The first show I saw this year was the last performance of Hugh Jackman’s one man show “Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway”. Hugh Jackman performed solo with an eighteen piece orchestra some of his favorite musical numbers of all time as he told a captive audience the reasons why. I have never been to the last performance of any show. The only time I came close was when I saw the fourth to last performance of RENT, but that was an entirely different beast all together. Since Hugh went into this venture as a limited run, fans lined up fast to get a glimpse of their favorite Aussie before he went back to the big screen.
As I waited in my seat for the show to begin, I saw a woman plainly dressed walk by with her two children. I couldn’t help but think how familiar she seemed to me. I kept staring trying to remember where I had seen her before. Then as the lights dimmed and the curtain rose it hit me. That was Hugh Jackman’s wife and children! She was so familiar because I had just seen their faces in that week’s issue of People magazine. For some reason it never occurred to me that anyone close to him might also think that seeing his last show would be a special event.
No matter if Hugh had no singing or dancing talents (which of course is not the case) his charming personality is enough of a reason to see him in a live setting. He is funny and sweet and would make anyone swoon. You feel as though he is speaking only to you and that there is no one else in the room. That is a pretty good accomplishment for an actor that has a completely packed house included people who had paid to stand in the back for the entire duration.
I knew Hugh was a genius on Broadway. I had previously seen him in “A Steady Rain” with Daniel Craig in 2009. They were both breathtakingly brilliant. But now seeing Hugh just being Hugh having fun with it all was a totally different but equally thrilling experience. He has the open heart you expect him to. He sang a beautiful tribute to his wife Deb as pictures from their life together flashed by.
My favorite personal story happened a bit later. He spoke of his father. A man that was a serious accountant that also praised him no matter what the role was. When Hugh was performing at Carnegie Hall his father spent over twenty hours on a plane to see him and then flew right back to work. Previous to that evening Mr. Jackman Sr. had inquired about the dress code and Hugh had told him that it was black tie. Apparently a few days later it had changed. Hugh thought he told his father but when he met up with his dad that night his father was in a tuxedo. Hugh panicked thinking he had forgotten to relay the new casual dress code. But his father remarked “when my son plays at Carnegie Hall it is always a black tie occasion for me.” At that point Hugh pointed to his father in the audience who stood up in a tuxedo to a round of clapping I am sure was heard on the street. Then Hugh brought his father on stage and proceeded to sing to him his favorite song from Carousel. Needless to say I was crying harder than anyone from the Jackman family.
My only real complaint is that the show ran too long. At over two hours and half hours, I was getting a little antsy at the end. I feel there was material that could have been cut. There were back up dancers that had too much of a role. For a few minutes it seemed as though Hugh was getting lonely up there. It created too much of a distraction from him, our main event. We were there for his singing and dancing and I believe along with his talents as an actor he is a triple threat.
Hugh’s next theater role will be taking on the role of Jean Valjean in the movie version of Les Miserables which will begin filming this year.
He will next appear on the Broadway stage in the 2013-14 season as Houdini. Any chance to see Hugh is a chance that should not be missed.
Hugh’s latest projects have nothing to do with acting. In 2011, he launched a company called “Laughing Man Coffee” which now also sells chocolates. One hundred percent of all profits go to charities. As if he couldn’t get any sweeter, somehow he just did.
For Laughing Man Coffee and Chocolate
For Hugh’s Next Broadway Roles