The A-list actor’s new “arena spectacular” Broadway to Oz will tour the nation in November and December.
He’s one of Australia’s most successful theatrical exports, known for his on-screen turns as comic book icon Wolverine in a seemingly endless string of movies in the X-Men franchise, as well as other hyper-machismo action movie roles. Yet there is a softer side to A-list muscle-bound superstar Hugh Jackman as a passionate and award-winning musical theatre performer. While Jackman’s substantial gifts were potently displayed on the big screen in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, starring in the role of Jean Valjean, he has been treading the boards in musicals since 1998, including three major productions of Peter Allen’s The Boy from Oz for which he won two Tony Awards. Now Jackman is preparing to bring his talent for musical theatre Down Under with the announcement yesterday of a new “arena spectacular,” Broadway to Oz.
The ambitious production is an expanded adaptation of Jackman’s hugely successful one-man show Back on Broadway, staged in New York’s hallowed theatre district in 2011. However, in addition to Jackman this Australian production will also feature over 150 singers, musicians and dancers, performing songs from Les Misérables and the Boy from Oz, as well as favourites from Broadway’s biggest hit-shows including Singin’ in the Rain and Carousel.
Speaking at a press launch yesterday Jackman revealed his ambition to bring the production to Australia has been several years in the making, although a crowded schedule of film commitments had prevent him staging the show until now. “The endgame for me was being here. It just took a little longer than I thought,” he shares.
While the production will have the epic scope needed to fill a major stadium, such as those on the national Australian tour, Jackman is keen to also include intimate moments in the show, using a catwalk and smaller satellite stages so he can get within touching distance of the audience. Tickets will also be affordably priced from just $45 to allow as many people as possible to access the show. “I spent all my childhood in Sydney and I used to go to the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and most of the time I could only afford to sit up the back, so I know what it’s like to be up the back of an arena and it’s always been really important to me that every single person in whatever theatre, stage, press conference, arena, that they all feel that I’m speaking directly to them.”
Broadway to Oz tours to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth from November 23 until December 15.