BROADWAY TALKS WITH HARRY CONNICK, JR.
By Patrick Christiano
New Orleans native Harry Connick, Jr., who this season appeared on Broadway in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, joined Jordan Roth, the President of the Juiamcyn Theaters, for a lively chat at the 92 Street Y on February 7th, 2012. Jordan’s in depth discussion with Harry is part of the new season of “Broadway Talks,” Jordan’s popular interview series with Broadway luminaries continuing at the 92nd Street Y.
Connick, one of today’s most successful and multi talented artists, won acclaim first for his music then for acting in film, television and on Broadway. Connick first performed publicly at the age of 5 and his career has taken off ever since. Columbia Records released his single artist recording debut when he was just 19, a year after he moved to New York City. Since then there have been 20 albums with more than 25 million in sales along with numerous music honors, including three Grammy Awards. He has had more number 1 singles than any other jazz artist.
After his music, he may be best know to the world for his film and television work, notably in the Sandra Bullock film “Hope Floats” (although he has made many films) and as Marcus on the hit NBC series “Will & Grace.” However, he also won Emmy Awards for the PBS Great Performances concert specials “Harry Connick Jr. Only You” and most recently for “Harry Connick Jr. In Concert on Broadway.”
No stranger to the New York theater scene the charismatic star, besides his recent appearance in Clear Day returned to Broadway in the summer of 2010 for 15 sold out performances of “Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert" at the Neil Simon Theatre. Previously on Broadway he was Tony nominated as Sid Sorokin in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game. Connick had garnered a Tony nomination in 2001 for Best Original Score for Thou Shalt Not directed by Susan Stroman and in 1990 his first Broadway concert was a highlight of that season.
Connick disclosed that when he first came to New York he lived in this very same YMCA upstairs in room 805 and that he wasn’t much good at anything except music and entertaining. His love of music and performing goes back to his first appearance in New Orleans, where he studied piano with such luminaries as James Booker and Ellis Marsalisand learning the importance of the discovery process.
Jordan really got Harry to open up. He shared that his wife of 22 years still fascinates him and her and his three girls are all he truly cares about, but performing is paramount to him as well. He said, “I feel I have found a way to be vulnerable and uninhibited and have a life.” Adding, “ I could never not act again. There is an intensity I can’t live without that only comes from the stage….there is something animalist about performing….I love the attention and the applause.”
Harry spoke about how losing his mother at the young age of 13 shaped him and that now at 44 he is able to finally talk about the tragedy in his life. He also said, “Everything I do in this business makes me a better actor and person and I always learn something. I’ve been really lucky.”
Next up with Jordan is Nick Jonas (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) on Sunday, March 4th at 7:30 pm. Tickets are from $29 and are available at www.92Y.org/BroadwayTalks or by calling 212-415-5500.