NEW YORK – It took a little while before Barry Manilow felt comfortable on Broadway.

The Man Who Makes the Whole World Sing is used to far bigger 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,” said Manilow. “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. Though his opening was postponed due to bronchitis, the singer sounded and looked great recently.

The New York City-born icon has had a street corner — at Seventh Ave. and 44th Street — temporarily renamed “Barry Manilow Way” and a caricature unveiled at Sardi’s restaurant.

It’s a long way from where he began in the neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brookyn, where “I was lucky to get home from school without getting beaten up.” He later moved to a Manhattan studio apartment so small that he had to sleep under his Steinway grand piano.

His two-hour “Manilow on Broadway” includes all the hits, such as “Could It Be Magic,” “Mandy,” “Copacabana” and “Can’t Smile Without You.”

Manilow has sold over 80 million albums and this Christmas had a 50th hit — “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” — on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

At 69, Manilow vows to keep going.

“Yeah, I’m old as the hills and you would think I’d be out to pasture someplace because I’ve done everything, but nothing has changed,” he said. I’m still hungry. I’ve still got a million ideas. I’m still strong and ready to create.”

Colbert’s sis making run for Congress 

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Elizabeth Colbert Busch remembers watching the funeral of Robert Kennedy on television, with her younger brother Stephen — now the star of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” — sitting on her lap. She said to herself, “Someday, if they let women run for office, I’m going to.”

Now, she’s making that dream a reality with a run for Congress. And she isn’t worried her brother’s fame will overshadow her campaign.

“I’m not. I’m so proud of what he is and what he has accomplished,” she said. “But when people see what I have done … and they know me as a person and a professional, it will be fine.”

Colbert said he plans to support his sister but that won’t include mentions on his show, unless, of course, she does something funny.

Barker: ‘Possum Drop’ for New Year inhumane

RALEIGH, N.C. – Former game show host Bob Barker is telling North Carolina lawmakers that caging a live possum for a New Year’s Eve event in the mountains isn’t good show business.

Barker, 89, wrote this week to a state Senate panel asking it to oppose a bill that would let the organizer of the Brasstown “Possum Drop” keep suspending a possum in a box every Dec. 31 and lowering it gently to the ground.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained about the event. A judge ruled state regulators don’t have explicit authority to permit the display. A House bill approved this week would change that.

Barker said the event is inhumane and that loopholes for animal abuse shouldn’t be created.

– From news service reports