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Theater Review: 'On a Clear Day You Can See Forever' -- 2.5 stars

Jessie Mueller, left, and Harry Connick Jr.

Jessie Mueller, left, and Harry Connick Jr. Credit: Jessie Mueller, left, and Harry Connick Jr.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
2.5 stars

Considering his box-office appeal, Harry Connick Jr. could star in virtually any musical he wants. But for a reason unbeknownst to us, he has opted to star in a revised version of the 1960s flop musical "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever."

The original show was notorious for its kooky plot about reincarnation, in which Mark Bruckner, a male psychiatry professor, becomes fascinated by Daisy, a female student whose former self was Melinda, an 18th-century English aristocrat.

In the revised version, conceived by director Michael Mayer and writer Peter Parnell, the story is reset in the 1970s and Bruckner's student is now David, a flamboyant gay male whose former self was a 1940s female jazz singer. An unusual love triangle erupts in which Bruckner falls in love with Melinda (as conjured through David) and David develops feelings for Bruckner. The story is still far-fetched, but the gender twist does add intrigue.

Connick, although charming, isn't very much of an actor. He never convincingly inhabits Bruckner's inner confusion, and he sings in a concert style detached from his character.

David Turner is sunny, breezy and altogether fetching as David - the innocent male who is unsure how to respond to the doctor's unexpected but not unwelcome attention. Sarah Stiles provides solid comic support as David's manic roommate, and Jessie Mueller conveys the quiet sexuality and ease of Melinda.

Were it not for Connick's involvement, this revival might not have come to Broadway. And while it's great to hear Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's melodic score (containing such gems as the title song and "Come Back to Me") played by a full orchestra, the show needs an actor capable of fully inhabiting the lead role.

If you go: "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" plays an open run at the St. James heatre. 246 W. 44th St., 212-239-6200.  

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