He's ready to take a chance again. Barry Manilow will to return to the west lawn of our nation's capitol on July 4 to headline PBS's annual A Capitol Fourth live concert event.
Manilow performed at the concert four years ago and tells me his best memory occurred as he was belting out his inspirational classic, "Let Freedom Ring." "On the last key change, as the song built to the most powerful moment, the most brilliant fireworks shot into the sky and continued until the last note of the song," recalls Manilow, who will conclude this year's performance with the same number. "The fireworks were timed precisely and exactly to the beat of the modulation. It was one of the most thrilling moments I can remember."
This year's concert and fireworks spectacular, airing live at 8/7c, will be hosted by Dancing With the Star's Tom Bergeron. Other performers have yet to be announced.
I happened to spend last Independence Day with Manilow at the Hollywood Bowl. When I asked the Brooklyn-born legend what he thinks make him so darned American, he said he makes an effort to include in his songs feelings of gratitude, pride, joy and inspiration — all attributes he associates with America. "Maybe that's the connection," says the man behind "Can't Smile Without You" and "I Write the Songs." "I believe in the goodness of the American people. And I believe that American people will always come through and do the right thing."
When he's not writing songs or touring the world, Manilow, who turns 70 on June 17, makes time for his favorite TV shows, which include Modern Family, The Big C ("so inspiring"), Breaking Bad, Homeland ("edge of your seat" entertainment) and The Newsroom, which he calls "the best show on television."