Copa load of this! Barry Manilow fan's passion for music legend fuels new production

By Michael Upton | 19/09/2018

Copa load of this! Barry Manilow fan's passion for music legend fuels new production

A MUSICIAN is passing on his love of Barry Manilow to a new generation of performers as he helps put on a youth show of the legendary entertainer’s musical this week.

Self-confessed “fanilow” Steve Trotter jumped at the opportunity to musically direct the glamorous show Copacabana, which the singer wrote in the 1980s and which will be put on in Sheffield from tonight until Saturday.

Steve (37, pictured) from Treeton said he had grown up listening to Barry’s music from a young age.

“As a child I would often try to work out his arrangements at the piano, creating my own versions to perform to my long-suffering family,” he explained. 

“I suppose, growing up with ambitions of becoming a professional musician, he was an inspiration and an example of someone who worked hard from the bottom, paid his dues and reached the pinnacle of his profession.”

A pianist and a vocalist, Steve taught music in schools for 12 years and jumped at the opportunity to musically direct the glamorous show Copacabana which the singer wrote in the 1980s and will be put on in Sheffield next week.

Now, he is getting the chance to inspire the young people of 2018 with Manilow's catchy music.

Steve is Musical Director for Splinters Theatre Group's production as Copacabana which comes to Sheffield's Montgomery Theatre next week.

The group is for 14 to 30 year olds but this year’s show boasts the youngest ever cast for the company, with the majority of performers under 21. 

It means none of them were born at the height of Barry Manilow’s fame.

“I remember standing up at our first rehearsal and telling the cast of my ‘history’ with Barry and them looking up at me with faces ranging from bemused to bewildered,” Steve says.

“I explained that my mission was to help them not to just create a fantastic show but to secure Barry’s legacy in making them all honorary Fanilows!

“They have embraced Barry's music and dedicated so much time and effort into learning some quite intricate harmonies.”

Copacabana tells the story of Manilow's most well-known hit that starts with the famous lines “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…”

As Stephen struggles to write a new song, his imagination takes him back to 1947 to see a version of himself working at the Copacabana Night Club in New York City where he falls for a new singer who arrives from out of town called Lola. 

The show follows their struggles as they both rise to fame and form Stephen's new musical creation.

Directed by Daniel Storey, the show features plenty of toe-tapping numbers, and features a mix of American swing and Cuban, Latin rhythms.

And as preparation for opening night, Steve even went to see the man himself, Barry Manilow, when he visited the UK on his recent tour.

“It was a great show and he's still a fantastic showman,” he said.

Copacabana runs at the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield from September 19 to 22.

Tickets are on sale now and available online at www.themontgomery.org.uk or by calling 0114 3273456.