Triple threat performer Harry Connick Jr. held the final Broadway opening night of the decade on Thursday with the debut of “Harry Connick Jr – A Celebration of Cole Porter.”
The show’s three-week engagement at the Nederlander Theatre pays homage to a man that defined the great American songbook with a composed catalogue of nearly 800 songs. Speaking about directing and writing a Broadway show for the first time, Connick Jr. said anything and “everything goes” in his adoring theatrical adaptation.
“I really do hope people go on the ride with me,” he told Variety on the red carpet before the show. “It’s something that was very personal.”
Reflecting on the current relevance of his topic of the old-school master composer, Connick Jr. said, “It’s the same reason you look at old architecture and it hasn’t gone anywhere. It may need a fresh coat of paint, but the craftsmanship with which these pieces of music were composed with is second to none. It’s like Shakespeare. I mean there’s a reason that stuff lasts… It’s brilliance.”
Taking on the iconic tunes and non-stop vignettes with a 24-piece big band, the Grammy and Emmy award-winning entertainer’s presence onstage demonstrated his deep appreciation for Porter’s artistry.
“He is so good! I wouldn’t miss it,” said Broadway darling and Tony-winner Kristin Chenoweth, who braved the freezing cold New York City temperature to support the show.
After the final number Connick Jr bowed to a round of applause from an audience that included Candice Bergen, Jessie Mueller, Tommy Tune, Ali Wentworth and Madison Iseman. The Tony-nominated crooner also took a moment to thank his family for their ongoing support throughout the years, laughing as he told the crowd that his daughter Georgia’s guest in the front row was a new boyfriend that he had yet to meet in person. Giving the young man a protective dad glare from the stage, he joked, “I hope I impressed you tonight.”
The star’s friends and colleagues laughed and then bundled up to make a beeline to an exclusive after-party at the legendary Lambs Club. The room over-flowed with theater luminaries who raved about the show’s delightful tap dance number and stellar songs. Dashing in from the blistering wind after wrapping up at the theater, the man of the hour arrived late to the party after wrapping up at the theater. Connick Jr. shook hands with a few guests before he politely excused himself and headed up to the VIP room to sit with his family, effectively ending the decade on The Great White Way perfectly.