a commercial production with sights set on a certain iconic Manhattan boulevard. He also co-authored the scores for Ted Tally’s COMING ATTRACTIONS (Outer Critics Circle Award, Pulitzer Prize nominee) and Wendy Wasserstein’s MIAMI, both produced Off-Broadway by Andre Bishop at Playwrights Horizons in New York. His songs have been featured in numerous stage revues including THE MADWOMAN OF CENTRAL PARK WEST, TUXEDOS FOR HIRE, and the long-running Off-Broadway and London productions of WHOOP-DEE-DOO! (Drama Desk Award, Obie Award).
With Mr. Manilow, he wrote the song scores for the animated feature films, THE PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN, THUMBELINA and Disney’s OLIVER AND CO. He is particularly proud to have written a song with Mr. Manilow for the network-televised bicentennial celebration of the United States Constitution. The song, LET FREEDOM RING, was later performed at the televised Inaugural Gala for President Clinton.
His songs have been featured in over two dozen feature films and have been recorded by an array of pop, jazz, country and international artists, earning Grammy Awards and multiple Gold and Platinum records from around the world. Recordings of his songs have sold in excess of fifty million copies.
A member of Franklin & Marshall College’s Class of ’71, he founded the still thriving vocal singing group, The Poor Richards, in November 1968. Though there was no music major offered at F&M at the time, and no student officially graduated with a major in music until 1986, Bruce took every music course offered in the catalogue and, thanks to the efforts of Music Department Chair, Hugh Gault, also completed a series of special tutorial courses that were created for him so he could graduate with the equivalency of a music major, allowing him to apply to graduate programs in music. As a result, he was accepted at New York University’s School of Music on full fellowship.