Thursday, May 30, 2024

Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester Celebrate 50 Years of Friendship with Clive Davis at Music Mogul’s Blowout Private Dinner


EXCLUSIVE Tonight — Monday — music mogul Clive Davis will be honored at Carnegie Hall in support of the New York Pops. Davis is bringing a stunning A list group of performers who will rock the venerable venue like crazy.

So last night — Sunday — Davis welcomed about a hundred and fifty close pals to Brooklyn’s stunning River Cafe just to get everyone in the mood. I first visited the River Cafe 40 years ago, and nothing has changed. The food and the view are both five star. Congrats to owner Buzzy O’Keefe!

The room was bursting with A Listers. For instance: In 1974, Davis took over Bell Records and turned it into Arista Records. His first stars were Barry Manilow and Melissa Manchester. She had “Midnight Blue” and he had “Mandy.” They were happily reunited at the dinner — and will each perform tonight at Carnegie Hall.

Barry and Melissa were just the tip of the iceberg at the River Cafe, where a center table featured Nancy and Paul Pelosi, and Hakeem Jeffries with wife Kennisandra. Talk about power dining. But I can tell you the Pelosi’s were pretty excited to meet Barry.

Davis came down with a case of laryngitis. But that didn’t stop him from introducing the room to a variety of his special guests including legendary singer Art Garfunkel, famed hit Motown songwriter Valerie Simpson, tennis great John McEnroe and rock star wife Patty Smyth — who sat at the same table with another tennis superstar, Martina Navratilova.

And there were more, more, more starss including another famed songwriter, Diane Warren, Republic Records chief Monte Lippman (celebrating Taylor Swift’s enormous debut week), five star chef Daniel Bouloud, plus “The Wiz” star Deborah Cox, Tony winner Adrienne Warren, Shoshanna Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon (of the Alicia Keys musical, “Hell’s Kitchen”) — you get the drift.

There was even what I would call a “society” table with Peggy Siegal, Denise Rich, Nikki Haskell, Blaine Trump, and Candy Spelling. New York 1 Theater correspondent Frank DiLella kept them all entertained, while WOR Radio’s Michael Riedel did the same for us including Broadway producers Fran and Barry Weissler, and Francine LeFrak and husband Rick Friedberg. I also ran into MSNBC’s Ari Melber — who made a video for my mom, his biggest fan — and the great Tamron Hall! Did I mention Don Lemon, like the Pelosi’s, lined up to meet Barry Manilow?

Good news, by the way, from Paul Pelosi. He was doffed the hat he was wearing after his hammer attack. “Paul,” I exclaimed, “your is back!” He replied: “It’s those Italian genes!” What a relief.

There’s a long list of performers tonight at Carnegie Hall besides many of these people including Dionne Warwick and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Art Garfunkel has agreed to sing Clive’s favorite song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Regulars quipped to newbies that they’ve been warned — a Clive Davis show is an experience they wlll never forget! So stay tuned. The show starts at 7pm. When will it end? Bring snacks!

That great photo of Barry and Melissa was taken by yours truly — c2024

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News