Jessie Mueller is cast with Harry Connick Jr. on Broadway

A young Chicago actress without a single Broadway credit to her name gets picked for a major new Broadway musical - that alone would be the stuff of dreams. But Jessie Mueller has done much, much better than that.

The actress last seen in "Shout" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire will play the lead female role in director Michael Mayer's upcoming revival of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever." Mueller will play the role of the 1940s jazz singer Melinda Wells, it was announced Thursday, opposite Harry Connick Jr.

Mueller, 28, is part of an Evanston theatrical family that long has been a staple of Chicago-area stages, and has demonstrated an extraordinary range of abilities in Chicago-area theaters, switching easily from ingénues (in "Meet Me in St. Louis" at the Drury Lane Theatre) to comedic roles (Miss Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls" at the Marriott). Earlier this year, she could be seen in a small space in Highland Park appearing The Music Theatre Company production of in "Merrily We Roll Along." But her main asset long has been her voice, at ease with pop and rock and mostly at home with jazz-infused scores and the kind of American songbook music composed by Burton Lane in 1965.

Mayer's revival will feature a revised and likely provocative book: The character of Daisy Gamble, a role typically played by the same actress playing Melinda, will now be a gay florist named David Gamble (David Turner). Mueller will be playing the love interest for the Connick role, and will be a character who may exist only in his head. Opening night is Dec. 12. at the St. James Theater.

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