New Orleans crooner Harry Connick, Jr. was the toast of Broadway last year with a series of big band concerts now available on CD and DVD.
Harry may be New Orleans born and bred, but his love affair with New York City burns brighter than ever. The 43-year-old bandleader commanded his orchestra through 15 sold-out shows at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre, concerts steeped in popular song and traditional New Orleans blues and boogie-woogie.
This wasn’t the first time Harry has performed on Broadway. In 1990, he made his Broadway debut in “An Evening with Harry Connick, Jr. and His Orchestra,” and, in 2006, he starred in a revival of “The Pajama Game,” earning a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.
With a swing band on one side, a 12-piece string section on the other, and Harry seated at a grand piano in the center, the Broadway stage was transformed into a stylish ballroom bandstand. Harry dedicated most of the second act to the music of New Orleans on a set that resembled a Bourbon Street nightclub. There are 15 tracks on the CD, titled “Harry Connick, Jr: In Concert On Broadway,” and an additional five songs on the DVD.
The show garnered rave reviews. The New York Times described Harry’s performance as “a fusion of Frank Sinatra (and Sinatra’s greatest arranger Nelson Riddle), Elvis Presley, Peter Allen (by way of Professor Longhair), and Frank Loesser reconceived in the spirit of New Orleans.”
Harry returns to Broadway later this year to star in a revival of the 1965 musical, “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.”