BWW Review: HARRY CONNICK, JR. - A CELEBRATION OF COLE PORTER at Durham Performing Arts Center
This holiday season, three-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Harry Connick, Jr. will be headlining a one-man show celebrating the work of composer/lyricist Cole Porter for a limited run on Broadway. Recently, he played a premiere engagement at the Durham Performing Arts Center this past weekend. I got to be in attendance for the very first performance on September 21st, and now I give you my review.
The show begins with a huge onstage orchestra (with some of the musicians being local) playing some of Cole Porter's glorious compositions. Then, we the audience watch some sort of video that has Harry climbing into the mind of the famed composer. Last but not least, he finally makes his grand entrance to a huge round of applause. This concert feels very reminiscent of what musicians from the era of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra would give. Which is also fitting because I personally consider Harry Connick, Jr. to be today's equivalent to Frank Sinatra.
Not only do we the audience get to see and hear some stunning renditions of Cole Porter's greatest hits, but Harry also (metaphorically) takes us back to his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Some of the set pieces designed by Beowulf Boritt and Alexis Bistler are able to provide some context to that location as well as some innovative projections also designed by Boritt along with Caite Hevner. A couple standout moments of the show include Harry showing the audience what exactly goes into arranging and orchestrating music as well as an appearance by a dancing powerhouse by the name of Luke Hawkins.
By the time this show gets to Broadway, audiences should be in for a real treat. Harry is able to provide some good old fashioned entertainment with not only his great jazzy voice, but his charisma as well. No matter how familiar you are with the Cole Porter catalogue, you should still 'get a kick out of' this.