Former Erie Playhouse performer stars in Manilow’s off-Broadway show

Barry Manilow’s “Harmony: A New Music,” an off-Broadway show in New York City to rave reviews, has a distinct Erie flavor. That’s because Blake Roman Bojewski, a Fairview High School graduate known professionally as Blake Roman, is gaining critical attention for his performance on the show. He was also a frequent performer at the Erie Playhouse.

Roman, whose proud father is Roman Bojewski of Erie, plays one of six singers who were separated by the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Roman’s virtuosity at the piano in the piece earned him his nickname ” Chopin”.

Manilow and his longtime collaborator, Bruce Sussman, have worked on the show off and on for 25 years, and it’s been the surprise hit of the New York theater season. Presented by the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, “Harmony” will continue at the Edmond J. Safra Hall of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan until May 8.

Reviews from The New York Times and The New York Post have raved about the show — and Roman’s performance in particular — so much that it may soon be heading to Broadway. Post critic Johnny Oleksinski wrote, “The six singers play together sublimely, but it’s Roman, who’s fresh out of school, that’s the most amazing find. His soothing and moving solo in Act 2 could have lasted forever.

Roman, 24, graduated in 2019 with honors from the University of Michigan’s musical theater program, local theater fans will remember his appearances on Erie shows such as “The Sound of Music.” , “Grease” and “The Addams Family”.

● Many old clips of Fred Biletnikoff carrying touchdown passes for the Oakland Raiders have appeared on cable TV since the death of former quarterback Daryle Lamonica on April 21 at the age of 80.

Local fans will recall Lamonica’s appearance at one of Art Arkelian’s Erie sports banquets in the late 1960s. Lamonica said he had to come to Erie to check out Freddie B’s hometown. I remember he said when the media started calling him “The Mad Bomber” he didn’t like that name. But, thanks to Biletnikoff and other Oakland receivers, he came to enjoy the reputation and the nickname.

● Nick Scott is hosting a fundraiser May 15 at his home in Erie for the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. Renowned saxophonist Steve Banks will perform during the evening.

Scott, whose ivory skills are well known, is a longtime supporter of Erie Phil, along with his wife, Kim, of the Phil.

● The rock group Eagles received excellent reviews for their recent concerts in Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Now, “Hotel California,” an Eagles tribute band, is heading to the Warner Theater for a show on May 6. At least the tickets will be cheaper.

Since its reopening, the Warner stage has been busy. Weird Al Yankovic, a personal favourite, will perform there on May 15.

After:Iconic rock band Foreigner will perform ‘The Greatest Hits Tour’ at the Warner Theater in July

If you want to get a closer look at the upgrades to the refurbished Warner, a community open house is scheduled there on May 27 from 2-5 and 6-9 p.m.

● Congratulations to Erie Insurance President Tom Hagen, who was recently honored in Boston at the 2022 American Ancestors Family History Benefit Gala. Hagen received the group’s prestigious Preservation and History Award for his work saving valuable landmarks in Erie.

Tom Hagen, chairman of the board of directors of Erie Insurance, is introduced December 23, 2019 at the Erie law firm of Roger Richards.  Behind him is a copy of a historical map of Erie from the early 1800s.

● Notre Dame’s new football coach, Marcus Freeman, hasn’t won a game yet, but he continues to make friends. After the team’s recent spring game, Freeman, his wife and six children showed up at a local South Bend restaurant, where they sat amid football fans.

When my son, Sean Cuneo, and his cousin, Brian Zona, asked Freeman if he would pose for a photo, he graciously agreed and threw both arms around the guys.

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring football game on Saturday April 23, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

By comparison, many years ago, when we spotted then-Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis in a restaurant and cheered him on as we passed, he grimaced and waved at us. roughly discarded.

● A sign of how busy pastors have become in Catholic dioceses across North America is a note on Rev. Michael Ferrick that appeared in Faith Magazine. Bishop Lawrence Persico announced that Ferrick, the current Rector of St. Peter’s Cathedral and Vicar Foran to the Dean of West Erie, has also been appointed Parish Administrator of St. Lawrence Parish in Albion and St. Philip’s Church in Crossingville until a new pastor is appointed or other arrangements are made.

Construction in progress is shown, Dec. 8, 2021, on the east side of St. Peter's Cathedral, 230 W. 10th St. in Erie.

Ferrick is also overseeing major renovations to St. Peter’s Cathedral, which looks quite impressive. I like the blue accent paint on some parts of the ceiling.

● Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro will headline the Erie Democrats’ Spring Dinner May 11 at Maennerchor Plaza, the new name of the former Erie Maennerchor Club, 1607 State St., now owned by restorer Julio Reyes.

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● I wonder how many hours of my life I will ever be able to salvage after watching so many hours of the NFL Draft. Although I’ve sworn every spring that I won’t waste time watching the draft, I’m drawn to it like peanut butter to jelly. It’s a horrible fixation.

Kevin Cuneo can be contacted at [email protected]

Kevin Cuneo, columnist.

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