The new Broadway musical, capitalized at $9 million, features the music of Allen with a book by Martin Sherman. Previews began Sept. 16.
Set in bars, nightclubs and concerts across the globe, including Allen's homeland of Australia, The Boy from Oz is "a musical true story" of the late entertainer Peter Allen who was a protege of Judy Garland, and was briefly married to her daughter Liza Minnelli. Allen died of complications from AIDS in 1992.
Jackman, as Allen, narrates his life story, talking directly to the audience, and often interacting with the actor who plays the child Peter. The production recreates Allen's early successes in Australia and Hong Kong as part of the act, The Allen Brothers. In the second act, famous Allen engagements at the clubs Reno Sweeney and Copacabana are recreated, as well as the singer's famous sold-out stint at Radio City Music Hall. Throughout, Jackman strips out of roughly two dozen sequined and Hawaiian print shirts provided by costume designer William Ivey Long. (Applause dependably erupts every performance when Jackman briefly bares his chest.)
Philip Wm. McKinley directs the Broadway musical, with choreography provided by Joey McKneely. Patrick Vaccariello serves as music director. Orchestrations are by Michael Gibson. Ben Gannon and Robert Fox produce. Nick Enright is credited with the original book.
Joining Jackman (as Peter Allen) in The Boy From Oz are Stephanie J. Block (as Liza Minnelli), Beth Fowler (as mother Marion Woolnough), Isabel Keating (as Allen's mentor and mother-in-law, Judy Garland), Jarrod Emick (as Allen's companion, Greg Connell), Mitchel Federan (as the young Peter) and Michael Mulheren (as father, Dick Woolnough, and the manager-promoter Dee Anthony). The ensemble will feature Leslie Alexander, Brad Anderson, Todd Anderson, Kelly Crandall, Naleah Dey, Nicholas Dromard, Timothy A. Fitz-Gerald, Christopher Freeman, Tyler Hanes, Jessica Hartman, Colleen Hawks, John Hill, Pamela Jordan, Tari Kelly, Stephanie Kurutzuba, Heather Laws, Brian J. Marcum, Jennifer Savelli, Matthew Stocke and P.J. Verhoest.
The show will be recorded for posterity Oct. 20 by Decca Broadway, produced by Phil Ramone. The original cast recording of The Boy From Oz is set for a Nov. 18 release.
The song list includes "Overture," "The Lives of Me," "When I Get My Name in Lights," "Love Crazy," "Waltzing Matilda," "All I Wanted Was the Dream," "Only an Older Woman," "Best That You Can Do," "Don’t Wish Too Hard," "Come Save Me," "She Loves to Hear the Music," "Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage," "I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love," "Continental American," "Not the Boy Next Door," "Bi-Coastal," "If You Were Wondering," "Sure Thing Baby," "Everything Old Is New Again," "Love Don’t Need a Reason," "I Honestly Love You," "You and Me," "I Still Call Australia Home," "Don’t Cry Out Loud," "Once Before I Go" and "I Go to Rio."
Allen's collaborating songwriters represented in the score include Adrienne Anderson, Burt Bacharach, Jeff Barry, Michael Callen, Christopher Cross, Tom Keane, Marsha Malamet, Dean Pitchford and Carol Bayer Sager.