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On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Review
Alan Jay Lerner once vowed he'd never write another original musical. His greatest successes—notably the book and lyrics of My Fair Lady—had come from adapting stories created by others. But Lerner broke that vow in 1965 with On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, incorporating a bizarro plot involving hypnosis and reincarnation into a contemporary New York love story. Despite an alternately bubbly and lush score, written with composer Burton Lane, the show floundered.

Enter director Michael Mayer (American Idiot) and playwright Peter Parnell (Trumpery), who has performed reconstructive surgery on Lerner's book for this flashy, stunted revival. The leading-lady character, Daisy, has been split in half and become David (David Turner), a gay florist in 1974, and Melinda (Jessie Mueller), a 1940s singer who is David in a past life. (Originally Daisy and Melinda, then an 18th-century Englishwoman, were played by the same actress, Barbara Harris.) And Harry Connick Jr.'s character, Mark Bruckner, the doctor who coaxes Melinda out of David, is now a widower still mourning his wife's death. Songs and characters have been added, deleted, shifted about, and in the process much of the blood sucked out of the show. Granted, the original needed some nipping and tucking, but Parnell's adaptation asks us to believe in reincarnation and at the same time apologizes for making such a request.

The problems aren't just in the new book. Aside from a handful of numbers, Mayer's production plods when it should bounce. Where is the exuberance that Connick brought to The Pajama Game six years ago? He seems lost, and his voice lacks the heft to do justice to songs like "Come Back to Me" and the title track. Turner fares better, deftly capturing David’s anguish with the gripping ballad "What Did I Have That I Don't Have." But Mueller, making her Broadway debut, is the brightest star on the stage. Her bouncy, sparkling rendition of "Ev'ry Night at Seven" (pulled from the Lerner-Lane movie Royal Wedding) is the production's best number. If only we could travel somewhere in time or space to see her play Daisy/Melinda in On a Clear Day as it was originally written.

By Diane Snyder

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Harry Connick Jr., Jessie Mueller, David Turner, Kerry O'Malley, Drew Gehling, Sarah Stiles, Paul O'Brien, Heather Ayers, Lori Wilner, Benjamin Eakeley, Alex Ellis, Tyler Maynard, Zachary Prince, Alysha Umphress, Kendal Hartse, Philip Hoffman, Sean Allan Krill, Patrick O'Neill, Christianne Tisdale

Open/Close Dates
Opening 12/11/2011
Closing 1/29/2012

Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 11/12/2011
Closing Open-ended

Box Office

Theatre Info
St. James Theatre
246 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036