‘Wolverine’ star returns to his stage roots as a stylish song-and-dance man
BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
Looking great in every way, Hugh Jackman serves up a yummy sampling of his extremely talented self in his new “Back on Broadway” song-and-dance show.
Don’t be surprised if Jackman’s gleaming solo attraction (well, solo along with 18 musicians, six leggy ladies and four Indigenous Australian performers) quickly sells out its run at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it bowed on Thursday for a stint through the end of the year.
If it’s already too late to nab seats, be advised that standing room at the Broadhurst offers a fine view of the action plus the chance to dance a bit even as you watch. This two-act show runs a fast two hours, so consider standing room as a nifty option for experiencing Jackman’s magic.
Certainly the wonderful ways in which the magnetic Jackman can work a room will easily be felt in the back of the house. He’s got that genuine star charisma that so few artists truly possess.
Teaming with director-choreographer Warren Carlyle and musical director Patrick Vaccariello, Jackman energetically deals out a personable vaudeville of songs, dances and comic bits that reflects his Australian roots and highlights from his career. Chat about Wolverine and hosting the Academy Awards mingles with easy talk about Jackman’s family and a few spontaneous exchanges with spectators.
Opening with “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” Jackman expertly cavorts through several tuneful medleys, most notably a high-kicking salute to classic movie musicals. A freely-interpreted “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and a resonant journey through Billy Bigelow’s “Soliloquy” from “Carousel” are other standouts, while a segment involving the Australian outback and its native musicians offers a soulful change in mood.
Of course the show presents a tribute to Peter Allen, Jackman’s glittering “Boy From Oz” predecessor. Materializing in a stage box as Allen’s golden-garbed ghost, Jackman gaily shakes his maracas through half a dozen Allen hits that had the audience yelling for more.
Sleekly attired by designer William Ivey Long, Jackman appears to be in excellent vocal and performance modes. The singer-dancers and orchestra provide top-notch support while designer Ken Billington’s sharp lighting splashes everything with color. Evoking effortless razzle-dazzle is no easy achievement and it’s a pleasure to witness Hugh Jackman and his cohorts do it so winningly.
“Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway” continues through Jan.1 at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St., New York. Call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.hughjackmanonbroadway.com.