Any time Connie Francis flies to the Northeastern corridor for some shows, her mind flashes back to her childhood.
“I started as a performer in Atlantic City,” Francis said. “I performed at Steel Pier from when I was 8 until I was 11. I was on Tony Grant’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow.’ It was me and my accordion.”
Francis, 72, who will perform Saturday at the Keswick Theater backed by a 21-piece orchestra, certainly became a star.
She believes that she was the lone ‘Star of Tomorrow’ that actually shined on screen and on stage. “I don’t think anyone else moved on to the entertainment business from the show,” Francis said. “But I didn’t do badly.”
The engaging singer-actress, who was born in Newark, hit the top of the Billboard charts with ‘Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,’ ‘My Heart Has a Mind of It’s Own’ and ‘Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You.’
Francis, 72, who had 35 Top 40 hits, appeared in such films as ‘Where the Boys Are’ and ‘Follow The Boys.’
“When I went to Fort Lauderdale (to shoot) ‘Where The Boys Are,’ I remember looking around and saying ‘this isn’t as nice as the Jersey shore.’
Even though the Newark, NJ native lives in Florida, her heart is still in the Northeastern corridor. “I love it there,” Francis said. “That’s where I grew up. We would summer for four weeks in Atlantic City. I love the people up there and how they continue to support me whenever I perform up there.”
Expect Francis to deliver the hits and some Italian classics. “I give the people what they want,” Francis said. “But I admit that playing the old bubble gum songs are not my favorite things to do. I would rather do the obscurities but most people don’t pay to hear obscurities. I know I perform to please people, not myself. But it’s alright. There is nothing like getting in front of an audience and belting out songs people want to hear.”
Francis will always appreciate singing any song since she lost her voice from 1977 to 1981. “That totally freaked me out,” Francis said. “I had surgery on my nose and it left scar tissue. Before I knew it, my voice was ruined.”
After three subsequent surgeries, Francis got her voice back. “I can’t tell you how thankful I am that happened,” Francis said. “My voice is a gift from God. I thank God it came back and I still have it after all these years. It’s a blessing.”