Harry Connick, Jr. in Concert on Broadway

Crooner offers a most remarkable demonstration of musicality presently on display on Broadway.

With: Harry Connick, Jr.

After a reasonably expert first act, Harry Connick Jr. opens the second by trading in his Steinway for a battered honky-tonk piano and giving us a New Orleans-style “Sweet Georgia Brown” that is the most remarkable demonstration of musicality now on Broadway. Assaulting the keys, beating percussively on the pedals, smacking the sideboard and crooning away, he also provides a dazzling drum break without a drum. He and his band then top this with not one but a handful of cyclonic numbers. Connick in concert packs such dynamite that many other Broadway shows seem sedate.

The show runs for 13 perfs over two weeks at the Simon, which still seems to be in booking limbo while awaiting the promised-but-delayed arrival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Never Dies.” If business is brisk, Connick and his musicians might easily slip back into town for a holiday week or two. A show this good can certainly count on a large chunk of repeat biz at premium prices.

This is Connick’s third Main Stem appearance. He demonstrated a crowdpleasing presence in 1990 as a fresh-faced 23-year-old in “An Evening With Harry Connick Jr.” at the Lunt, and demonstrated full musical comedy talent when he buoyed the 2006 revival of “The Pajama Game.”

Harry Connick Jr. in Concert on Broadway” starts out seeming like a standard touring gig, but Broadway is very much on the star’s mind. Connick’s self-effacing patter, breezily charming at first, turns personal; he discusses his lost Tony Award to the guy from that show across the street, “Jersey Boys” (“Apparently, he was a lot better than I was”) and inserts several rueful mentions of “Thou Shalt Not,” the ill-fated Susan Stroman-helmed Broadway musical for which he provided the score in 2001. That said, he sees fit to raise the roof with one of that show’s tunes, “Take Her to the Mardi Gras.”

Contributing to the magic of the second act is Lucien Barbarin, who quickly shows why Connick introduces him as one of the great New Orleans trombonists. The pair’s take on “St. James Infirmary Blues” is astounding, with Connick pounding away and Barbarin sounding like a husky, mewling kitten that’s swallowed a kazoo.

The two continue with four successive numbers, with Connick’s main musicians — Jerry Weldon on sax, Neal Caine on bass, Arthur Latin on drums — pulled from the 20-piece band for solo after exceptional solo. Trumpeter Mark Braud comes down from the bandstand for the finale, and blows off what is left of the roof.

Connick himself has provided the swinging orchestrations, and he salutes his soloists by name. The 10 strings are industriously employed in the first act, but by the end of the second sit jealously watching as the soloists and the rest of the brass section get to have all the fun.

Harry Connick, Jr. in Concert on Broadway

Neil Simon; 1,461 seats; $136.50 top

Production: A James L. Nederlander and Broadway Across America presentation of a concert in two acts. Music arranged and orchestrated by Connick. Opened, reviewed July 15, 2010; runs through July 29. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast: With: Harry Connick, Jr.

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]


    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content