Harry Connick Jr. on Returning to Broadway

Harry Connick Jr. is headed back to Broadway with a three-week limited engagement celebration of legendary songwriter Cole Porter. The actor and musician came up with the concept for the show and is also directing.

“I love Broadway and if I had two careers one of them would be only Broadway just because I love it that much,” said Connick Jr. to Variety at a press event at Sardi’s in Manhattan’s theater district. “I love the family of it, I love the immense creativity that exists here, not only with the people onstage but with the people that put the the show on, from the producers to the crews.”

Connick Jr. plucked liberally from Porter’s oeuvre, one that includes such musical classics as “Kiss Me Kate and “Anything Goes,” to assemble his song list.

“He really understood the technique of arranging and orchestrating and he was so educated and used his education in such a witty way with his lyric writing and his songwriting — just an unusual hybrid of talents that he possessed,” said Connick Jr.

“Harry Connick Jr. – A Celebration of Cole Porter,” a theatrical adaptation of Porter’s songbook, will include some tunes from Connick Jr.’s corresponding cover album “True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter,” as well as some numbers that were previously unrecorded by the musician. Porter was most popular in the 1930s and ’40s, but Connick Jr. believes the songs are still relevant and the audience “may feel like they were written specifically for them and where they are in their lives now.”

Popular on Variety

The show will also touch on Porter’s personal story. The songwriter had a tortured relationship with his sexuality and endured a series of health struggles.

“I didn’t want it to turn into a history lesson,” Connick Jr. said. “I still wanted to feel like they were on this artistic ride with me so I didn’t want to belabor it too much with a bunch of stats and facts, but there’s enough in there to educate people who may not know about [Porter] to let them know who he was.”

The show will feature a 24-piece big band and changing sets. Connick Jr. said that he is confident in his vision for the show, hoping that the audience has a “good time.”

Connick Jr.,  who previously appeared in revivals of “The Pajama Game,” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” hopes to eventually come back to Broadway with his own original show.

“I’ve been lucky so far in doing things that felt right,” he said. “There’s so many great roles out there, but I think I would rather do an original thing than a revival.”

So what does he think Porter would make of his tribute?

“If he came to the show if he were alive, I would be humbled, but if he said ‘yeah, it’s okay’ I’d take that and be real cool with it,” he said.

“Harry Connick Jr. – A Celebration of Cole Porter” will open on Dec. 12 and will run at the Nederlander Theatre for three weeks.

More Legit

  • Grand Horizons review

    'Grand Horizons': Theater Review

    Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one, as you surely must have: A nice, all-American family is in the process of breaking up and trying to make this sad state of affairs seem funny in Bess Wohl’s Broadway outing “Grand Horizons.” After 50 years of marriage, Nancy (the ever-elegant Jane Alexander) and Bill (the [...]

  • Uncle Vanya review

    'Uncle Vanya': Theater Review

    Director Ian Rickson has had success with Chekhov in the past. His exquisitely balanced, tragicomic production of “The Seagull” (2007 in London, 2008 on Broadway) was well-nigh flawless with, among others, Kristin Scott Thomas as painfully vulnerable as she was startlingly funny. Sadly, with his production of “Uncle Vanya,” despite felicities in the casting, lightning [...]

  • The Welkin review

    'The Welkin': Theater Review

    A life hanging perilously in the balance of charged-up, polarized opinions: This courtroom drama could easily have been titled “Twelve Angry Women.” But playwright Lucy Kirkwood (“Chimerica,” “The Children”) is far too strong and imaginative a writer for so hand-me-down a cliché. Instead she opts for “The Welkin,” an old English term for the vault [...]

  • Tina Fey attends the "Mean Girls"

    Tina Fey Announces Movie Adaptation of Broadway's 'Mean Girls' Musical

    It’s good to be mean…the “Mean Girls” musical, that is. Producers of the hit Broadway show announced today that the Tony-nominated production is being adapted for the big screen for Paramount Pictures. The musical is based on the 2004 movie of the same name. “I’m very excited to bring ‘Mean Girls’ back to the big screen,’ Tina Fey, [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme

    Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and 'Freestyle Love Supreme' in Exclusive Clip From Sundance Documentary

    Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway [...]

  • Ariana Grande 7 Rings

    Rodgers & Hammerstein Are Having a Moment Thanks to Ariana Grande, 'Oklahoma!'

    Jaws dropped when it was revealed that the late musical theater titans Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were granted 90% of the songwriting royalties on “7 Rings,” Ariana Grande’s 2019 No. 1 hit. The dominant motif of Grande’s song is taken from “My Favorite Things,” the cornerstone of R&H’s 1959 musical “The Sound of [...]

  • A Soldiers Play review

    'A Soldier's Play': Theater Review

    Now, that’s what I call a play! Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play,” now being revived on Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company, packs plenty of dramatic tension into smoldering issues of racial justice and injustice, military honor and dishonor, and the solemn struggle to balance their harrowing demands on characters who are only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content