Category: Stage Work

Hugh Jackman To Launch ‘Broadway To Oz’ Music Show

Hugh Jackman To Launch ‘Broadway To Oz’ Music Show

Hugh Jackman will put on his tux and his Wolverine claws for a new stage show that will tour his native Australia later this year.

The “Broadway To Oz” concert show will play major arenas in five cities and is structured as a personal journey through Jackman’s life, from early days in Outback Australia through successes in musical theater and Hollywood stardom.

It will mix medleys of work that Jackman has been directly associated with, as well as tributes to classic musicals. Jackman will be backed by a company of 150 musicians and dancers.

“’Broadway to Oz’ is a dream come true. This is the show I’ve always wanted to bring home.” Jackman said in a statement.

Jackman’s career began in Australia in the 1990s with starring roles in “Sunset Boulevard” and “Beauty and The Beast” and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s TV drama series “Corelli,” during which he met his wife, co-star Deborra Lee Furness. Roles in Australian independent films “Paperback Hero” and “Erskineville Kings” were followed by Hollywood successes including “The Prestige,” The Fountain,” “The X-Men” franchise and its “Wolverine” spinoff, and “Les Miserables,” for which he earned an Oscar nomination. His more recent stage successes include the hit Broadway show “Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway.”

“Broadway To Oz” is produced by Robert Fox for The Dainty Group. The show starts in Melbourne on Nov. 24, touring through Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, before closing in Perth on Dec. 15.

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Hugh Jackman Preps for a Broadway Return Before He Even Leaves the Stage

As The River prepares for its final curtain, which comes down this Sunday, its headlining star, Hugh Jackman, is already getting ready for his next Broadway stage performance.

According to the New York Post, Jackman is preparing a brand-new solo show to display the dancing chops he exhibited in his Tony-winning performance as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz. The production will reprise his collaboration with choreographer Warren Carlyle (After Midnight), who directed Jackman’s first Broadway solo show, Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.

“I want to do something that’s going to challenge me in a different way,” he told the Post. “And, as a 46-year-old guy, I realize there are limited years left for the kind of dancing I want to do, to push myself as far as I can go.”

Jackman and Carlyle first met in 1988 during a London production of Oklahoma! The actor performed the role of Curly while Carlyle assisted director Susan Stroman, and, according to Jackman, offered personalized dance training. Nearly three decades later, the pair will be picking up where they left off — and Broadway audiences are excited to see the final result.

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Hugh Jackman Rushes ‘The River’ Into Profit

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If anyone still had doubts about Hugh Jackman being a guarantee of box-office gold on Broadway, the announcement that his latest vehicle, The River, has recouped its $3.2 million investment in just a month should be proof enough.

Lead producer Sonia Friedman confirmed on Friday that the Jez Butterworth play, directed by Ian Rickson, has earned back its capitalization, meaning a healthy profit can be expected from the remainder of the run, which is s scheduled through Feb. 8.

The news comes on the heels of the announcement earlier in the week that the all-star revival of the Terrence McNally comedy It’s Only a Play also recouped, getting this season off to a strong start for nonmusicals.

First produced at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2012, The River stars Jackman alongside Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo in an enigmatic drama about a trout fisherman in a remote cabin and his attempts on a moonless night to recapture the woman of his dreams.

The Broadway transfer began previews on Oct. 31 at the Circle in the Square and officially opened on Nov. 16. While reviews for the play itself were far more mixed than in London, critics generally had high praise for the production, and Jackman in particular.

The actor has previously been a major draw on Broadway in the Peter Allen bio-musical The Boy From Oz, for which he won a Tony Award for best actor; in the cop drama A Steady Rain, starring opposite Daniel Craig; and in his song-and-dance show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway. The commercial success of The River demonstrates that Jackman’s star power also translates to more challenging material.

The production has been playing to capacity audiences since the start of previews, with grosses of $5.5 million through Dec. 14. The fast recoupment is all the more remarkable in a theater that seats less than 700 people, and for a production with an affordable-ticket policy of offering a significant number of $35 and $95 seats at every performance.

Other producers on the show with Friedman are Stuart Thompson, Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Colin Callender, Scott Landis and Tulchin Bartner Productions.

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EW Talks to Hugh About Wolverine, ‘Chappie,’ and Future Musicals

Entertainment Weekly recently spoke to Hugh Jackman, getting him to answer some much buzzed about topics such as another go at Wolverine, his upcoming film Chappie, and whether or not he’ll do some more movie-musicals. The entire article is a good read about his professional future, so I highly recommend checking it out (or at least the parts I underlined).

Just as The Wolverine claws its way toward DVD/Blu-ray on Dec. 3rd, talk is heating up about a possible sequel. For his part, star Hugh Jackman has neither confirmed nor denied whether he’ll sign on to play muttonchopped mutant Logan for an eighth time… but the odds are looking good. “I was on the phone with Jim Mangold last night,” Jackman told EW. “There are some really cool ideas that I’m dying to tell you, but that would be giving away a secret that is not even [fully] formed yet.”

Jackman insists that his lapsing contract with Fox, which reportedly will need to be renegotiated after X-Men: Days of Future Past premieres in May, doesn’t mean he’s leaving the franchise in limbo. “I started with a two-picture deal on the first two [X-Men films], and from that point on, it’s been movie by movie — not just me, but Fox and Jim and everyone,” he says. “I do want to do it with Jim and with [producer] Lauren Shuler-Donner because we had such a great experience. I’m really proud of The Wolverine.”

The star believes he’s mentally more committed to the character than he’s ever been. “I kind of am enjoying him more than ever… Being older helps playing Wolverine. He’s 200 or 300 years old — no one really knows — and he’s sort of world-weary. The actual working out gets harder and harder, I’ll admit.”

Still, Jackman insists the creative circumstances would have to be right for him to resume his grueling diet-and-exercise regimen in order to don the white tank top again: “I don’t want to dive into another one until we have a compelling reason to do another one,” says Jackman. “I love the character, he’s kind of like a best friend to me, and I don’t ever want to take [him] or the fans for granted […] I think we’ve got a great opportunity to make something really cool, but it has to be great. Thats what we’re all working toward.”

A Wolverine sequel isn’t the only thing in the coffers for Jackman, who will begin shooting Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie early next year (other principles in the film are already in production, he confirms). “It’s a very, very, very good script — very interesting,” he says of the sci-fi crime drama. “I can’t wait to work with Neill […] It’s going to surprise people in a lot of ways. He’s a real visionary.” Jackman reveals his character is named Vincent, and he’ll face off against Dev Patel’s Deon. Though the actors stand at equal height, Jackman’s weight advantage and extensive combat training gives hints that it might not be an entirely fair fight. “Good,” laughs the actor. “Crush him! I’m not in it for a close call.”

Beyond Chappie, Jackman is also still signed up for a biographical musical about Harry Houdini penned by Patel’s “Newsroom” scribe, Aaron Sorkin. Jackman might also take his soaring tenor (which scored him an Oscar nod for Les Misérables) back to the big screen to play caddish Latin lover Aldolpho in the adaptation of Tony-nominated The Drowsy Chaperone. “I loved the original production on Broadway — incredibly funny and terrific, great fun,” he recalls. “I was not sure how that would translate [to film], but the script at the moment is wonderful. I think they’re trying to put the movie together, I don’t think it’s fully together yet, but they are talking to me about it, and I’m very interested in it.”

The only musical for which he definitely won’t be running scales any time soon (or ever)? Ironically, one about Wolverine. That musical could one day come to the Great White Way, but “not with me,” vows Jackman. Then he adds, “But, hey, they did Rocky. Who would have thought?”

“Inside the Actors Studio” (Feb. 2013)

Hugh Jackman was on a new episode of James Lipton’s series, “Inside the Actors Studio,” where he interviews guests about their careers and the craft of acting. Because Hugh has been on the show before, he and Lipton continued where they left off, discussing The Prestige, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, and extensively exploring all things Les Misérables. There were some great stories strewn throughout, and the Bernard Pivot questionnaire at the end featured very different answers than last time.

Although there’s no video of the episode online (yet), check out some extra footage from Bravo’s website below. There are also previews from the episode here, in case you missed them.

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“[Houdini] is vintage Schwartz, it’s gorgeous,” says Jack O’Brien

Finally, there’s some news on the upcoming original musical, Houdini. Broadway.com recently spoke to director Jack O’Brien, and he spilled the beans on what to expect with the music. We also have somewhat of a timeline on what to expect with further advances in the musical-making progress, as an Act I reading is scheduled to take place in January. Check out the information below:

“The two ballads Stephen has written, one that closes Act I and one that closes the show, are among the greatest things he’s ever written,” O’Brien recently told Broadway.com. “Hugh just kills with them. It’s vintage Schwartz, it’s gorgeous,” O’Brien said of the Wicked composer’s newest score, noting it echos music from the 1920s, when the story is set.

Oscar-winning Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin is penning the musical’s book and taking a different narrative route than that of a traditional biography. Instead, the musical tells the story of an epic battle between Houdini and a trio of women, known as ‘Spiritualists,’ who convinced millions of people they could communicate with the dead.

Jackman and the show’s creative team are “working our butts off,” according to O’Brien. A read-through of the show’s first act is scheduled for January. Jackman will then take a break to film the police drama Prisoners with Jake Gyllenhaal, then reconvene on Houdini in March and April.

New Stage Production Photos Added for ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘Sunset Blvd.’


More Talk on ‘Houdini’ from Aaron Sorkin

In an interview with Vulture, Aaron Sorkin was asked about past, present, and future writing commitments. Of course, that meant some brief insight on the upcoming Houdini musical, starring Hugh Jackman. Nothing too new, although it sounds like Sorkin may have given us a hint on a potential plot within the show. Check out what he said below:

Are you still working on the Broadway musical Houdini?
Yes! We wrap “The Newsroom” Tuesday night, but I’m going to stay here Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for work sessions with Stephen Schwartz, the composer. Houdini, by the way, is not going to be a biography. It’ll be Hugh Jackman as Houdini—and it’s very much about this wild, epic struggle he had with these women who called themselves spiritualists. They packed people into theaters partly because they were wearing diaphanous gowns. But they would hold ­séances—they did all these things where they could communicate with the dead—and they drove Harry out of his mind, and Harry would delight in exposing their act in his act. In fact, there’s always been a rumor in magic circles that one of these spiritualists had Houdini killed and that’s why he died. He died of a burst appendix. But as long as there’s a rumor, we’ve got ourselves a musical!

Hugh on the Tony Red Carpet

Here’s a new NY1 interview from yesterday’s Tony red carpet. It’s relatively short, with emphasis on Hugh’s return to theater (and, specifically, how he’s not yet ready to hang up Peter Allen’s Hawaiian shirts), but there’s great insight in it. There’s also more talk of Houdini, including some about the famous magician — who happens to have a lot of the star quality Hugh Jackman has himself! Here’s what he had to say about the upcoming musical:

“I’m very excited. Aaron Sorkin is writing the book, Stephen Schwartz doing the music, Jack O’Brien directing [and] David Rockwell [providing scenic design]… We have a very exciting group, [and] we’re about to do a first act read-through in about a week.”

Aaron Sorkin Gives Updates on ‘Houdini’

News on the upcoming Broadway production entitled Houdini has been relatively sparse, but Aaron Sorkin has just recently given some insight on the project. Still in development, it appears that a workshop with Hugh might be happening later this very month! Check out what he said about the project in development:

In addition to your work on the Houdini musical and, potentially, further seasons of “The Newsroom,” how will you find time for all of these assignments? How do you decide what takes priority?
The priority is what’s right in front of me. The writing and the shooting of the first season of “The Newsroom” is done and what’s left is post-production. Work on Houdini has been underway for a while, with Stephen Schwartz and I meeting regularly — either in New York or L.A. — to map out the show we’re doing (also not a biography), move index cards around a board, listen to first drafts of songs and read first drafts of scenes. That work will get more intense as we head for a June 25 stumble-through with Hugh [Jackman].

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