It took a little while before Barry Manilow felt comfortable on Broadway. The Man Who Makes the Whole World Sing is used to far larger venues than the 1,710-seat St. James Theatre.

"It's a totally different feeling from the stage. I'm in their laps; they're in my lap. It's very, very intimate," says Manilow, 69. "This is like going to somebody's house."

Manilow -- and his fans dubbed Fanilows -- are clearly enjoying his first return to Broadway in nearly 25 years.

His two-hour show includes all the hits, including "Could It Be Magic," "Mandy," "Copacabana" and "Can't Smile Without You."

After Broadway, Manilow, who has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide, says he'll get a new musical off the ground: "Harmony," which follows a group of singers through Weimar-era and then Nazi Germany. He's written original songs for it, and Bruce Sussman has contributed the story and lyrics. "It's the best work I've ever done ever in my life," Manilow said.

SINGER'S SUICIDE: Performer Mindy McCready, 37, who hit the top of the country charts before personal problems sidetracked her career, died Sunday. She was found dead in Heber Springs, Ark., of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot. In 1996, her song "Guys Do It All the Time" hit No. 1 and its dig at male chauvinism endeared her to women. Her other hits included "Ten Thousand Angels," also in 1996, and her album by that title sold 2 million copies. But personal problems plagued her, including a custody battle with her mother over one of her sons, suicide attempts and several bouts of substance abuse.