Although Thou Shalt Not lasted briefly on Broadway, both its co creator and co-star look back on the experience fondly. Tony nominees Harry Connick Jr., who composed the musical's score, and Norbert Leo Butz, who starred as Camille Raquin, spoke about the musical at the recent Tony Nominees luncheon.
Featuring a book by David Thompson and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, Thou Shalt Not played the Plymouth Theatre and received two Tony nominations—for Connick's score and Butz's performance. In fact, in a recent New York Times article, Ben Brantley writes this about Butz's Thou Shalt Not work: "[Butz turned] out to be a great ghost when he returned to haunt his killers with a sassy little song called 'Oh! Ain't That Sweet.' This was not only the liveliest number in Harry Connick Jr.'s score. It was also the moment when a young actor named Norbert Leo Butz got to demonstrate that he had the voice, the style and the presence to light up a big Broadway house . . . Theatergoers got to witness one of the happiest magic acts the genre can offer: a star being born before their eyes."
Butz, who also starred Off-Broadway this season in Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, said that he greatly enjoyed singing Connick's score. "I loved singing that music. The jazz stuff was great. You don't hear it in the theatre a lot," he commented. When asked whether he would consider doing a club act — perhaps of jazz tunes — the much-in-demand actor said, "Not yet. I like singing when I get to wear a costume, be on a stage with props and other actors. I'm not a performer in that aspect. Maybe someday though. I've definitely thought about it."
Connick admitted that the show's reception was disappointing, but "I thought everybody worked as hard as they could. I know I did, and I learned a lot. For selfish reasons, I'm really happy I did it because I thought it was a great opportunity." Would the actor-singer-composer do another Broadway show? "In a minute," Connick replied. "I loved it."
—By Andrew Gans