Hugh Jackman’s one-man show opened in Toronto this week — and boy, is it hot.
I wrote about “Hugh Jackman in Concert” in May, when it opened in San Francisco, and while the reviews were pretty strong, the word-of-mouth in the theater industry was “needs work.”
Jackman and his director, Warren Carlyle, who staged the charming “Finian’s Rainbow” on Broadway last year, took that sotto voce criticism to heart. They’ve been tightening and polishing, and judging from the ecstatic reviews this week, the show is now ready for Broadway.
And, in fact, there’s a scramble to sort out Jackman’s movie schedule — he’s doing another installment of “Wolverine” in Europe this fall — and bring the show in later this year.
It would be a limited run — 12 to 15 weeks — at a desirable theater, possibly the Broadhurst, which may be available after Labor Day if the struggling “Baby It’s You” falls by the wayside.
“It should come in as soon as possible to capitalize on the reviews in Toronto,” says a production source. “We don’t want to wait too long.”
The four-star review in the Toronto Star summed up Jackman’s turn this way: “His 100-minute show packs more sheer talent in it than you might have thought possible . . . The man is an absolute wow.”
“Hugh Jackman in Concert” is about as simple as it gets — a couple of sexy backup singers, some projections and a band, all in service of Mr. Charisma.
In San Francisco, the show was a bit ramshackle, with a Vegas-y feel and cruise-ship choreography, say people involved in it.
The new version is slicker, tighter and more elegant. Jackman does his old Peter Allen bit — he became a star, after all, in “The Boy From Oz” — but his tribute to Judy Garland, “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage,” is now restrained and deeply moving.
And everybody’s raving about his rendition of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein “Soliloquy” from “Carousel.”
Around Broadway, the feeling is that Jackman should take advantage of the fall theater schedule, which is pretty light on musicals, and clean up.
“He’ll sell out in about five minutes,” says a ticket agent. “His only competition is Harry Connick Jr.”
Connick opens in “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” in November.
Here are your marching orders, Hugh: Get those silly Wolverine scenes out of the way, lose the lupine ears and break out the Peter Allen maracas.
Broadway could use a little Jackman come Christmastime.