After I wrote my comments the other day about the Oscarcast, I got a reply about it on Facebook from Karen Harris who wrote (oh-so kindly), "I love you more today than yesterday, Robert Elisberg."
I laughed and started to write back that I appreciated her picking up on That Quote and repeating it. But then I realized, wait, I don't think I wrote That Quote. It had been said, yes, but I kept it private. I went back and searched the article in question that would have had it, and -- no, That Quote wasn't there. She wasn't quoting anything. It's just that I had gotten the same bizarre thing said to me, almost word for word, within days of each other.
That "article in question" was my interview here with Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman about their musical Harmony. The story at the heart of this isn't all that special -- I'd have referenced it at the time, if I thought it was -- but because that the same quote popped up, and because I told Karen I'd tell it here, I'm sort of compelled to tell it.
The story surrounding things came at the beginning of our chat, before the interview really began. It was the bantering back-and-forth part, getting to know one another, easing into the questions.
As I mention in the the article, the interview all came about as the result of a long, detailed appreciation I wrote a year ago about Harmony -- a piece I did before I had any idea that they were reviving the show. What’s funny is that it turned out Barry Manilow didn’t realize that history when we spoke.
Manilow had read that first, glowing article about Harmony -- the PR person for the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta gave him a copy at the time. (I was pretty sure he had seen it, but just to confirm, since it was a year ago, and I wanted to be on solid footing, I asked, "Oh, so you know about the article?" He replied lightheartedly, but bluntly -- "I know everything about this show.") But what he thought is that I had written it after I knew Harmony was being done again, thinking that that's what had prompted me. I corrected him, explaining that, no, I had been completely unaware about the Alliance production, and in a stunned voice he almost cut me off, “Wait, you didn’t know we were doing the show???!!” I answered, “No, I wrote it before I had any idea you were reviving it. I just thought the show was wonderful and wanted to write about it.” And that's when he said --
“Robert, I love you even more than I did before!”
(Quick digression: after the fact I realized that that could be a line from one of his songs...)
Anyway, that's why, just days later, I started laughing when I was sent the almost-exact same quote from the endearing Ms. Harris.
Ah, kismet. Love, it's really is a many splendored thing...
And now you know.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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