On a Clear Day Will Rise at Broadway's St. James Theatre Nov. 12; Harry Connick Jr. Stars

By Kenneth Jones
29 Jun 2011

Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick, Jr.

Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer will return to the St. James Theatre, his American Idiot home, to stage his revised revival of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever starring Harry Connick Jr. Previews begin Nov. 12 toward a Dec. 11 opening.

American Express cardholders get first crack at tickets starting 10 AM (ET) July 6, prior to the general-public sale date of July 25. Tickets are through telecharge.com or at (212) 239-6200.

The Tony Award-nominated score by Burton Lane (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics) is enhanced by classics from their film 1970 score for the same property, and their score from the 1951 film "Royal Wedding."

Once aimed for Off-Broadway, the re-imagined On a Clear Day (with a new libretto by Peter Parnell, based on Mayer's concept, which changes the gender of one of the lead love interests) was later bumped to a bigger life on Broadway. The new libretto is based on the original book by Lerner.



Additional cast and creatives will be announced.

Originating producer Liza Lerner joins with Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman and Broadway Across America (John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Beth Williams) to bring the show to Broadway, after an absence of more than 40 years.

Here's how they bill the show: "Love blooms in unexpected places in the delightfully re-imagined world of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Still in love with his deceased wife, Dr. Mark Bruckner (Harry Connick, Jr.), a dashing psychiatrist and professor, unknowingly takes on the case of his life with David Gamble, a quirky young florists' assistant. While putting David under hypnosis to help him quit smoking so he can move in with his perfect boyfriend Warren, Dr. Bruckner stumbles upon what he believes to be David's former self — a dazzling and self-possessed 1940s jazz singer Melinda Wells. Instantly intrigued by Melinda, Dr. Bruckner finds himself swept up in the pursuit of an irresistible (and impossible) love affair with this woman from another time and place, who may or may not have ever existed.

The 1965 score — known to fans of show music (and fans of Barbra Streisand, who starred in the later film version) — includes the songs 'Come Back To Me,' 'What Did I Have That I Don't Have Now?,' 'She Isn't You,' and the title song. Also expected to be heard are songs from the film score such as 'Love With All The Trimmings' and 'Go To Sleep.' Songs from 'Royal Wedding' such as 'Ev'ry Night at Seven,' 'You're All the World to Me,' 'Open Your Eyes' and 'Too Late Now' "complete the landscape for this romantic musical comedy."

Michael Mayer
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Following a sold-out concert series at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1990, Tony nominations for his performance in The Pajama Game and his music and lyrics in Thou Shalt Not, Connick (already an Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award winner) returned to Broadway in the summer of 2010 with the critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Harry Connick, Jr. in Concert on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre. It was released in a hi-definition DVD/Blu-ray video version on March 1.

Lane and Lerner also wrote the score for the Broadway musical Carmelina. Lerner is best known for writing the songs (with composer Frederick Loewe) to Paint Your Wagon, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot and the film "Gigi" (later adapted into a stage production).

Lane's best-known Broadway score is Finian's Rainbow, with E.Y. Harburg. His other Broadway scores include Hold on to Your Hats, Three's a Crowd, Earl Carroll's Vanities and Laffing Room Only. During his career, Lane composed songs for over 45 films.

Parnell's plays include QED, which starred Alan Alda both at the Mark Taper Forum and on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (Lincoln Center Theater). His two-part stage adaptation of John Irving's The Cider House Rules won the American Theatre Critics Association Award. His other plays have been produced by the Atlantic, the Public Theater, and Playwrights Horizons.

Mayer won a Tony Award for his direction of Spring Awakening and most recently won the Drama Desk Award for directing American Idiot, which he also co-wrote with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. His many Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Tony Award-winning revival of A View from the Bridge, the Tony Award-winning play Side Man, Triumph of Love, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown and Everyday Rapture, among others.

On a Clear Day is a rare original musical that is not based on source material. It broke ground by dealing with paranormal and supernatural experience — past lives, reincarnation, ESP and the seemingly limitless power of the mind.

The musical originally opened on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Oct. 17, 1965, and starred Barbara Harris as Daisy Gamble, a chain-smoker who could hear phones before they ring and had the ability to make flowers grow before your eyes. John Cullum played Dr. Mark Bruckner. They both received Tony Award nominations for their performances, as did the score. In 1970, it was adapted into a film directed by Vincente Minnelli. Barbra Streisand played Daisy Gamble and Yves Montand was Dr. Mark Bruckner.

This new version of On a Clear Day had a developmental workshop at The Vineyard Theatre in the fall of 2009, and later received a series of concert readings as part of New York Stage and Film and Vassar's Powerhouse Theater season in the summer of 2010.

This summer, The Vineyard Theatre (108 E. 15 Street) will produce a developmental process for the show that will culminate in a developmental lab production.

Visit www.OnAClearDayBroadway.com.