Showstoppers, the second number of Barry Manilow’s 23rd album, a tribute to the Great White Way, is so spectacularly tasteless it gives you great hopes for the rest: Called the ”Overture of Overtures” (”based on a concept by Barry Manilow”), it offers selected notes, sometimes whole measures, from 16 — count ’em, 16 — of your favorite Broadway overtures, including Gypsy, Candide, Funny Girl, Sweeney Todd, Evita, South Pacific, and A Chorus Line, all mashed together in one convenient 4-minute-and-11-second package. Inevitably, though, Manilow starts to sing, which means that songs as distinctive as ”Dancing in the Dark,” ”Where or When,” and ”If We Only Have Love” all sound like the same generic pop tune, thanks to the lounge-lizard arrangements and uncannily coma-like delivery that have made him the No. 1 Adult Contemporary artist in the entire history of the world. You can’t say Manilow lacks guts, though: On ”Look to the Rainbow,” he actually sings a duet with Broadway great Barbara Cook. There hasn’t been an aesthetic warp like this since John Denver put on a tux and tried to swing with Frank Sinatra. C-

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