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Harry Connick Jr. talks about matters of the heart

Ruth Eckerd Hall

Ruth Eckerd Hall

Tampa Bay, Cupid is aiming his arrow in our direction.

Harry Connick Jr. plays Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday — and with Sunday being Valentine's Day, the crooner's concert is a sure-fire way to kick off a weekend of romance.

Connick, one of New Orleans' proudest, has a repertoire that ranges from straight-ahead jazz to big band to holiday favorites. But it's his love songs that will melt your valentine's heart faster than the caramel in a box of chocolate turtles, starting with Connick's Grammy Award-winning score for the 1989 rom-com When Harry Met Sally. On Connick's latest album, last year's Your Songs, he interprets Frank Sinatra's All the Way and other amorous classics.

The 42-year-old also gets lovey-dovey on stage and screen, having acted on Broadway, on TV and in chick flicks including 1998's Hope Floats and P.S. I Love You.

Suffice it to say that Connick knows how to make the ladies swoon. But guys, fear not — he's married to actor Jill Goodacre, and the pair have three daughters together. So this V-Day, buy two tickets to the concert and let a pro do the heavy lifting for you.

Connick called from a tour stop near Los Angeles to offer more lessons in love. — Dalia Colón, Times staff writer

You know a lot of guys here are banking on your concert as their Valentine's Day gift. Do you feel pressure when you're on stage, knowing that couples are counting on you to spark some flames for them?

(Laughs) You know, it's funny. Not to take all the emotion out of it, but when we're on stage, we're thinking about music. . . . It all starts with sincerity and effort on our part, as opposed to the point being to try to put everybody in a romantic mood. That's not what I'm trying to do, so I don't really feel any pressure.

Which love song gets the best audience response?

It depends on how well I sing it. You could take a song like The Way You Look Tonight and totally screw it up, and you'd get a nice, polite round of applause. . . . Sometimes it's intense for me, but the audience didn't feel it. And sometimes they won't stop clapping after a song, and I'm looking at my guys in my band saying, "What was so special about that?"

How old are your daughters now?

Thirteen, 12 and 7.

What do you teach them about how they should expect to be treated by men, especially the 13-year-old?

All you can do is try to set an example for them. Fortunately for me, it's not hard to do because I really love my wife. I'm well aware that some relationships don't work, but ours works. My father always treated my mother with such respect, and that rubs off on you. They see how I think a girl should be treated, and hopefully they'll feel the same way.

What do you have planned for Valentine's Day? Will you be at home?

Me and my wife, we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. What makes that day the day to show your love? We try to do it every day. We just never got into it. We don't give each other flowers or candy or anything, but — what's today? Friday. She may get some flowers from me just saying "I love you," or I may get a big thing of balloons. It's just those little surprises that make our relationship work, as opposed to this big countdown to Valentine's Day. Then when it's over you're like, "Phew, I'm off the hook 'till next year."

Do you actually enjoy watching chick flicks?

Not really. . . . I like going (to the movies) to laugh or be scared or taken along on some kind of adventure or thrill ride, but I get too emotional. I don't like all that crying.

Dalia Colón can be reached at dcolon@tampabay.com.

>> if you go

Harry Connick Jr.

The singer performs at 8 p.m. Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. $49-$100. 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, (727) 791-7400; rutheckerdhall.com.

ONE-STOP LOVE SHOP

Harry Connick Jr. talks about matters of the heart 02/10/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:19am]

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