Portland Entertainment

Harry Connick Jr. comes to town on July 17

Harry Connick Jr.

Recently, there has been an onslaught of 80’s nostalgia on the internet and at the movie theater. Cheers is making an appearance on Netflix, there is a resurgence of John Hughes films and several Oscar nominated films were set in the eighties including A Most Violent Year and Dallas Buyers Club. People are paying tribute to a time when home computers were huge, cell phones were for the very rich and women’s feathered hair cascaded over their shoulder pads.

What all the eighties lovers don’t seem to pick up on is that the eighties itself was a decade based on nostalgia. There was a backlash against the socialism of the sixties and the self-analysis of the seventies. All of a sudden, Republicans were anti-abortion, greed was good and Viet-Nam Veterans were war hero’s and not baby burners. People wanted to go back to a simpler, more dualistic time.

At the heart of it all was a singer who, had the style of Frank Sinatra, the looks of a movie star and the fingers of Oscar Peterson. Harry Connick Jr. first came to the public attention when he sang the score to the film” When Harry Met Sally….” The film itself was heavily influenced by the romantic comedies of the 1940 starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Mr. Connick’s music was an instant hit.

On Friday, July 17, Harry Connick Jr. Will Grace the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland. The tour follows another year of Mr. Connick’s duties as a judge on the ever popular reality show, American Idol.

Like most overnight sensations, Mr. Connick had honed his craft for many years before anyone ever heard of him. He began playing piano at the age of five in his hometown of New Orleans. He began playing alongside of jazz legend James Booker when he was still a preteen. He left for New York at 18 and made a couple of albums that earned him attention in jazz circles. “When Harry Met Sally…” came out in 1988, the album earned double platinum status and garnered Mr. Connick a Grammy.

Mr. Connick went on to release two albums in 1990, We Are in Love which featured jazz standards similar to those on the When Harry Met Sally and Lofty’s Roach Soufflé, which featured instrumental music. Mr. Connick’s most popular album was When My Heart Finds Christmas which came out in 1993. The album featured Mr. Connick singing everything from jazz standards such as Let it Snow Let it Snow, Let it Snow to Ave Maria.

Mr. Connick’s good looks and on stage charm did not escape the attention of Hollywood producers and he soon began a film career. He started with supporting roles in the films Memphis Belle and Little Man Tate. Soon he was taking on much more challenging roles such as a serial killer in “Copycat and the romantic lead in “Hope Floats.”

He combined his acting and singing talents on the Broadway stage in the revival of the musical The Pajama Game in 2007. The Pajama Game cast recording was nominated for a Grammy and was released as part of Connick’s double disc album Harry on Broadway, Act I.

He became even more popular as an actor then he was as a singer. He enjoyed a reoccurring role as Grace’s husband Dr. Leo Markus on the television show Will and Grace. He made numerous guest and reoccurring appearances on other television shows before finally landing on American idol.

Mr. Connick goes on stage at 7:00 p.m. on July 17th and tickets to the show range from $49.50 to $125.00.

Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive Contributor

Eliza Gale - PortlandMetroLive.com ContributorEliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.