Barry Manilow remembers watching Frank Sinatra on stage many years ago, itching to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes sing his expansive catalog of hits. Instead, he heard a mix of the hits peppered with concert filler — the kind of songs that bring an audience to its feet, but for all the wrong reasons. They become an excuse to visit the concession stand. So when Manilow crafted his current show, “Manilow in Concert . . . Direct From Broadway,” which ran on Broadway this winter, he was determined to sidestep that mistake and give the audience what it paid for.
“I’m one of the lucky guys with a big catalog of familiar songs,” Manilow says on the phone from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. “So I’m doing as many of the familiar songs as I can squeeze in.”