When Harry Connick Jr. called his Broadway co-star Jessie Mueller “a super freak” in a December 5 Today show interview, he meant it in the best possible way: Connick and Mueller are currently in previews in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and the Grammy-winning star is in awe of his leading lady’s vocal prowess, going on to declare that Mueller is “a crazy talent.”
Asked about her Today shout-out, Mueller laughingly told Broadway.com, “Thanks to Facebook, all my friends have been writing ‘super freak’ on my wall. If anybody is going to call me a super freak, I’m glad it’s [Connick]. He is so sweet and so cool to work with.”
In director Michael Mayer’s revised version of On a Clear Day, which opens at the St. James Theatre on December 11, Mueller plays a 1940s big band singer who emerges when psychiatrist Mark Bruckner (Connick) hypnotizes a gay flower shop clerk (David Turner) to help him quit smoking. Though Connick received a Best Actor Tony nomination for the 2006 Broadway revival of The Pajama Game, he’s under much more pressure this time as the above-the-title star of a show with a reinvented storyline and score, including songs from Alan Jay Lerner & Burton Lane’s 1951 film Royal Wedding.
“He couldn’t be handling it better,” the Chicago-born Mueller says of Connick’s demeanor during previews. “To have somebody at the top that we can all depend on and look up to has been amazing. I think he loves a challenge, and that’s what this is—and he’s so game for it.”
For more on Mueller and her Broadway debut in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, watch for a full Fresh Face profile of the actress on December 15.