Harry Connick, Jr. comes to Bethlehem, helps youth with musical

Posted: 8:00 PM EDT Sep 23, 2012   Updated: 8:23 AM EDT Sep 25, 2012

69 News was Hanging with Harry.

It's not a bad way to spend the day when that "Harry" is Harry Connick, Jr.

He's in town to work with the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre on an upcoming production.

It's not a stretch to call Harry Connick Jr. is a musical savant.

He sings, writes, composes and now will be working side by side with local theater students this holiday season.

It was "sign in" Saturday for those in the Pennsylvania Youth Theater. Head to toe measurements were taken as the cast gears up for a star-studded holiday production.

"'Happy Elf' is an amazing opportunity for Pennsylvania Youth Theatre," said Sheri Melcher, the show's creative director.

The production is based on a song written by Harry Connick Jr. that turned into a cartoon.

Connick himself will be in town several times, working side by side with the group in bringing the play to Bethlehem's iconic Ice House.

"It's one of those places you hope you can do something in. In this case, the 'Happy Elf.' You couldn't ask for a cooler, inviting space. It's pretty exciting," Connick said.

The kids are pretty excited too. It's not every day a Grammy award-winning musician/composer, who's also stared in a Tony award-winning Broadway play, becomes your teacher.

"Really good to pick up from a professional. It's really good to see how they act and technique in acting," young actor Max Smith said.

"I looked at my rehearsals. There is a lot of music so I'm excited if he comes in to help with my vocals," said Giuliana Augello.

That shouldn't be problem.

As for Connick, he says he's already blown away by the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, and is ready to get to work.

"It's just a magical place and the community should feel so lucky there is such an enthusiastic blend of people and talent," he said.

In talking about the kids Harry said it's great to dream but if you're not prepared to meet that dream it will fall apart.

He stresses being prepared but also having fun.

The 'Happy Elf' opens Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 16.