NY1 Theater Review: "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"
Celebrated crooner Harry Connick, Jr. is back on Broadway, this time starring in the 1960s revival of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever". NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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There’s a reason why "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", with its lovely tunes, hasn’t had a major revival since its debut 46 years ago. The original story is something of a mess. So when it was decided to bring the show back to Broadway, a re-write seemed in order. And that’s exactly what we get from Peter Parnell. Unfortunately, the new book isn't any clearer than the old. It is, however, still a joy to revisit Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner’s shimmering score.
In the 1965 original, the focus was Daisy, a kooky woman seeking a psychiatrist's help to kick her smoking habit. Under hypnosis she transforms into Melinda, the incarnation of her past life. Barbara Harris played both roles. In the new version, set in 1974, Daisy is now David, a gay man. He still turns into Melinda but the roles are split between two people. In both versions the shrink falls for Melinda. Got that? It was pretty convoluted the first time around and remains so now.
And there's no help from the ill-advised op-art sets -- distracting at best and disorienting at worst.
Still, there's no disputing the show's virtues. Kudos to the production team for allowing the score to soar with an 18 piece orchestra, terrific arrangements and some of the best interpretive singing on Broadway. Harry Connick, Jr. is always a pleasure to listen to but his acting seems stiffly labored. David Turner is delightful even if his openly gay character doesn't ring true. But it's Jessie Mueller's Melinda who steals the show and our hearts. As a 1940's jazz singer, her golden voice brings to mind a magical morphing of Garland and Clooney.
Throughout this misfire I kept thinking of Connick's dazzling turn in "The Pajama Game." If only he could re-incarnate that. I give director Michael Mayer and company credit for taking on this nearly impossible assignment but "On A Clear Day's" day has clearly come and gone.